It’s time to talk about some sensitive issues—issues you may never have mentioned to anyone. Not your doctor, your best friend, or even your partner. It’s time to have a conversation about vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Many women experience these issues, but never talk about them. However, they should be addressed with your gynecologist. She can help determine the cause of the problem as well as safe and effective treatment.
If you have pain with intercourse, a very common cause of discomfort is vaginal dryness due to the hormonal changes triggered by perimenopause or menopause. Cancer treatment can also affect the vaginal tissue, causing vaginal atrophy. Lubricants and hormonal creams can help, but most have to be used for the rest of your life. Other treatments, including fractional CO2 lasers, use gentle energy to rejuvenate the vaginal tissue.
Treating Dryness, Itching, Thinning, and Pain
If your sex life has suffered because there isn’t enough moisture down there, West Des Moines OBGYN offers the MonaLisa Touch Treatment, a painless in-office procedure. This mild, nonsurgical laser therapy helps women solve a number of problems related to vaginal changes. It can help regenerate tissue, tone, and moisture to improve intimate relations.
Keep in mind that menopause does not signal the end of your sex life—it is only the end of your reproductive years. And any kind of pain, including that related to the vagina and vulva, should always be addressed. We encourage you to learn more about the MonaLisa Touch and to ask your gynecologist whether it is the right treatment for you and your symptoms.
What is MonaLisa Touch?
MonaLisa Touch (MLT) is a treatment for vaginal atrophy after menopause, cancer treatment, or oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), which involves the use of a fractional CO2 laser that is specifically designed to treat vaginal tissue. In the past, women who experienced vaginal atrophy were limited to hormonal treatment, lubricants, moisturizers, and creams. Commonly treated symptoms include vaginal itching, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, and vaginal laxity.
MLT is also being used to treat lichen sclerosis, which is a skin condition most common in postmenopausal women that creates patchy white skin that is thin. “Although the FDA has not approved MLT for this disorder, it is being widely used and is proving to be very effective. A study is being finished and will be submitted to the FDA in hopes that it will approve MLT for lichen sclerosis.“ (Retrieved from www.realself.com)
Who Can Benefit from MonaLisa Touch Treatment?
So, who needs MonaLisa Touch? Sometimes, with age, it’s easy to assume the changes women experience are normal; however, vaginal pain or discomfort of any kind is certainly something to be concerned about. Women that are experiencing symptoms of vaginal atrophy or lichen sclerosus should contact their doctor right away and discuss setting up an appointment for further examination.
Symptoms and conditions to be aware of:
- Thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to lack of estrogen
- Most commonly occurs in women experiencing menopause or premenopausal women undergoing cancer therapy
- Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that creates patchy white skin that is thin. It primarily affects the vulva in females.
- It is more common in postmenopausal women.
- Symptoms of lichen sclerosus include itching, discomfort, ulceration, bleeding, and painful intercourse.
- Dryness, burning, itching, and decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity leading to painful intercourse
How Does It Work?
Now that you know what symptoms and conditions to be aware of, you’re probably wondering, how exactly does MLT work? During a treatment session, a vaginal probe is inserted into the vagina. A laser energy is delivered to the vaginal wall which stimulates a healing process through collagen growth and increased vascularization, improving the overall condition of the vagina. So, what can a patient expect from the procedure?
- It is done in-office and is a short non-surgical procedure.
- For the diagnosis of vaginal atrophy, there are 3 5-minute treatments that happen at 6-week intervals.
- For the diagnosis of lichen sclerosus, there may be up to 7 external treatments performed in a 12-month period.
- Treatment requires no anesthesia or downtime, and it is a relatively painless procedure that allows patients to resume intercourse within 2 to 3 days.
- The procedure is fast, simple, and safe, and causes minimal side effects. Possible side effects include spotting, watery vaginal discharge, redness, swelling, inflammation, tenderness, itching, irritation, changes in pigmentations and scarring.
Why Choose West Des Moines OB/GYN?
West Des Moines OB/GYN is the only OB/GYN group in the Des Moines area to offer MonaLisa Touch, and an all-female provider at that. Because we understand on a fundamental level the health challenges women sometimes face, we have an especially important duty to offer the best possible treatment options for our patients’ conditions. Each doctor at West Des Moines OB/GYN takes seriously the responsibility of ensuring our patients receive the highest quality of individualized care available.
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms we addressed above and would like more information about MonaLisa Touch treatment, give us a call or schedule an appointment.