Physical methods for the treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause: A systematic review

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2021 May;153(2):200-219. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13561. Epub 2021 Feb 22.


Background: Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) negatively affects sexual function and quality of life. Techniques like laser and radiofrequency are being used to manage GSM, particularly in women with contraindications for hormone therapy.

Objectives: To verify whether the physical methods of laser and radiofrequency can be recommended as safe and effective options for the treatment of GSM/urinary urgency or incontinence in pre- and postmenopausal women.

Search strategy: Databases were comprehensively searched using combinations of the following keywords in any language: "postmenopause"; "genitourinary syndrome of menopause"; "vaginal atrophy"; "radiofrequency"; and "laser."

Selection criteria: Full articles of case-control, cross-sectional, cohort, randomized clinical trials, and quasi-randomized or controlled clinical trials were included.

Data collection and analysis: All authors independently evaluated the design of the studies for quality of reporting, risk of bias, and quality of evidence.

Main results: Of the included 49 studies, 37 were on the CO2 laser, 10 on the Erbium laser, and two on radiofrequency.

Conclusions: Laser and radiofrequency therapy could be promising and safe therapeutic options for GSM/urinary incontinence. However, the study findings cannot be generalized until new randomized clinical trials are performed that confirm the strength of the evidence. This review has been registered with PROSPERO: CRD42020141913.

Keywords: atrophy; erbium; female urogenital diseases; laser therapy; menopause; radiofrequency.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods
  • Menopause*
  • Postmenopause
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Syndrome
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*
  • Vaginal Diseases / therapy