Vaginal dryness affects women of all ages, but occurs more frequently in post-menopausal women because of the body’s decreased estrogen levels. It is estimated close to 1 out of 3 women experience dryness while going through menopause, with even more women reporting the condition post menopause. Living with dryness does not have to part of the aging process.
During and after menopause, women experience reduced estrogen levels in the body. When estrogen becomes lower, patients often report loss of libido, hot flashes, mood swings and overall vagina discomfort. One of the most common symptoms associated with menopause is vaginal dryness. Certain patients may experience only a minor irritation, while other patients may experience dryness so severe it impacts sexual function and desire. The condition can also lead to bacterial or yeast infections.
In a normal (or healthy) vagina, the vaginal walls stay lubricated with a thin, clear layer of fluid. Estrogen helps maintain the fluid and helps keep the vaginal lining thick, elastic and healthy. When estrogen levels drop during and after menopause, the moisture level also drops. The vaginal lining also becomes less elastic and thinner. Vaginal dryness can cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, which may affect your relationship with your partner. This is commonly known as vaginal atrophy. A number of factors may contribute to vaginal dryness, including: Menopause or perimenopause (a transition time before menopause), Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Smoking, Surgery to remove the ovaries, Certain immune disorders, Cancer treatments, Anti-estrogen medicines.
Symptoms of vaginal dryness may include: Soreness, itching, or burning of the vagina, Painful intercourse, Light bleeding after intercourse, Mild vaginal discharge, Recurring urinary tract infections. Visit your doctor if you have symptoms of vaginal dryness that are severe or don’t go away.
Diagnosing Vaginal Dryness: If you have vaginal dryness, your doctor can perform a pelvic exam to determine whether the walls of your vagina are thin, pale, or red. You may also undergo testing of your hormone levels to see if you’re going through menopause. Your doctor may also test your vaginal discharge to check for other causes of dryness.
MonaLisa Touch™ as a Vaginal Dryness Treatment. Vaginal dryness does not have to be an uncomfortable part of the natural aging process. With help from the physicians at Mona Lisa Partners and the MonaLisa Touch system, patients can now alleviate dryness long-term with little or no pain or downtime.
MonaLisa Touch is an in-office, non-surgical treatment that utilizes a CO2 laser system to deliver controlled energy to vaginal tissue. The laser energy is designed to revitalize the vaginal tissue cells so they increase collagen production, a critical component in vaginal cell health. MonaLisa Touch is performed in-office by one of the physicians at Mona Lisa Partners. The vaginal dryness treatment is virtually pain-free, with only some patients reporting discomfort the first time the probe is inserted in the vaginal canal. Many patients will experience alleviated dryness in only three treatments, with each treatment spaced six weeks apart.