A new study suggests that laser therapy
is as effective and safe as vaginal estrogen in improving sexual and urinary functionality for women complaining of vaginal dryness
, itching, and burning, among other commonly reported menopause
Almost 55% of menopausal
women suffer a variety of discomform and sometimes excruciating pain as a result of some of these symptoms.
Results of the study are published in Menopause
, the journal of The North American Menopause
Due to declining estrogen levels during menopause
, women may experience a variety of genital and urinary problems
such as vaginal dryness
, reduced elasticity, vaginal burning, discharge, and itching, collectively known as the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). Such symptoms are the result of the vagina decreasing in caliber and the constriction of the vaginal opening.
Typically the first line of defense in addressing these symptoms, assuming they are mild, is often prescribing vaginal lubricants or moisturizers. Women with more severe symptoms may be prescribed vaginal estrogen
, which has proven highly effective and safe. A drawback of vaginal estrogen
therapy, however, is that women don't always follow through with it. Studies have shown that compliance rates vary from only 50% to 74%. In addition, there is a lack of long-term efficacy data, especially in high-risk women, such as those with breast or uterine cancer.
Mona Lisa Laser
Recently, fractional CO2 laser therapy
has been suggested as a viable treatment option. Lasers have already been effectively used on other parts of the body to remodel tissue and produce new collagen and elastic fibers. Their use for treatment of vaginal symptoms related to menopause
is still somewhat new, with most studies reporting results just 12 weeks after the procedure. This latest study is the first to compare the safety and effectiveness of laser therapy with vaginal estrogen
after 6 months of follow-up.
At 180 days, researchers found that laser therapy and vaginal estrogen
resulted in similar improvements in GSM symptoms, as well as urinary and sexual function. They reported that 70% to 80% of study participants were satisfied or very satisfied with ether treatment option, with no serious adverse effects.
Findings were published in the article "A randomized clinical trial comparing vaginal laser therapy to vaginal estrogen
therapy in women with genitourinary syndrome of menopause: The VeLVET Trial."
Reference: A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Vaginal Laser Therapy to Vaginal Estrogen Therapy in Women With Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause Comparison of Vaginal Laser Therapy to Vaginal Estrogen Therapy, Marie F Paraiso, M.D., https://ichgcp.net/clinical-trials-registry/NCT02691936
The Mona Lisa Touch Laser Treatment For Vaginal Dryness.
Drop in estrogen levels often associated with menopause
and other conditions can cause uncomfortable and sometimes painful dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls. When estrogen creams and other topical therapies aren’t effective, the Mona Lisa Touch® laser
is a noninvasive treatment option that can offer relief for vaginal dryness and other symptoms related to menopause.
Dr Susann Clifford, an obstetrician/gynecologist who offers this treatment at Duke Women’s Health Associates at Durham, North Carolina commented in an interview with Thailand Medical
News, “This nonhormonal, noninvasive intervention goes a long way to restore vaginal tissue to premenopausal levels. We're stimulating the body to heal itself."
The new nonsurgical treatment is ideal for perimenopausal
women, as well as for women with breast cancer who experience vaginal dryness following chemotherapy or hormone therapy, which can affect estrogen production.
Leading gynecologists may recommend the Mona Lisa Touch, which is a fractional CO2 laser
, when other treatment options haven't helped. Common menopause
therapies may start with over-the-counter lubricants and also include estrogen therapy. Vaginal dryness
laser treatment is ideal for women who are unable to receive or unsuccessful in receiving hormonal treatment.
Typically a series of three to four laser
sessions is required. The sessions, which are scheduled about six weeks apart, use an FDA-approved technology and take about five minutes to complete.
Women are positioned as they would be for a pelvic exam and may need some topical numbing cream. During the procedure, the physician uses the laser inside and outside the vagina, to make tiny scratches on the vaginal wall. This stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and improves the production of elastin and collagen to restore vaginal walls.
Some women feel general soreness or discomfort after the procedure but are able to move on their own immediately after treatment. Women can resume normal activities within two days, although they should avoid sexual activity for five-to-seven days.
While the Mona Lisa Touch laser
is an effective way to offer relief from vaginal dryness
and other symptoms related to low estrogen levels, it is not a cosmetic procedure, nor is it meant to act as “vaginal rejuvenation.”
“This procedure is not meant to tighten the vagina or give it a more ‘youthful appearance,’” Dr Clifford said. “But by restoring vaginal health, and reducing pain and discomfort of vaginal dryness
, a natural by-product can be improved intimacy and relations.”