Hyaluronic Acid in Postmenopause Vaginal Atrophy: A Systematic Review, 2021
Topics: Hyaluronic Acid; Postmenopause; Systematic Review; Vaginal Atrophy
Authors: Carlos Campagnaro M Dos Santos, Maria Laura R Uggioni, Tamy Colonetti, Laura Colonetti, Antonio José Grande, Maria Inês Da Rosa
Background: The decline in postmenopausal serum estrogen concentration results in several changes in the vulvovaginal and vesicourethral areas, resulting in the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, including symptoms such as vaginal atrophy.
Aim: To evaluate the effects of hyaluronic acid in vaginal atrophy.
Methods: A search strategy was developed using the following terms: “Hyaluronic Acid vaginal gel,” “vaginal estrogens,” “Vaginitis, Atrophic,” and “Postmenopause.” This strategy was used in major databases such as MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Cochrane library, Web of Science, Virtual Health Library (BVS), Congress Abstracts, and Gray Literature (Google Scholar and British Library) for studies published until June 2020.
Outcomes: A systematic review was carried out to assess the results of atrophic vaginitis/vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, vaginal pH, and cell maturation of the studies found by the search strategy.
Results: A total of 833 studies were identified, 528 studies were directed for reading titles and abstracts, and 515 were excluded for not meeting the selection criteria. A total of 13 studies were selected for reading the full text. 5 primary studies involving 335 women met the criteria and were included. The studies were published between the years 2011 and 2017. It was not possible to perform meta-analysis owing to the substantial heterogeneity present in the studies. The results presented suggest that treatment with hyaluronic acid, when compared with the use of estrogens, does not present a significant difference in the results obtained for the outcomes: epithelial atrophy, vaginal pH, dyspareunia, and cell maturation.
Clinical translation: Hyaluronic acid appears to be an alternative to non-hormonal treatments for the signs of vaginal atrophy and dyspareunia.
Strengths & limitations: The analysis of the studies in this systemic review suggests that hyaluronic acid has efficacy similar to vaginal estrogens for the treatment of the signs of vaginal atrophy and dyspareunia. However, the included studies measured the data in different ways, causing the performance of meta-analysis to be impaired.
Conclusion: The comparisons presented suggest that hyaluronic acid has a profile of efficacy, safety, and tolerability comparable with vaginal estrogens for the treatment of symptoms of vaginal atrophy. It is a possible alternative for women who cannot use hormonal treatment.