Laser Treatment for Postmenopausal Women
MonaLisa Touch restores vaginal health
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.