Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) is a chronic condition affecting a large number of women, with a major impact on their urogenital health and sexual function. It occurs at midlife because estrogen levels decline with menopause enhancing aging-related changes of the functional anatomy of the urogenital system. Unfortunately, GSM may occur early in the lifespan of women or be exacerbated following anticancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, ionizing radiation, or surgical removal of reproductive organs. Symptoms of GSM are often under-reported by women, under-estimated and under-diagnosed by health care providers (HCPs), and subsequently under-treated, despite their profound negative impact on the quality of life. The mainstay of vaginal treatments is local estrogen therapy (LET) ensuring an effective management of moderate to severe symptomatic GSM. However, LET is generally contraindicated in women with a history of hormone receptor positive cancer, due to the fear of increased recurrence or possible interference with endocrine adjuvant therapies. Among non-hormonal treatments, hyaluronic acid-based moisturizers have shown promising clinical results both in healthy women and in cancer patients or survivors. Its strong water-binding properties provide lubricating and moisturizing effects, which contribute to maintaining a proper level of hydration and viscoelasticity in several body parts, including the urinary tract and genital tissues. Hyaluronic acid-based moisturizers are effective, safe, and well tolerated; therefore, they may represent a valid option for the early management of GSM-associated symptoms in every woman with a history of cancer who is unable or unwilling to undergo hormone-based therapies. Hence, the aim of this review was to provide an overview of GSM etiology and treatment in women with natural or iatrogenic menopause, with a focus on the use of hyaluronic acid as a prophylactic treatment in the context of an integrated management protocol for cancer patients.
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