Once upon a time, you couldn’t wait to get into bed with your partner. Sometimes, you didn’t even need a bed. But lately, things have changed. You feel dryness that makes sex uncomfortable. At first, maybe you just worked a little later or begged off with a headache. But as time passed, you and your partner realized that one of you was avoiding sex.
It’s not a story. It’s a fact of life for too many women. It isn’t work or stress or a change in your relationship. The fact of the matter is, it’s a medical condition called vaginal atrophy.
When your hormonal levels change, it can lead to changes in your vagina, vulva, and labia. The skin thins as the collagen layer beneath begins to break down. Irritation causes the area to become inflamed.
This, in turn, decreases your body’s natural lubrication, making the area dryer. Even talking about having sex with an inflamed, dry, irritated vagina sounds painful. So it’s easy to see why many women suffering from vaginal atrophy avoid sex.
If left untreated, the irritation from vaginal atrophy spreads and can irritate the urethra. What starts as a personal irritation can grow past avoidance of intimacy and go straight into incontinence and bladder infections.
Causes of vaginal atrophy
The primary cause of vaginal atrophy is reduced estrogen levels. All women lose estrogen when they go through menopause, but it isn’t the only cause. Younger women may also experience vaginal atrophy after surgery or hormonal treatments. Some women may even experience vaginal atrophy with the sudden hormonal shifts after childbirth or breastfeeding.
Treatments for vaginal atrophy
There are many different treatments available for vaginal atrophy. There are creams that contain estrogen that work directly in the vaginal to help re-establish the former hormonal levels. Your doctor may also try hormone replacement therapy to counteract the effects of your estrogen loss.
But both of those treatments come with risks. Women who have a history of breast, uterine, or cervical cancer can’t use estrogen therapy for risk of feeding the cancer they have already battled. In addition, women who have a history or family history of blood clots are at risk of further clots with hormone therapy.
Thankfully, there is now a non-pharmaceutical treatment for vaginal atrophy — the MonaLisa Touch®.
How MonaLisa Touch works
MonaLisa Touch is a low-level laser pulse device that helps you conquer vaginal atrophy using your body’s own healing properties. At Atmosphere Med Spa, Dr. Jane Young uses a small vaginal probe that delivers a virtually painless laser to the inner walls of the vagina.
The pulse stimulates the collagen layer under the vaginal wall. After the treatment, the collagen layer heals, becoming firmer. Over the course of a few weeks, the collagen layer grows stronger, offering more support to your vagina.
What to expect
After we welcome you to our office, we escort you to an exam room with a table similar to the one you see during your annual exam. When you are comfortable, Dr. Young inserts the probe into your vagina. You may experience a slight warming or tingling during the procedure, or you may not feel anything at all. The treatment only lasts a few minutes.
After your treatment, Dr. Young may ask you to rest and abstain from sex for a day or two to allow the new cells to grow. A few days later when you resume your normal sexual behavior, you may find that sex is less painful, or even enjoyable again. It usually takes three treatments, spaced six weeks apart, to get you feeling your best.
So to get “va” back into your “va-va-va-voom,” give us a call at Atmosphere Med Spa. There is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy a sex life, regardless of your stage in life. Dr. Young can help you get your sex life back and help you live happily ever after with your partner.