Comparison of Severity of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause Symptoms after Carbon Dioxide Laser vs Vaginal Estrogen Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Yeu Chai Jang, Chi Yan Leung, Hsi Lan Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Importance: Vaginal estrogen for genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) should be used with caution in women with contraindications, highlighting the need for effective treatment alternatives. Objective: To compare the severity of GSM after vaginal laser vs estrogen therapy. Data Sources: The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for articles published from database inception to April 8, 2022, with no language restrictions. Reference lists were also searched. Study Selection: Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compared the use of lasers with vaginal estrogen in adults were selected. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two investigators independently extracted data from included studies. The Cochrane risk of bias tool for RCTs was used to assess risk of bias of each study. A random-effects model was used to pool mean differences (MDs) with 95% CIs. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were Vaginal Analog Scale (VAS; higher scores indicate severer symptoms), Vaginal Health Index (VHI; higher scores indicate better vaginal health), Vaginal Maturation Index (VMI; higher scores indicate higher estrogen effect on the vaginal epithelium), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI; higher scores indicate better female sexual function), and Sexual Quotient-Female (SQ-F; higher scores indicate better female sexual function) questionnaire scores. Urinary symptoms were assessed as an additional outcome. Data analyses were performed from April 9 to 12, 2022. Results: A total of 6 RCTs with 270 women with GSM were included (135 were randomized to laser therapy and 135 to estrogen therapy; mean age ranged from 54.6 to 61.0 years). No significant differences were found between carbon dioxide laser and vaginal estrogen from baseline to the end of follow-up in overall VAS scores (MD, -0.16; 95% CI, -0.67 to 0.36; I2, 33.31%), VHI (MD, 0.20; 95% CI, -0.56 to 0.97; I2, 83.25%), VMI (MD, -0.56; 95% CI, -1.14 to 0.02; I2, 35.07%), FSFI (MD, -0.04; 95% CI, -0.45 to 0.36; I2, 41.60%), and SQ-F (P =.37 based on 1 study). Other questionnaire-based outcome measures demonstrated no difference between groups from baseline to the end of follow-up for changes in urinary symptoms. Conclusions and Relevance: This systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs found that vaginal laser treatment is associated with similar improvement in genitourinary symptoms as vaginal estrogen therapy. Further research is needed to test whether vaginal laser therapy could be a potential treatment option for women with contraindications to vaginal estrogen..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2232563
JournalJAMA network open
Volume5
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 21 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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