Laser Treat­ment for Post­menopausal Women

Mon­aL­isa Touch re­stores vagi­nal health

Gulf & Main - - Contents - BY SU­SAN BENNETT

It’s a painful topic that most women don’t like to talk about.

It’s called vagi­nal atro­phy, or thin­ning of the vagi­nal walls, leading to dry­ness, burn­ing, painful in­ter­course and lack of mus­cle tone. About 40 per­cent of women over the age of 50 have vagi­nal atro­phy, which also af­fects breast can­cer sur­vivors and women who have un­der­gone hys­terec­tomies.

Caro­line, who lives in South­west Florida, is one of those women. The 55-year-old mother un­der­went a hys­terec­tomy 10 years ago and was pre­pared for the hot flashes, tired­ness and vagi­nal dry­ness that oc­curs in menopause.

“But no­body told me about the pain I would ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing in­ti­macy. I thought this is the way it is go­ing to be for the rest of my life. I’m too young for that,” she says.

“Un­til now, all we could re­ally of­fer women was es­tro­gen re­place­ment ther­apy in the form of a pill or cream, but those op­tions have side ef­fects,” says Dr. Rex Stubbs, ob­ste­tri­ciang­y­ne­col­o­gist with Physi­cians’ Pri­mary Care of South­west Florida. “And es­tro­gen re­place­ment isn’t an op­tion at all for breast can­cer sur­vivors.”

An­other op­tion is now avail­able that physi­cians and their pa­tients are call­ing “life-chang­ing.” The Mon­aL­isa Touch is a laser treat­ment that prom­ises to re­store vagi­nal health in three treat­ments. Caro­line and her hus­band are be­liev­ers. “Mon­aL­isa Touch has changed my life. Af­ter just one treat­ment, I had huge re­sults. It has given me back the qual­ity of life I didn’t have be­fore,” she says.

“Our pa­tients have ex­pe­ri­enced over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive and al­most im­me­di­ate re­sults,” says Dr. Kevin Fleish­man, ob­ste­tri­cian-gy­ne­col­o­gist with Physi­cians’ Pri­mary Care of South­west Florida. “The women show a high, sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in symp­toms, in­clud­ing dry­ness, pain, itch­ing and painful in­ter­course.”

No anes­the­sia is needed and there is no down­time for the pa­tient, ac­cord­ing to both Stubbs and Fleish­man.

Physi­cians’ Pri­mary Care of South­west Florida is the only med­i­cal prac­tice in Lee County to of­fer Mon­aL­isa Touch. The laser treat­ment is an in-of­fice pro­ce­dure avail­able at their OBGYN of­fice in Fort My­ers. Con­sul­ta­tion ap­point­ments also may be made at the Cape Coral of­fice.

Pa­tients un­dergo a brief laser treat­ment to the vagi­nal wall to pro­mote pro­duc­tion of new col­la­gen, which thick­ens the vagi­nal skin, in­creas­ing mois­ture and lu­bri­ca­tion that re­stores the vagina to a state sim­i­lar to be­fore menopause.

Three treat­ments are re­quired, spaced six weeks apart. In­sur­ance does not cur­rently cover the treat­ments, which cost $1,800 for all three. The pro­ce­dure then is done once an­nu­ally.

All of the ob­ste­tri­cians-gyne­col­o­gists at Physi­cians’ Pri­mary Care of South­west Florida are trained in the new tech­nol­ogy and have ad­min­is­tered the treat­ment to hun­dreds of South­west Florida women who are re­port­ing im­me­di­ate im­prove­ment in vagi­nal dry­ness and painful in­ter­course.

“This is a del­i­cate sub­ject,” Caro­line says. “We women get to­gether, we don’t talk about things like this. This needs to be talked about be­cause there is a so­lu­tion—and Mon­aL­isa Touch is it.”

Su­san Bennett is a South­west Florida pub­lic re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional and guest con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

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