Vaginal atrophy is the drying and thinning of the tissues of the vagina caused by a lack of estrogen. This is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. However, it can also occur as a result of a hysterectomy, childbirth and breastfeeding, or cancer chemotherapy treatment.
Vaginal atrophy is a gradual process. As estrogen production begins to decline, the vaginal walls thin and dry out. Symptoms may include:
Though as many as 32 million women experience symptoms of vaginal atrophy, many are too embarrassed to seek help or have resigned themselves to suffering. However, safe and effective treatments are available, including the FDA-approved MonaLisa Touch vaginal CO2 laser as well as other hormonal and non-hormonal treatment modalities.
The MonaLisa Touch vaginal CO2 laser is a minimally invasive therapy that provides relief via controlled light energy delivered into the vaginal walls. During a five minute procedure, a slender wand is inserted into the vaginal canal. Over the course of three treatments approximately 6 weeks apart, this therapeutic modality increases vaginal blood circulation and activates collagen and elastin production. This treatment is well tolerated, pain free and does not require anesthesia. Improvement is typically experienced shortly after the first treatment, however, maximal benefits may not be recognized until up to two months after the third treatment. These benefits may last up to one year at which time an annual touch up treatment is performed.
Other treatment modalities for vaginal atrophy include local vaginal estrogen or non-estrogen treatment to the vaginal walls in the form of vaginal creams, vaginal tablets or a vaginal ring. Some patients may benefits from the use of vaginal dilators and lubricants.