In a systematic review from the Journal of Sexual Medicine, authors evaluated clinical research studies’ efficacy of hyaluronic acid (HA) for the treatment of vaginal atrophy in menopausal women compared to vaginal estrogen therapy. Findings from the studies agree that HA is a suitable alternative for postmenopausal women who cannot use or do not prefer hormonal treatments.
Menopause is defined as a complex hormonal change naturally occurring between the ages of 49 to 52 in women. Consistent declines in estrogen levels leads to loss of cell proliferation of the vaginal epithelium (vaginal wall), resulting in symptoms of vaginal dryness, loss of lubrication, dyspareunia, irritation or itching, and urinary tract discomfort or infections, among others. The most popular form of menopause treatment is estrogen therapy, administered according to an individual’s health history, based on risks and benefits, and their healthcare provider’s recommendations.
In the JSM review, authors extracted data across research studies involving women who used HA compared to women who used estriol or a placebo, and the results of vaginal atrophy improvement. Measurement tools used included a visual analog scale, quality of life questionnaire, a pH indicator band, and before and after vaginal examinations. No significant difference was observed comparing results between the estrogen therapy and HA groups; however, independent of the estrogen groups, women who used HA reported improvement for dyspareunia and vaginal atrophy.
While the authors acknowledge different data measurements were used across the studies, their review suggests HA can be an alternative treatment for women with menopausal symptoms. In closing, the article states “HA has a profile of efficacy, safety, and tolerability comparable with vaginal estrogens for the treatment of the outcomes assessed in this review.”
Carlos Campagnaro M. dos Santos, MsC; Maria Laura R. Uggioni; Tamy Colonetti, PhD; Laura Colonetti; Antonio José Grande, PhD; Maria Inês Da Rosa, PhD
Journal of Sexual Medicine, December 2020