MonaLisa Touch for Vaginal Atrophy and Painful Sex
Sometimes called atrophic vaginitis (AV), vaginal atrophy is a common condition affecting tens of millions of women in the U.S. The symptoms include chronic vaginal dryness, painful vaginal burning, vaginal irritation, urinary urgency and urinary frequency. Sexual intercourse is usually painful and for some women it is unbearable. This condition is caused by low estrogen levels that lead to a thinning and drying out of the lining of the vagina.
The most common cause of low estrogen levels is menopause. The symptoms of AV range from mild vaginal dryness to severe burning pain. Another cause of loss of estrogen is chemotherapy which can trigger premature menopause. Breast cancer survivors can experience severe AV since they are not allowed to use estrogen and their hormone treatments often include medications that block the effects of estrogen.
What is the MonaLisa Touch Procedure?
- The MonaLisa Touch™ laser is used to improve the health and thickness of the vaginal mucosa (the mucous membrane) that lines the vaginal walls. This is not a cosmetic procedure. It is a medical treatment that can renew and restore vaginal health and function resulting in increased vaginal lubrication and sensation, decreased pain and burning, and revive your sex life.
The laser creates tiny precise injuries to the vaginal wall that force the area to heal, causing the vaginal walls to get healthier than before the laser. The vaginal walls gradually are restored to the state they were in before menopause.
Better lubrication and more elasticity results in relief of vaginal dryness, burning and painful sex*.
*Note that results cannot be guaranteed as there are many factors that can cause painful sex, not all of which are addressed by the laser.
- What type of results can I expect?
- The great majority of treated patients report a significant reduction in vaginal dryness, vaginal burning and pain during intercourse, which contributes to a substantial improvement in their quality of life.
- These results are possible due to the stimulation of the vaginal mucosa, which renews and regenerates. There is actual growth of new cells and tissues which takes place for weeks after each treatment. Results are most noticeable one and a half months after a treatment session and optimal results are seen after the third treatment session.
- How long will these results last?
- Studies done in Italy and Australia show that positive results can last up to one year after completion of the initial treatment course. We recommend a single annual treatment afterwards to maintain the beneficial effects
- What are the benefits of this treatment?
- The Valayza™ vaginal laser treatment causes a functional restoration of the vaginal mucosa, which helps to greatly reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of vaginal atrophy, a widespread problem among pre and postmenopausal women (and women who have lost estrogen due to other conditions such as chemotherapy). Thanks to its action on factors that lead to vaginal dryness, fragility and loss of mucosal elasticity, this treatment can eliminate troublesome itching, irritation and pain, which become particularly acute during intercourse. The interaction with the laser stimulates the collagen contained in the vaginal walls, and helps the lining to grow and thicken. This results in vaginal rehydration and functional tissue restoration, which in turn can contribute to improved self-confidence and sexual sensation.
- Is anesthesia required?
- We place a topical anesthetic gel just inside the vaginal opening prior to the procedure. Some women report a brief "tingling" sensation vaginally when the laser is activated.
- How is the recovery?
- Some women report slight localized discomfort following the Valayza™ Procedure and during the first few days after the session. Nearly all patients resume their normal routine after one to three days. During the initial healing period, it may be recommended to avoid lifting weights or certain activities, such as taking a hot bath, vigorous physical exercise or sexual activity. We will give you instructions for a speedy recovery.
- Am I a candidate?
- The Valayza™ Procedure is most suitable for any woman with symptomatic vaginal atrophy due to loss of estrogen. In particular, Valayza™ is the ideal treatment for those who are looking for a less invasive procedure, compared to traditional surgical, pharmaceutical or hormonal treatments. Remember, no one can advise you better about what is the best way for you to achieve optimal results than your doctor.
- Appropriate candidates for this procedure include pre and post-menopausal women and breast cancer survivors of any age - any woman with vaginal burning and pain due to low estrogen. If there is symptomatic vaginal atrophy due to low estrogen, Valayza™ can help.
- Are there any risks?
- The risks are minimal. This 5-minute treatment is performed in the doctor’s office. There might be temporary side effects such slight redness or swelling of the external vaginal area, and some discomfort that usually disappears in one or two days. In one clinic in Australia, over 1,000 patients have been treated without a single complication.
- What is the cost?
- Please call (626) 304-2626 for more information about cost or if you have any questions. Over a five year time frame, the cost of three initial sessions with a yearly maintenance procedure afterwards is less than the cost of most prescription hormonal treatments. To our knowledge, this laser procedure is not covered by any medical insurance provider.
- Tell me more about the laser itself
- The MonaLisa Touch laser is a patented CO2 fractional laser, specifically designed for intravaginal use. It received FDA clearance for safe use vaginally in September 2014. The procedure is carried out in a medical office and normally does not require anesthesia and does not involve any cutting or stitching. The procedure is not approved by the FDA for this specific medical indication but the laser is cleared by the FDA as safe to use vaginally.
- A consultation and examination with a Gyn physician is required before the procedure is done for the first time; this could take 10-15 minutes, and the treatment itself takes about 5 to 10 minutes. These can be two separate appointments or with advance planning can be combined into a single office visit.
- Can MonaLisa Touch be used to treat vaginal laxity?
- Vaginal laxity, sometimes referred to as a "loose vagina," is a condition where the diameter of the vagina has increased causing less sensation during sex. This is often due to natural yet traumatic events, such as giving birth or tissue relaxation due to the aging process. In these cases, it is essential to evaluate the cause and the state of the vagina to exclude vaginal prolapse or an involvement of the vaginal muscles. If a thorough exam determines that the problem is a loose vaginal wall rather than true prolapse, the procedure can provide significant improvement for this condition as well.