Menopause is a time of changes, and for many women, not having to deal with a period every month is a change that’s welcome. But that’s not the only thing that happens during menopause. There are a lot of unpleasant “side effects” as well, including night sweats, hot flashes and moodiness. Most women know to be on the lookout for these “well-known” symptoms, but lesser-known symptoms like vaginal dryness and painful sex wind up taking a lot of menopausal women by surprise.
Like the other symptoms of menopause, painful intercourse is caused by a big drop in your estrogen levels. This important hormone doesn’t just play a role in your periods and your fertility. It also helps keep your vagina lubricated and toned or “elastic,” reducing friction that can make intercourse uncomfortable. When estrogen levels drop during menopause (and during the months and years leading up to menopause, called perimenopause), the walls of your vagina become thin and dry, a condition called vaginal atrophy. That means the friction that occurs during intercourse can wind up causing a lot of pain and irritation. In some cases, it can even cause mild bleeding afterward.
The problem with HRT
For a long time, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was the only long-term option that was available for treating chronic vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. But vaginal atrophy isn’t a temporary problem. For women who want continued relief for painful intercourse (and the other symptoms of vaginal atrophy, like vaginal itching and burning, incontinence and an increased risk of infection), that meant they’d need to take hormones for a long time — essentially the rest of their lives, for many women. And while HRT can be effective in treating vaginal atrophy, those hormones can cause other effects including increasing your risks for serious and even life-threatening medical problems.
What’s more, HRT typically requires ongoing blood tests to make sure the amount of hormones you’re getting are enough to make a difference, but not so much to increase the associated risks of HRT. In short, optimizing your therapy takes a fair amount of effort, and it’s an effort you need to commit to for as long as you’re taking those hormones (and sometimes even afterwards).
MonaLisa Touch®: A better solution
The good news: Today, women don’t have to rely on HRT to treat vaginal atrophy and prevent painful intercourse. The MonaLisa Touch provides a simple, drug-free way to restore vaginal health, and the treatment can be performed right in our office in just a few minutes’ time. While other laser systems are designed to treat different areas, the MonaLisa Touch was specifically designed to treat the vaginal tissues. Shaped like a wand with a comfortable round tip, the MonaLisa Touch emits controlled bursts of laser energy 360 degrees around the wand surface to treat the entire vaginal wall.
When the laser energy penetrates the vaginal tissues, it works in two ways: first, by promoting the development of collagen that helps the vagina retain its elasticity, and second, by gently heating the deep layers of tissue, increasing production of hyaluronic acid to improve natural lubrication and tonicity. Treatments are performed right in the office, and once your treatment is complete, you can go right back to your regular routine — there’s no downtime. You’ll just need to avoid intercourse for a few days while initial healing occurs. Since the effects of the treatment are cumulative, most women benefit from a series of about three treatments at six-week intervals, followed by annual “touch-up” treatments to maintain your results.
Don't suffer with painful intercourse
Treating vaginal atrophy and putting an end to painful intercourse are the primary benefits of treatments with the MonaLisa Touch laser system, but there's another benefit: You won't need to use hormone replacement products, so you won't have to worry about related side effects. If you're experiencing vaginal pain during intercourse or other symptoms like bleeding after intercourse, vaginal itching or burning, mild urinary incontinence or frequent vaginal or urinary tract infections, treatment with the MonaLisa Touch could be just what you need to restore vaginal health and feel better. To learn more about the MonaLisa Touch and how it could help you, book an appointment online today.