Vaginal Atrophy Treatment
There are several treatments for women suffering from vaginal atrophy, which typically causes vaginal dryness, itching and redness, as well as discomfort during intercourse.
Vaginal atrophy is a common condition that generally affects women following menopause. The symptoms and signs of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) result from lower levels or absence of (vaginal) estrogen. These changes can include: the loss of sensation on your labia, decreased lubrication leading up to sex and other vaginal symptoms, including changes to the vagina, urethra, and bladder.
If vaginal atrophy is seriously affecting your everyday life, you can seek medical advice from your GP or gynaecologist, who can make a proper diagnosis after a quick and simple examination of the vaginal area and provide the recommended UK vaginal atrophy treatment. Once diagnosed with atrophic vaginitis, the healthcare professional can help you decide on the best treatment option based on severity, age and other lifestyle factors.
How do we treat vaginal atrophy?
At London Women’s Centre, we will usually begin to treat vaginal atrophy with topical treatments such as vaginal lubricants and estrogen vaginal preparations. However, for those unable to use estrogen, non-estrogen topical hormonal treatments may be prescribed.
If these treatments are not satisfactory, a CO2 laser treatment may be recommended, which can redevelop the vaginal tissue, increase collagen production and bring the vagina back to its normal functioning.
Previously, women needed to take medication consistently to address this issue, but with our MLT laser treatment, they can receive substantial relief without any medication or topical treatments. We have already aided hundreds of women to gain their previous quality of life with the Mona Lisa Touch laser treatment. It usually requires three sessions in the first year and one treatment yearly. The number and frequency of sessions will depend on the severity of vaginal dryness and your medical history.
Self-medication for Labial atrophy treatment
If symptoms of vaginal atrophy are less severe, your GP may recommend over-the-counter self-medication options. Your doctor may suggest trying a vaginal moisturiser or vaginal lubricants to help restore some of the lost moisture. This may be applied several times daily and temporarily help relieve symptoms of discomfort.
A water-based lubricant can also be used to help reduce the discomfort a woman may be experiencing whilst having sexual intercourse. It is recommended that products containing glycerine be avoided, as this chemical may add to any burning and irritation and increase the likelihood of vaginal infections. Additionally, petroleum jelly should be avoided while using latex condoms for sex since this can break down the material, thus rendering it useless.
Where menopausal symptoms cause vaginal atrophy, your GP may prescribe you vaginal oestrogen, which helps by increasing the oestrogen levels, especially in postmenopausal women. Vaginal estrogen can be distributed in several ways, including oral estrogen placed inside the vaginal wallers (pessaries), vaginal estrogen rings or vaginal estrogen cream.
This treatment for vaginal dryness is often much more effective for postmenopausal women experiencing the genitourinary syndromes of menopause. However, it may take several weeks before you notice a difference after vaginal estrogen treatment, so it is recommended that a woman also use self-medicating options such as moisturiser or lubrication.
All treatments work as well as each other, so it is essential to find the one that is best for you. To find out what works best for your vaginal discomfort, book a consultation with your GP or gynaecologist.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT or systemic estrogen therapy involves taking medication to replace the hormones which have been lost during menopause. HRT can be prescribed by your GP and can be taken in several forms including tablets, gels, patches or implants. This type of estrogen therapy supplies oestrogen to the entire body.
HRT will have a stronger effect on the body than vaginal oestrogen, so it is recommended if you have some other symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flushes. However, it is important to note that HRT has several risk factors and side effects, like vaginal or urinary symptoms, which may deter many women from going ahead with this type of treatment for their vaginal atrophy.
MonaLisa Touch® Laser Therapy
A new type of treatment is now available for those suffering from the discomforts caused by vaginal atrophy. MonaLisa Touch® is a fractional CO2 laser, an innovative vaginal atrophy treatment which is minimally invasive and pain-free.
The treatment acts to reshape and regenerate the atrophic vaginal tissue, which in turn helps to stimulate the production of collagen lost during menopause, therefore helping to restore the normal functionality of the vagina. Many women have reported significant reductions in dryness, burning sensations, urinary problems (recurent and chronic UTIs) and pain during sex, following laser therapy.
Moreover, this new form of UK vaginal dryness treatment is quick and painless, with very few risks or side effects that may occur through traditional treatment options such as HRT after initial vaginal atrophy diagnosis.
For vaginal atrophy, it is recommended that three treatments take place, typically 4-6 weeks apart, followed by treatments on a yearly basis if symptoms still exist. However, treatment frequency should be tailored to individual needs and this can be recommended by your GP or gynaecologist based on cause and severity of the vaginal atrophy.
Is Fractional CO2 laser safe?
The CO2 laser is the result of cutting-edge medical technology and is the subject of many studies in prestigious medical journals. In the last few years, there have been thousands of successful treatments performed with minimal side effects and an incredibly high success rate.
How can London Women’s Centre help me find the right treatment plan for me?
The CO2 laser is not offered as a treatment through the NHS, which has left a number of women struggling to find a suitable solution to effectively alleviate their symptoms. At London Women’s Centre, we take a holistic approach to your treatment, taking into account your medical history to ensure that the treatment plan we devise is tailored to you and your specific symptoms.
Mr. Athanasias is one of the first UK-based practitioners to offer the CO2 laser treatment to treat the symptoms of vaginal atrophy, a life-changing treatment that has enabled numerous women to successfully reclaim control of their lives.