YOUR HEALTH: A laser that improves sex for women

GAITHERSBURG, Maryland – The use of a laser procedure is making a big difference for women who find it painful to have sex.

The Monalisa Touch procedure is pain-free, requires no anesthesia, and is changing lives.

"Every single patient that I have done has had a dramatically significant change in their symptoms," says Dr. Tobie Beckerman, an OB/GYN and founder of the Maryland-based Beckerman's Women's Health.

"I just walk around smiling."

The Monalisa Touch is a laser beam that creates a small thermal injury, triggering cell repairs.

"You basically are taking very thin vaginal tissues and rejuvenating them to their status to where they were pre-menopausal," says Dr. Beckerman.

And it's been a great alternative for some of the 30,000 women who have tried it.

"Some of the symptoms that I had, dryness and even the burning, itching, all of those are systematic of the fact that you have the atrophy and if just a portion of that can be alleviated, I'm good," says Karmalita Contee.

She's also cautious and first attended a doctor-organized get-together to talk it out.

"It makes it fun," says Dr. Beckerman.   "When you have a wine and cheese, you`re gonna have a little coffee, you`re inviting people to the office and they come with their friends.  We make it fun.  We say we`re gonna talk about vaginas.  It relaxes the whole issue."

Some women just can`t tolerate hormone replacement therapy, like Brandi, just 38 when breast cancer after-effects caused early menopause.

Insurance doesn`t cover Monalisa, although the laser is F-D-A approved.

For Karmalita, the cost she paid is worth it.

"There are more years behind me than there are in front of me and i want to make sure the years in front of me are really exciting," she says.

The Monalisa procedure costs, on average, $2400.  It takes three sessions and a "booster" session every 18 months.

SYMPTOMS & TREATMENTS:  Patients who suffer from vaginal atrophy can experience:

  • Vaginal dryness, burning and discharge
  • Genital itching
  • Burning and urgency with urination
  • Discomfort with intercourse
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity, and
  • Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal

Most of the time, doctors may recommend a treatment of estrogen. They will most likely start by recommending a vaginal moisturizer or a water-based lubricant. If they don’t work, doctors follow up by recommending a hormone therapy, which consists of tablets or creams that contain estrogen.

(Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-atrophy/symptoms-causes/dxc-20200169)

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.