Hot flashes. Mood swings. Weight gain. Ah, the joys of menopause. But here’s one you may not have heard of: vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness is a symptom that might sound fairly benign when you read about it, but experiencing it can be quite uncomfortable. According to WebMD, 1 out of 3 women experience vaginal dryness when going through menopause, and the discomfort can affect both their daily activities and their sex lives.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels drop drastically, which affects the lubrication and elasticity of the vagina, leading to dryness.
Menopause isn’t the only time a woman’s estrogen levels can drop. Other causes can be childbirth, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, douching, certain anti-depressants, and more.
Whether you experience vaginal dryness during menopause or for any of these other reasons, it’s not something that you have to take lying down. Fortunately, today there are treatment options.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Until about two years ago, women suffering from vaginal dryness had pretty much only one option available: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT comes in two forms: Estrogen-only and a combination treatment that contains some mixture of estrogen/progesterone/progestin. Estrogen-only therapy is recommended for women who no longer have a uterus, since it increases the risk of endometrial cancer. Both types come in the form of a tablet, topical cream, or ring.
While HRT is effective for some women, it comes along with its own risks and side effects, including increased risk of heart disease, headaches, mood swings, vaginal bleeding, and more. And the jury is still out on whether the combined treatment also increases the risk of certain cancers.
So What’s A Woman To Do?
Fortunately, there is an alternative to HRT. It’s called the MonaLisa Touch, a new treatment that was approved by the FDA in 2014 (though it has been used outside of the US since 2008). MonaLisa Touch is a hormone replacement therapy alternative that uses laser energy to generate new collagen, increase moisture levels, and stimulate a healing response in the vaginal canal. MonaLisa Touch is a virtually painless in-office procedure, and best of all – it heals without any dangerous side effects.
About the Procedure
The procedure itself takes less than 5 minutes, and the typical course of treatment is three sessions, each six weeks apart. Most patients report improvement after the first treatment, especially regarding urinary leakage. After the whole treatment course, patients report improved vaginal hydration, vaginal laxity, lessened urinary incontinence, and more comfortable intercourse.
The Miami Center of Excellence for Obstetrics & Gynecology is one of the few locations in Florida where this treatment is available. If MonaLisa Touch sounds like something that you can benefit from, please contact us, and we can give you more information or set up a consultation.