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J Sex Med. 2017 Mar;14(3):413-424. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.01.010. Epub 2017 Feb 12.

The Women's EMPOWER Survey: Identifying Women's Perceptions on Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy and Its Treatment.

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University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MacDonald Women's Hospital, Cleveland, OH, USA. Electronic address:
Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine Inc, Newport Beach, CA, USA.
TherapeuticsMD, Boca Raton, FL, USA.



Vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) affects up to two thirds of postmenopausal women, but most symptomatic women do not receive prescription therapy.


To evaluate postmenopausal women's perceptions of VVA and treatment options for symptoms in the Women's EMPOWER survey.


The Rose Research firm conducted an internet survey of female consumers provided by Lightspeed Global Market Insite. Women at least 45 years of age who reported symptoms of VVA and residing in the United States were recruited.


Survey results were compiled and analyzed by all women and by treatment subgroups.


Respondents (N = 1,858) had a median age of 58 years (range = 45-90). Only 7% currently used prescribed VVA therapies (local estrogen therapies or oral selective estrogen receptor modulators), whereas 18% were former users of prescribed VVA therapies, 25% used over-the-counter treatments, and 50% had never used any treatment. Many women (81%) were not aware of VVA or that it is a medical condition. Most never users (72%) had never discussed their symptoms with a health care professional (HCP). The main reason for women not to discuss their symptoms with an HCP was that they believed that VVA was just a natural part of aging and something to live with. When women spoke to an HCP about their symptoms, most (85%) initiated the discussion. Preferred sources of information were written material from the HCP's office (46%) or questionnaires to fill out before seeing the HCP (41%).The most negative attributes of hormonal products were perceived risk of systemic absorption, messiness of local creams, and the need to reuse an applicator. Overall, HCPs only recommended vaginal estrogen therapy to 23% and oral hormone therapies to 18% of women. When using vaginal estrogen therapy, less than half of women adhered to and complied with posology; only 33% to 51% of women were very to extremely satisfied with their efficacy.


The Women's EMPOWER survey showed that VVA continues to be an under-recognized and under-treated condition, despite recent educational initiatives. A disconnect in education, communication, and information between HCPs and their menopausal patients remains prevalent. Kingsberg S, Krychman M, Graham S, et al. The Women's EMPOWER Survey: Identifying Women's Perceptions on Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy and Its Treatment. J Sex Med 2017;14:413-424.


Knowledge; Menopause; Survey; Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy

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