Treatment Alternatives For Vaginal Dryness, Atrophy, Painful Sex, and Vaginal Irritation: Hormones

Discomfort from vaginal dryness is common.  It is most likely to show up a few years after menopause, but may develop earlier in some women due to medications, other medical conditions that may cause dryness in multiple locations of the body (for example, dry eye), or following surgery, radiation treatment, or trauma.  Symptoms can range from simple discomfort with intercourse or vaginal penetration to a constant feeling of dryness and irritation in the vagina.  The skin may become thin, cracked, or raw at the opening of the vagina as well.  Sometimes, a thin discharge may be present that is slightly yellow or rust-colored.  If the symptoms appear to be related to low estrogen levels, medications such as vaginal estrogen cream or tablets, or Osphena(R) may be prescribed, or over-the-counter lubricants may be recommended ranging from KY to vaseline to coconut oil.  Often, these treatments can be very helpful in alleviating the symptoms.  However, treatment may take several months to be effective.  In some women, these preparations are not effective or are irritating, or simply not acceptable due to other conditions or concerns regarding hormone use.  As a specialist caring for women with pelvic disorders, this has been a common issue for my patients.  It can be very frustrating when the available remedies have been tried and found not to be helpful or have caused irritation.  In this situation, until recently there was not much else to recommend.

Fortunately, there is now an effective non-hormonal treatment using laser technology.  The MonaLisaTouch(R) was developed in Italy by two physicians who had experience in this matter, and determined to find a solution. Using technology designed originally for facial rejuvenation, a treatment was designed specifically for the vagina and vulva to revitalize the tissues.  Trials in Italy and elsewhere in Europe have demonstrated a return to normal vaginal appearance not only visually but under the microscope.  The laser stimulates regrowth of blood vessels, collagen and other supportive elements of the vagina to regenerate elasticity and strength.  This, in turn creates an environment conducive to proper vaginal function, normal lubrication, and better flexibility.  Studies in the USA have confirmed these results.  In Europe, South America, Australia and the UK the laser is also approved to treat mild urinary incontinence.  In the USA, it is approved only for treatment of vaginal atrophy symptoms.  Still, results have been very encouraging and women have been obtaining relief that was heretofore unavailable to them.  This is particularly true in the case of women who have had treatment for breast cancer and have become menopausal early due to the medications and who are unable or unwilling to use vaginal estrogens.  The laser is still new, and although approved by the FDA is not covered by insurance.  Treatment costs range between $2000 to $3000 for a full course of therapy.  The majority of women receiving relief from their symptoms have felt it was worth it and have been excited with their results.  For more information regarding treatment options for vaginal dryness and atrophy, call 561-701-2841, also visit our website www.drlindakiley.com or our facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/urogynecologypalmbeach/?ref=hl

For more information regarding the MonaLisaTouch(R) please visit:

Author

Linda Kiley, MD

Dr. Kiley is a Board Certified subspecialist in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, and is also Board Certified in general Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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