The Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause and CO2 Laser—the latest research!
We’ve just passed our 3rd anniversary of having the revolutionary MonaLisa Touch CO2 laser in our office.
The Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) is a term recently developed by experts in gynecologic health and sexual function to describe the symptoms specific to the vulva, vagina and bladder that result from menopause and some cancer treatments that result in low estrogen levels. Unlike the well-known hot flashes and night sweats of menopause, that usually resolve with time, GSM is a condition that is chronic and without intervention likely to worsen over time.
Over 90% of postmenopausal women have changes from low estrogen on clinical exam. Roughly 35-65% will report symptoms. That translates to over 17 million women in the US who experience symptoms of GSM. A number that will only increase as our population ages. Women with symptoms also confirm negative impacts on quality of life, sexual satisfaction and often strain on personal relationships.
Despite its prevalence and impact on women’s lives, GSM is an under-treated problem. There are options as simple as over the counter vaginal moisturizers to hormone treatments and CO2 laser. However, without the issue coming up, a thorough review of treatment options can’t happen.
Symptoms of GSM include:
· Vaginal dryness and burning
· Vaginal irritation and itching
· Vaginal discharge
· Pain with sex
· Bleeding after sex
· Decreased lubrication
· Pain with urination
· Frequent or urgent need to urinate
· Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)
· Urinary incontinence
Three years we wrote an in depth review of the treatment options for GSM. You can read it here. After the release of Intrarosa, we added an update last year and also put out a detailed comparative chart to help patient’s navigate and compare options to feel better.
The most innovative of all these options is the MonaLisa Touch CO2 laser. Approved by the FDA in 2014, it has been used for 10 years internationally. Over 30,000 women have been treated with great results. Each year, the number of studies publishing the safety and success of the MonaLisa Touch increases.
How it works:
The CO2 laser gently acts on the vaginal walls through a special scanner, creating indistinguishable micro-lesions that are required for triggering a neocollagenesis process (production of new collagen) and reorganizing and re-equilibrating the components of the vaginal mucosa.
The laser’s action reactivates and reestablishes the proper function of the vagina and vulva while also improving the symptoms associated with urinary dysfunction.
A tissue regeneration process lasting numerous weeks is triggered, but stimulation occurs immediately, and improvements can be seen even after the first treatment.
Dramatic improvement in the most common symptoms from GSM is seen after the first three treatments by the majority of women:
· 84% report less burning
· 85% report less itching
· 76% report less dryness
· 72% report less pain with sex
Here’s a summary of what we know from the studies:
· GSM negatively impacts women’s lives
· The MonaLisa Touch is SAFE
· The MonaLisa Touch treatment results in more hydrates vaginal and vulvar tissue, similar to pre-menopausal tissue
· The MonaLisa Touch treatment results in significant improvement of GSM symptoms that lasts for up to 12 months
· The success and safety of the MonaLisa Touch treatment also applies to cancer survivors