With the passing of years come many changes in the appearance and functionality of a woman’s body. You may begin to notice new fine lines and wrinkles appearing. You may also notice other non-visible changes occurring as well. Whether it is through giving birth or undergoing menopause — both milestones can certainly affect the condition of the vagina.
It’s usually not until something feels uncomfortable that you begin to wonder whether you should seek treatment for your vaginal health. You may have begun to experience vaginal dryness, mild incontinence, skin laxity, itching, and burning, all of which can make intercourse painful, disrupt your personal relationships and affect your self-esteem.
If any of these symptoms currently trouble you — whether mild or aggressive — you are not alone. According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information survey published in 2014, as many as 64 million women in the United States have reached menopause, and as many as half of those are likely suffering from vaginal and vulvar atrophy symptoms. Unfortunately, a majority of women suffering from these symptoms have not sought available help to combat the issue. You may feel embarrassed to discuss the issue even with your doctor, or you might think that these symptoms simply come with aging and must be endured.
However, when you consult with Dermacare Laser & Skin Care Clinics, Dr. Jeff Birchall may recommend several safe, effective methods to restore not only your comfort and sexual function but your self-esteem as well. One especially vital treatment is MonaLisa Touch — a CO2 fractional laser treatment designed specifically for the vaginal mucosa that works to reduce the discomfort you are feeling as well as improve many of the associated symptoms of vaginal atrophy.
What causes vaginal discomfort?
Vaginal atrophy and the discomfort which accompanies it has many causes. One cause is the natural depletion of collagen in our body tissues over time. Collagen, a naturally produced compound in the body, is responsible for creating and supporting the underlying structure of our skin tissues. This gives our skin — whether on our face or in our vagina — tightness and tone, and it also contributes to healthy skin function, such as water retention. Depletion of collagen can have serious, detrimental effects, especially in an area as delicate and sensitive as your vagina.
Physical trauma can also affect the condition of your vagina. Childbirth can cause lasting vaginal laxity which can have a significant impact on you and your partner’s sexual satisfaction. Additional factors such as estrogen depletion which happens naturally as you age can lead to vaginal atrophy which exacerbates other symptoms and causes new ones to occur, such as thinning of the vaginal walls, vaginal contraction and dryness. These symptoms, even if they are mild, can cause emotional problems, sexual dysfunction and relationship difficulties, but you can seek effective treatment to reverse many of these signs.
How does MonaLisa Touch work?
The MonaLisa Touch consists of a handheld fractional laser that is gently inserted into the vagina. The CO2 fractional technology targets the vaginal walls and creates microscopic lesions along the skin’s surface. The formation of lesions stimulates collagen production in the vagina — a process known as neocollagenesis — that begins to repair the damaged skin cells contributing to the issues you are facing.
Over time, and as you continue to receive treatment with the MonaLisa Touch, you will see improved function in the structure of your vagina. Any skin laxity issues will improve, and the dryness you may experience during intimacy will give way to a feeling of being lubricated, leaving you to enjoy intercourse more often. Additionally, the newly produced collagen will result in enhanced structures that relieve urinary incontinence. No longer will you suffer from leaks and social embarrassment.
One of the biggest benefits you will find is that your treatment with the MonaLisa Touch is painless. The nonsurgical procedure gently revitalizes the vagina, and the Dermacare team will help you feel completely comfortable while receiving the treatment.
What is the MonaLisa Touch procedure like?
A single MonaLisa Touch treatment generally takes between 15 and 30 minutes in our offices. While the laser treatment itself typically takes only around five minutes, in most cases, a topical anesthetic is applied to numb the opening of the vagina to ensure your comfort throughout your treatment, and it can take several minutes for the anesthetic to reach its full effect. Once that happens, we will begin the procedure. Unless you suffer from allergies to topical anesthetics, this step is always advised to reduce any pain or sensitivity you might feel.
A treatment session for MonaLisa Touch closely resembles an ordinary visit to your gynecologist. After you check in and our nursing staff has checked your vitals, you will get seated comfortably in your procedure room. After disrobing and putting on a hospital gown, you will lie on the exam table using stirrups as you would during a typical gynecological exam. Apart from topical anesthetic, you will not need any additional pain-controlling medications for your MonaLisa Touch procedure.
Before the procedure begins, an “insertion ring” will be placed into the opening of your vagina so that the applicator will not irritate your labia during your procedure. The laser procedure will then begin, with the laser beam activating, getting repositioned, and re-activating several times to ensure that all areas of your vaginal walls receive treatment. You will want to avoid intercourse and even tampons for a couple of days after your procedure, and you may have greater sensitivity during urination immediately afterward than you would typically. This side effect is natural and will pass quickly.
Is MonaLisa Touch right for me?
Discussing your functional concerns with a physician at Dermacare is important. Every woman experiences different side effects after childbirth or menopause that impact the vagina differently. At Dermacare, you can privately and openly discuss your concerns to determine whether MonaLisa Touch is right for you.
If you are experiencing vaginal laxity problems that are interfering with your ability to enjoy intercourse or dryness that is making sex painful, then rejuvenating your vagina with the MonaLisa Touch may improve intimacy for both you and your partner. The MonaLisa Touch will also address any burning or itching sensations that may occur due to vaginal irritation.
During your consultation, we will first examine you to ensure you are healthy enough to receive treatment with MonaLisa Touch. If you are pregnant or have a vaginal infection, we may recommend that you postpone treatment until your vagina has fully recuperated.
The MonaLisa Touch is also a must-consider option if you have prior medical conditions which prohibit other forms of vaginal treatment, such as hormone therapy. If you have had breast cancer, or if you wish to avoid hormone replacement therapies due to breast cancer concerns, MonaLisa Touch allows you to get the benefits of vaginal rejuvenation without the potential side effects of hormones. Also, if you, like many, simply wish to avoid the risks associated with surgery, MonaLisa Touch can give you results free of serious risk, pain and a lengthy recovery.
Patients seeking this treatment are typically recommended up to three treatment sessions spaced six weeks apart, depending on your particular needs. Multiple treatment sessions allow the collagen within the vaginal tissues to build an equilibrium and gradually rehydrate the vaginal walls. This process will aid in the restoration of your vagina without affecting pH levels or contributing to an infection.
What results can I expect?
Neocollagenesis is a gradual process, and it may take a few months before you feel the full effects of the MonaLisa Touch; however, the stimulation of collagen occurs immediately, and many patients report noticing an improvement after their first treatment session.
The best part is that the procedure involves no recovery time, and your treatment session should take only a few minutes to complete. You should also experience no side effects and return to most of your daily routine almost immediately. You should, however, expect to refrain from intercourse for at least 48 hours.
The MonaLisa Touch is highly effective at restoring the tone and elasticity of the vagina, which will not only improve your personal relationships but also your quality of life. Even after your treatments are complete, you can expect tissue regeneration to continue to improve the structures of the vagina, giving you lasting comfort and satisfaction as you move through life.
You Do Not Have to Suffer From the Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy
You can learn more about treatment with the MonaLisa Touch by contacting Dermacare and scheduling a personal consultation. With an examination and a discussion of your concerns, we can help you decide whether MonaLisa Touch will benefit your wellbeing. Call us today at 858-943-2443 or 760-472-5088 to reach our San Diego or Carlsbad locations and receive more information.