Taboo subject vagina – vaginal dryness in menopause

The female intimate area has become a public issue for quite some time. However, it is primarily about so-called intimate surgery, measures with which the vulva and vagina are primarily to be improved optically. It is easy to forget that beyond menopause, the intimate area often also becomes a health problem – especially with the issue of vaginal dryness.

About one in two women suffer from symptoms of vaginal dryness, medically called vulvo-vaginal atrophy, after menopause. When estrogen production decreases, blood circulation in the vagina also decreases, resulting in dry mucous membranes. As a result, there is pain, itching and problems with sexual intercourse. What can be done?

The symptoms usually set in one to two years after the actual menopause. “This means that many women have to live with the effects of menopause for up to 30 years,” explains Wiesbaden gynecologist Dr. Sheila de Liz, who is very committed to the female body and has just landed a bestseller with her book: “Unashamed – Everything about the fabulous female body.” The doctor: “Since estrogens also influence the pH value of the vaginal fluid, infections also frequently occur. The healthy vaginal environment is acidic, so lactic acid bacteria can protect the vagina from infections. If the pH rises, the risk of infections also increases. Without treatment, the unpleasant symptoms usually persist or even intensify.

Fraxel laser helps sustainably against vaginal dryness

Up to now, locally effective hormone therapy has been the treatment of choice. However, this is only effective as long as it is used regularly and is not an option at all for most cancer patients. “Oral administration of estrogens has little positive effect on vaginal dryness,” explains de Liz.

A laser procedure called MonaLisa Touch provides an innovative treatment option. “I have had the laser since 2016 and have now successfully treated around 1,800 women with it. Because of the great success, our practice has virtually become a specialty practice for this therapy.”

What can the MonaLisa Touch Laser do

And what exactly is behind the procedure? A CO2 laser specially developed for this indication sends energy to the tissue of the vaginal wall and causes a revitalization of the vaginal mucosa, which thereby forms new collagen and is subsequently better supplied with blood.

More specifically, it is a fractionated laser treatment, which is also often referred to as Fraxel laser treatment in everyday language and is perceived by patients as painless. “Unlike ‘normal’ lasers, the skin is injured in microscopic areas, stimulating it to heal itself. Many women feel a significant improvement after just one treatment,” de Liz is pleased to report. As a rule, three treatments are necessary, the treatment takes about five minutes and is painless, as patients report.

Treating menopause symptoms without side effects

Are there any side effects or contraindications? “I would not treat pregnant women for ethical reasons alone, and there are really no side effects except for a slight burning sensation, which also passes after a few hours. You can’t go wrong with the therapy. The only risk is that it may not work as hoped.”

In the U.S., the procedure has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Worldwide, more than 25,000 treatments have now been performed with the new procedure. Gynecologist Dr. de Liz emphasizes not only the health-friendly possibility of now being able to be successfully treated without hormones. “Fortunately, female intimate life does not stop with menopause. Women thus regain a piece of self-determined sexuality.”

Cost per treatment about 400 euros. Private health insurance companies cover these costs in part.

Photo: iStock.com/misszin