Vaginal atrophy, also known as atrophic vaginitis, is an uncomfortable condition that many women suffer from in silence. For those who find current treatment options for this condition to be ineffective, the FDA recently approved a new procedure to combat this problem, only it’s not for the faint of heart.
Vaginal atrophy is often caused by hormone changes associated with menopause, but may also occur in women who experience decreased estrogen production due to cancer or breastfeeding. It is characterized by thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls and causes intercourse to be painful and may also contribute to problems with urination.
The Mona Lisa Touch, an Italian-built laser device, was recently approved by the FDA, and uses lasers to stimulate collagen. According to Dr. Mickey Karram, director of urogynecology at The Christ Hospital, this is similar to the procedure plastic surgeons use to stimulate collagen in the face. It has just finished it’s testing and will be available at The Christ Hospital in Ohio later this month.
“It’s a thin-dot laser applied to skin to stimulate the production of collagen. This has nothing to do with lifting. You’re actually creating a healthier skin, more viable but instead of on the face, it’s in the vagina,” Karram told Cincinnati.com.
The procedure is made up of three three-minute laser sessions, each six weeks apart. It’s relatively painless and no anesthesia or painkillers are required. Before a woman is allowed to take part in the procedure she must undergo the customary pelvic exam, but if all checks out alright a doctor will insert the laser to the vaginal surface. The small size of the actual laser ensures that there is no risk of burns to the woman’s skin.
Once activated, the laser removes the dried skin which stimulates the collagen revival. This reportedly improves the overall condition.
According to Lisa Elliot, who recently underwent the surgery after suffering from vaginal atrophy due to cancer, it turned her life around.
“Every time that I would go back in to have my next treatment, I would tell them, you cannot imagine the improvement,” Elliott told The Cincinnati. “I could tell there was more lubrication and more stretchiness. At first, I thought it was the placebo effect, but after a while, it was undeniable.”
Although the pain and discomfort associated with the condition left, Elliot insists that the best side effect was being able to return to her normal sex life.
“I was actually able not only to have sex but to enjoy sex again. It was just the greatest thing ever, to have something make you feel normal again. After the first treatment,” Desmond added, “the sex was about 90 percent better. Then after the third, it was 100 percent better. And we’re talking no drugs. It was amazing.”