Impact of the menopause on the female urogenital system and sexual function
The menopause has a considerable impact on the female urogenital system because declining levels of sex hormones negatively affect oestrogen- and androgenreceptive tissues. This can result in the development of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). The clinical signs and symptoms of GSM are significantly detrimental to quality of life in half of all menopausal women, and the severity of the condition increases over time. The menopause also has an impact on female sexual function. This paper discusses: the normal functioning of the female urogenital system and the role of sex hormones; the impact of the menopause and ageing; and the vaginal, urinary and sexual symptoms that occur during the climacteric. It concludes with a review of assessment and treatment options that focuses on physiotherapy management.
Keywords: genitourinary syndrome of menopause, menopause, sexual function