The change, proposed by both the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health and the North American Menopause Society, is based upon the fact that neither term is adequately accurate or encompassing, and many patients have discomfort using the word "vagina."
The new term, or its abbreviation GSM, is expected to be more tolerable, much as the way "erectile dysfunction" was easier for patients to discuss than asking them to say "penis."
The conference concluded that GSM is more accurate, inclusive, and less embarrassing than the older terms. In addition to easing conversations, the new term will be used to develop a tool to help standardize physical examinations so that women can take advantage of treatments such as vaginal moisturizers, vaginal estrogen, and estrogen mimics.This doesn't really change the way we think about the issue, but we do need to be prepared to recognize the new term as it starts to be more widely used. And, really, if it helps anyone open the discussion, it's a great move.