People get uncomfortable talking about vaginas. Even women use a variety of euphemisms, from “vag” to “down there,” just to keep from talking about this part of their own body. Good gynecological health is vital to good overall health, and that includes “down there.”
How the vagina changes
Like any other part of your body, your vagina changes and grows as you do. During puberty, hormones affect how the walls of your vagina grow and secrete lubricant. As you mature, sexual activity, vaginal creams, and your monthly hormonal cycle affect how your vagina acts and feels.
Childbirth stretches the entire vaginal canal and may result in tears and scar tissue. Menopause also brings changes as hormonal levels ebb, resulting in dryness and thinning. Health issues also affect the condition of your vagina. Everything from allergies to cancer has the potential to change the pH level and mucosal environment of your vagina.
As women age, their estrogen levels drop. This results in drying and thinning of the vaginal walls, which can lead to a wide range of issues such as itching, dryness, burning, and painful sex. Because the urethra is so close to the vagina, inflammation of one affects the other. If left untreated, it leads to more difficult issues such as frequent urinary tract infections, and even incontinence.
The sad thing is that up to half of all women suffer from these symptoms and never seek help. Some are too embarrassed to talk about the problem, while others simply don’t know that treatment is available.
Vaginal atrophy treatment
Until now, there have been precious few treatments for vaginal atrophy. Surgery to lift the vagina and secure the urethra has always been an option. But this poses significant risks and was typically used for only the most severe cases. Hormones to address the underlying changes are also prescribed. But menopause is a natural process, and hormone therapy will only last so long.
So, most women are left with over-the-counter remedies such as lubricants and itch creams. Unfortunately, these have mixed results and ultimately force the woman to change her behaviors.
New help is available for women through a laser procedure called MonaLisa Touch®, which we proudly offered by board-certified OB/GYN John Macey, MD. This process helps the body revitalize the vaginal walls, giving women more comfort and better overall health.
The MonaLisa Touch laser system includes a computerized station attached to a slender wand. Dr. Macey inserts the wand into your vagina. The wand emits a low-frequency laser in the surrounding tissue, causing slight damage to the collagen layer, the connective tissue layer just below the vaginal lining.
When the collagen layer is only slightly damaged, it stimulates the collagen fibers to reproduce. As the collagen layer heals, it strengthens, offering greater support to the vagina and reducing the symptoms of vaginal atrophy.
Benefits of MonaLisa Touch
Besides the immediate benefits of a stronger, healthier vagina, MonaLisa Touch has made treatment available to a wider range of patients. Since many cancers are hormonally fed, hormonal therapy puts cancer survivors at risk. Women with a family history of blood clots are also barred from many types of hormonal therapy.
MonaLisa Touch uses no hormones, only the body’s natural healing process, opening up long-term vaginal atrophy treatment to these groups.
Healing doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Most doctors recommend three treatments six weeks apart, with a follow-up after three months. But your needs might be different. The only way to find out is to talk to your doctor.
Don’t let embarrassment keep you from health and comfort “down there.” Call or go online to book your visit with Dr. Macey in Nashville today.