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New Questionnaire Aims to Increase Understanding and Treatment of Menopause Symptoms

In This Article

  • The genitourinary symptoms associated with menopause can have a profound impact on the lives of women who experience them
  • Reliable data on the prevalence of these symptoms and their impact on quality of life has traditionally been unavailable because there was no simple, validated measure to assess the problem
  • Collaborators at the Midlife Women's Health Center and the North American Menopause Society are working to develop a questionnaire aimed at improving understanding of the extent and impact of genitourinary symptoms of menopause

Clinicians in the Midlife Women's Health Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with the North American Menopause Society are working to develop the new Vulvovaginal Atrophy Questionnaire (VVAQ) that aims to understand the extent and impact of genitourinary symptoms of menopause on women. The goal of the patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) is to inform the creation of more effective treatments for women experiencing these symptoms.

The initial results of this collaboration led by Jan Shifren, MD, director of the Midlife Women's Health Center, are published in Menopause.

The genitourinary symptoms associated with menopause, including vaginal dryness and pain with sexual activity or urination, can have a profound impact on the lives of women who experience them. However, until now, reliable data on the prevalence and impact on quality of life was unavailable because there was no simple, validated measure to assess the problem.

The VVAQ has great potential: While many women experience these symptoms, many women consider these bothersome symptoms to be a normal part of aging, and one that must be accepted. In addition, many clinicians may not ask patients about such symptoms due to their lack of awareness, time constraints and the uncertainty and effectiveness of treatments.

The tool being created by Dr. Shifren and her collaborators is intended for both clinical and research use. Initial testing of the VVAQ with focus groups of women has solicited positive feedback, suggesting that the questions included were relevant and meaningful to their experience.

86%
of women interviewed reported that menopause symptoms impacted their sexual functioning

83%
of women interviewed reported negative effects on overall quality of life

Learn more about the Midlife Women's Health Center

Explore OB/GYN research at Mass General

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