Aim To evaluate the effects of the vaginal erbium laser (VEL) in the treatment of postmenopausal women suffering from genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). Method GSM was assessed in postmenopausal women before and after VEL (one treatment every 30 days, for 3 months; n = 45); the results were compared with the effects of a standard treatment for GSM (1 g of vaginal gel containing 50 μg of estriol, twice weekly for 3 months; n = 25). GSM was evaluated with subjective (visual analog scale, VAS) and objective (Vaginal Health Index Score, VHIS) measures. In addition, in 19 of these postmenopausal women suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the degree of incontinence was evaluated with the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF) before and after VEL treatments. Results VEL treatment induced a significant decrease of VAS of both vaginal dryness and dyspareunia (p < 0.01), with a significant (p < 0.01) increase of VHIS. In postmenopausal women suffering from mild to moderate SUI, VEL treatment was associated with a significant (p < 0.01) improvement of ICIQ-SF scores. The effects were rapid and long lasting, up to the 24th week of the observation period. VEL was well tolerated with less than 3% of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse events. Conclusion This pilot study demonstrates that VEL induces a significant improvement of GSM, including vaginal dryness, dyspareunia and mild to moderate SUI. Further studies are needed to explore the role of laser treatments in the management of GSM.
Keywords: DYSPAREUNIA; ERBIUM LASER; GENITOURINARY SYNDROME OF MENOPAUSE; MENOPAUSE; STRESS URINARY INCONTINENCE; VAGINAL ATROPHY.