The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the most recent literature on genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), to explore the key elements of GSM diagnosis, and the potential impact of pathophysiological changes in the vaginal milieu on vulvovaginal symptoms.
The MEDLINE database was searched, and only articles written in English were considered. Additional references were identified by hand searching the bibliographies of the included articles.
The vaginal milieu plays important roles in producing bothersome symptoms in the host. In women with GSM, low hormone states can result in pathophysiological changes in the vaginal milieu, including the vaginal microbiome and the mucosal immunity. Hormone-associated disruption of the balance of the indigenous microbiota and the dysregulation of these immune responses are the pathophysiological basis of GSM symptoms. However, whether the microbiome and mucosal immunity are markers of vulvovaginal disorder or agents actively promoting a healthy vagina are still not fully understood. It is an important area of focus.