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.
"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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at email@example.com.