MonaLisa Touch® Laser Therapy
As women age it’s natural for changes to occur in vaginal health, but many of us feel unable to discuss the more intimate symptoms with our family GP, so instead struggle on believing there’s probably nothing that can be done to help anyway. But pain during sex, vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence can be symptoms, and have detrimental effect on your quality of life, relationship and everyday wellbeing.
What causes vaginal dryness?
Vaginal atrophy is the medical name given to the condition that leads to vaginal dryness, which is also known as vulvo-vaginal atrophy (VVA) or atrophic vaginitis. It occurs when the body starts producing less of the female hormone oestrogen, which triggers the thinning and drying of the vaginal walls.
Many women experience this change during the onset of menopause, when oestrogen levels naturally start to fall. This can begin in the lead-up to menopause, called peri-menopause, which usually happens when a woman is in their mid to late 40s. The average age for menopause, when your periods stop completely as a result of low levels of oestrogen, is 51.
Although women tend to suffer from vaginal atrophy mostly following menopause, it can also happen at other times:
- During the years leading up to the menopause
- After surgical removal of both ovaries
- After radiotherapy of the pelvis
- After chemotherapy
- As a result of hormonal treatment for breast cancer
If you have to undergo a surgical menopause, where you have a hysterectomy to remove your ovaries, then unlike women who gradually build up to the menopause you have to deal with the symptoms coming on suddenly, which can be life disrupting.
The situation can be compounded further, if you also have to take oestrogen-inhibiting medication, such as for oestrogen sensitive cancer, which has the effect of lowering your oestrogen levels still further.
What are the symptoms of vaginal atrophy?
Vaginal dryness, and general pain and discomfort, can be difficult to deal with, both physically and psychologically. There are a number of unwelcome vaginal and urinary symptoms, and you may suffer from a few or a number of them.
- Pain during intercourse
- Reduced vaginal lubrication
- Genital itching or burning sensation, of the vulva or vagina
- General vaginal dryness and discomfort
- Vaginal discharge
- Burning sensation when you urinate
- A desperate need to visit the loo
- Frequent bladder infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Light bleeding or spotting after intercourse
- Discomfort or pain during sex
- Light bleeding or spotting after exercise
What are the treatments for vaginal atrophy?
Even though most women will experience these distressing symptoms during their lives, very few will actually seek treatment. Sadly, this is often because they feel embarrassed to discuss what’s happening with their local doctor or nurse. Or believe nothing can be done to help.
However, there are treatments for this condition. Firstly, you’ll need to make an appointment to see a GP or gynaecologist. They will usually give you a vaginal examination, and will also be checking for signs of pelvic organ prolapse.
Treatments for vaginal atrophy include:
- A vaginal moisturiser to restore moisture in the vagina (effects last longer than a lubricant).
- A water-based lubricant to reduce the discomfort during sex.
- Topical oestrogen cream is applied directly to the vagina
- Oral oestrogen in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- The MonaLisa Touch, tissue regenerating laser therapy
If you are reluctant to try oestrogen treatment because of its links to an increased risk in breast cancer, or because you want to try something that treats the underlying problem, then you may want to consider a new state-of-the art laser therapy that is now available to women, the MonaLisa Touch.
What is MonaLisa Touch Laser Therapy?
Quite often the relief of lubricants and creams is short-lived, as symptoms become resistant to them. But there’s no need to suffer in silence. As a new innovative laser treatment, the MonaLisa Touch can help with vaginal atrophy,
This pioneering treatment works by reshaping and regenerating vaginal tissue that may have started to degenerate, being restorative without the side effects of oestrogen.
The MonaLisa Touch treatment has the effect of restoring moisture to the vaginal walls, as well as helping with other common problems, such as:
- Urinary incontinence
- Weak vaginal muscle laxity
- Postnatal disorders due to childbirth injury
How does this therapy work?
MonaLisa therapy works by applying gentle laser energy to the vaginal walls. Your doctor will administer this in tiny dots meaning that only a small percentage of vaginal tissue is directly affected by the laser at any time.
The specialist laser delivers fractional carbondioxide laser energy to the vaginal wall tissue, which causes the production of new collagen and rehydrates and tightens the membrane lining the vaginal wall.
What will I experience during the MonaLisa Touch Therapy?
Performed by an expert doctor it is a very quick and most women report that the it is a painless procedure. It has the benefit of being minimally invasive and without any risks to surrounding tissues. Your specialist doctor will decide what intensity of laser treatment you need. Some women report feeling a slight sensation, and if it’s necessary to turn the settings up, a little tenderness, but this is manageable.
The treatment can be completed in as little as 5 minutes, with no recovery time needed, so you’ll be able to leave the clinic the same day and go about your normal activities.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments you’ll need depend on the severity of your symptoms, and your specialist gynaecologist will tailor the therapy to your individual needs.
However, usually three treatments are recommended for vaginal atrophy over an 18 month period. These are given 4 to 6 weeks apart, and then once a year to maintain effects.
How long will it take for the MonaLisa Touch to work?
You should start seeing improvements in your symptoms after one treatment, but 3 treatments are often required to get the full benefits.
One study has shown improvements of 90% in vaginal laxity, 85% in vaginal itching, 84% in vaginal burning, 76% in dryness and 72% in pain during sex, after 3 sessions of MonaLisa Touch®.
Reports from women who have already received this treatment are positive. This is one account of the experience of woman who has tried MonaLisa Touch.
25 Harley Street's Consultant Gynaecologists
Mr Gardner is Clinical Director for Gynaecology at the Queen Alexandra Hospital. A specialist in endometrial cancer screening and colposcopy. >Read more
A consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist based in London. Within the NHS he practises at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. Mr Athanasias has developed special skills in minimally invasive surgery. >Read more
You can phone to discuss a consultation on 020 3883 9525, or email [email protected]