By Dr. Diana Bitner, MD, NCMP
Millions of women suffer from vaginal dryness, painful sex, and bladder urgency. If you are one of them, this blog is for you. We have discussed various therapies for these issues in previous blogs, but this one focuses on the MonaLisa Touch®, a CO2 laser therapy that is non-hormonal and chemical-free.
true. Women’s Health Physician Assistant, Susanne Pettigrew, and I will give you a detailed description of how the MonaLisa Touch® works and how we use it on our patients at true. If you’ve heard about the MonaLisa Touch® but have felt intimidated or concerned, this blog will help answer your questions and put your mind at ease!
We want our patients to have options that fit their specific needs and preferences. One size does not fit all—a 30-year-old woman who has premature menopause (possibly due to cancer treatments) may not want to use a vaginal insert to treat dryness for the next 50 years. A young cancer survivor is already going through so many emotions, and intimacy issues with her partner add to her suffering. MonaLisa Touch® therapy could be the life-changing solution she needs.
Suffering is unnecessary
This new and exciting therapy offers hope for women suffering from symptoms that affect their lives in a very personal way. In the United States, as many as 78 million women are in menopause, and 80 percent of these women suffer from vaginal dryness, painful sex, and bladder urgency. We see women in our office every day who suffer from painful intercourse, and they talk about feeling broken, alone, and disappointed, mourning the loss of sex without pain. This suffering is so unnecessary with the tools we have available, and we’re excited to get out the word to women about the MonaLisa Touch®. Menopause and aging are inevitable, but suffering is not.
The MonaLisa Touch® laser specifically treats gynecologic conditions, and it works by causing tiny areas of damage to the vulvovaginal tissue and leaving surrounding areas of healthy tissue. This process causes (1) cells to regenerate, (2) improved blood flow, and (3) an increase in collagen production.
How does the MonaLisa Touch® help me?
This results in healthier tissue with improved thickness and elasticity and improved moisture. Our patients are reporting very positive results from this treatment:
- Reduced vaginal pain.
- Reduced dryness.
- Improved sensation.
- Reduced pain with sex.
- Improved bladder function.
Of course, we would never recommend something that hasn’t been proven to be safe and effective. The MonaLisa Touch® has gone through many trials and studies and is both safe and very effective. In fact, studies show it is equally as effective as using vaginal estrogen. We are excited that many of our patients have found this treatment life-changing!
What does the process look like?
At true. Women’s Health, we follow the protocol recommended by the makers of the MonaLisa Touch®. We always start with a thorough assessment of your symptoms and concerns to ensure this treatment is for you. If you are a good candidate for the treatment, we will schedule you for the first of three MonaLisa Touch® treatments—each treatment lasts only about five minutes.
We want to make you as comfortable as possible, so we make the setting more like a spa than a clinic. Here’s what you can expect with each treatment: The exam table is a leather, reclining chair with massage and heat features to enhance your experience. Before treatment, a topical numbing gel is applied to the genital area. After the area is numb, a small wand is gently inserted vaginally. There is a mirror at the end of the wand where the laser beams reflect onto the vaginal tissue. The wand is rotated and slowly withdrawn so that the laser can target the entire vaginal wall. Most women report minimal to no discomfort, and many women report feeling a vibration and mild pressure during the treatment. The treatment also includes laser application to the external genital area, especially at the vaginal opening.
After the treatment, there is mild soreness, which typically resolves after one to two days. We encourage you to apply coconut oil and ice after the treatment and avoid intercourse for two days. It’s a quick procedure overall, with little to no downtime. The three treatments are six weeks apart, and we recommend a maintenance treatment once a year to maintain optimal results. If it sounds quite simple and relaxed, that’s because it really is!
Who may not qualify for MonaLisa Touch®?
Although many women benefit from the MonaLisa Touch®, you should not have this procedure if you:
- Have an acute gynecologic infection (like an STD or yeast infection)
- Struggle with wound healing or have former scars.
- Have vaginal prolapse.
- Are pregnant, or are within three months of delivery.
- Have scarred tissue from prior pelvic radiation.
- Have had prior reconstructive pelvic surgery with “mesh.”
If you have more questions about MonaLisa Touch® laser therapy, visit our website and click on the MonaLisa Touch® page. And, if you think this life-changing therapy is for you, call true. Women’s Health to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with Susanne. She will assess your concerns, and together you can determine if MonaLisa Touch® is the right treatment for you!