Vulvovaginal Atrophy in Menopause Linked to Depression, Anxiety

By Reuters Staff

November 21, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women with vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) have a greater risk of depression, major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety than those without the condition, according to new findings.

Women aged 45-54 with VVA were at particularly increased risk, Erick Moyneur of StatLog Econometrics, Inc., in Montreal and colleagues report in Menopause, online November 4.

"While this study does not establish any causality, the magnitude of the results suggests the importance of early diagnosis and management of VVA and dyspareunia symptoms which could in turn mitigate the worsening or development of important concomitant comorbidities such as depression, MDD, and anxiety which add up a major burden to VVA and dyspareunia," the researchers write.

The team used the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental Databases to identify more than 125,000 women with VVA, matching them by age, year, health plan and region with some 376,000 controls without VVA.

Diagnosed depression prevalence was 23.9% in women with VVA and 18.9% in the controls; MDD (6.3% vs. 4.7%) and anxiety (16.6% vs. 11.3%) were also more common in the VVA patients.

After adjustment for insomnia, vasomotor symptoms, dysuria and estrogen therapy, VVA remained significantly associated with depression (odds ratio, 1.23), MDD (OR, 1.22) and anxiety (OR, 1.39).

"The increased mental health burden in VVA women suggest a need to consider and evaluate a multidisciplinary approach in the management of both VVA and mental health conditions together and emphasize the need for additional education about the symptoms and treatments of VVA, and also more proactive communication between women and physicians from different specialities to optimize VVA management," the authors conclude.

The study was funded by Endoceutics, which makes the VVA treatment Intrarosa, and several study authors are employees of the company.

Moyneur was not available for an interview by press time.


Menopause 2019.