The menopause is a normal, natural part of life, but many women feel too embarrassed to talk about the ways in which it affects them. It can be a time of great change and upheaval, when women might experience a variety of symptoms which can impact their quality of life.
More than half of women will experience vaginal atrophy (the thinning and drying of the vaginal walls which is caused by falling levels of oestrogen) at some point.
This can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as vaginal dryness, burning, soreness, itching and irritation. For many women this can also mean that sexual intercourse becomes uncomfortable and even painful.
Many women think nothing can be done to help when vaginal moisturisers and lubricants fail to treat the symptoms. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat vaginal atrophy.
What is MonaLisa Touch?
MonaLisa Touch is a new laser treatment that improves most symptoms associated with the thinning of vaginal walls. It is not a cosmetic treatment: it involves a short and mostly pain-free procedure which does not require any anaesthetic, has very minimal risk and very few temporary side effects.
Pandelis Athenasias, Consultant Gynaecologist at The Medical Chambers Kensington says: “I first came across it when I was in the US a few years ago. I met and talked with the clinicians who introduced the laser treatment and supervised most of the research. Then I travelled to Milan and talked to patients with vaginal atrophy who’d had MLT treatments in the past. The huge satisfaction rate and improvement in their quality of life convinced me to introduce the treatment to my patients in London.”
How does it work?
The MonaLisa Touch laser delivers a pulse of energy via a probe which is gently inserted into the vagina. The laser light stimulates the vaginal walls and restores tissues to a more youthful thickness, elasticity and level of moisture.
What does the treatment involve?
A gynaecologist will first assess your symptoms and perform a gentle internal examination. This will confirm whether or not your symptoms are due to vaginal atrophy and whether you are suitable for the treatment.
They will then explain your treatment options and how MonaLisa Touch can help and if laser treatment is right for your personal needs and circumstances.
If it is felt that MonaLisa Touch is the right choice, you may have the first treatment there and then. Unless, of course, the patient wants time to think. The probe is inserted into the vagina after application of local anaesthetic gel. Then it is gradually removed from the vagina.
Each treatment lasts just a few minutes and is painless. You may notice slight discomfort afterwards, but this is usually minimal. During the healing process, it’s recommended that you wait 3 to 4 days before resuming sexual activity.
How many treatments are needed?
To treat vaginal atrophy, three MonaLisa Touch treatments are recommended, spaced four to six weeks apart. Many women notice a significant improvement in symptoms after their first treatment but, for full tissue regeneration, a course of three treatments is needed. An annual maintenance treatment will then provide continuing symptom relief.
The lowdown on MonaLisa Touch
How much? £650 per treatment.
How long? 5-10 minutes for the treatment.
How many treatments per year? We advise three treatments at 4-6 weekly intervals, plus a yearly maintenance treatment.
Recovery time? None.
By Dr Isabelle Granger-Cohet DChD
Dr Isabelle Granger-Cohet DChD, is Co-Founder, Director, and Care Quality Commission Registered Manager at The Medical Chambers Kensington. Promoting private medical care in a safe, calm, and reassuring environment, the team of Consultant Gynaecologists offer a comprehensive approach to Women’s Healthcare, including MonaLisa Touch.
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