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New Laser Therapy for Menopausal Women

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Heike Kuehn
Heike Kuehn
Heike Kuehn is a full-time, board certified nurse practitioner at All About Women in Newark. She received her graduate degree in Women's Health at the University of Pennsylvania and has completed post-graduate colposcopy training. She has over 26 years of nursing experience and has been a nurse practitioner for 17 years. Heike is a veteran of the Army Nurse Corps.

There is a new treatment for painful intercourse in menopause that doesn’t involve prescription medication. The MonaLisa Touch laser has been used in Europe and Australia for years with over 10,000 women treated so far. It was FDA approved for use in this country in 2014. It uses a fractional carbon dioxide laser, the same laser that has been used for many years in the treatment of dermatologic conditions and anti-aging treatments of the face, neck and chest.

In menopause, lack of estrogen leads to loss of elasticity of the vaginal walls and less blood flow to those tissues. The change in blood flow and hormonal picture leads to dryness, narrowing and rigidity of the vagina, changes in the pH and vaginal discharge, and can even increase the risk of urinary tract infections.

Treatment options have been limited for decades and have included over the counter lubricants and vaginal moisturizers, or prescription estrogen vaginal creams, tablets and rings. A relative newcomer in the treatment of painful intercourse in menopause is the prescription daily pill called Osphena. Many women find these treatments quite helpful. Many women treated for breast cancer or women with a history of a blood clot like stroke or dvt may not be able to use those prescriptions, however.

The MonaLisa laser works by delivering pulses of laser energy to the fragile vaginal tissue. This causes a cascade of tissue-injury responses that allow those treated areas to be filled in with fibroblasts, collagen, tissue-building matrix and capillary blood vessels. The increase in blood flow and connective tissue then improve vaginal elasticity, pH, and lubrication. Some women also report improvement in mild prolapse and urinary incontinence, but those improvements in response to the MonaLisa are not yet studied.

Treatment involves 3 treatments 6 weeks apart and then once yearly after that. Each session lasts approximately 5 minutes and is virtually painless. Because it is a newer therapy, insurance does not yet cover the cost of the treatments.

The MonaLisa laser is a wonderful tool to treat atrophy and painful intercourse in menopause. It’s been an extremely effective treatment option for women that haven’t responded to vaginal or oral prescriptions and for women who cannot or will not use hormonal therapies.

Talk to your health care provider about whether or not the MonaLisa laser is an option for you. Each method has pros and cons and a thorough discussion is needed to make the best plan of care for you!

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COVID-19 stats continue decline as vaccinations rise

344,780 Delawareans, or 44.4% of the eligible population, are fully vaccinated as of Friday a.m.

12-year-old spots fire at neighbor’s house in Bear

With the help of his father, “cool and collected’ Bear resident Sam Witman extinguishes the fire.

Carney: Mask mandate ending May 21

Gov.  John Carney on Friday announced that – effective May 21 – the State of Delaware will lift its requirement that Delawareans and visitors...
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