CO2 Fractional Laser Treatment for Vaginal Atrophy

We are pleased to offer a new treatment for the painful condition vaginal atrophy and localised vulval pain. WHRIA is the first clinic to offer this service in Sydney. CO2 Fractional Laser is a non-invasive and non hormonal treatment of vaginal thinning (atrophy) and localised vulval pain. It is also called the Mona Lisa or fractionated laser.

 

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What causes vaginal thinning?

Vaginal thinning is caused by an under-supply of oestrogen, and results in reduced hydration and thickness of the protective mucosa (vaginal skin). This leads to a loss of natural lubrication, and changes in the natural pH balance of the area.

In younger women, vaginal thinning can be associated with eating disorders, low body weight, post-cancer treatment, early menopause or high level athletic training. As you get older, vaginal thinning is a normal ageing process after menopause but can be worse in some women who may also have had treatment for cancer. It requires an appropriate daily skin care regime.

Sometimes, prolonged use of the Pill, injected or rod-type hormonal contraceptives may also lead to an under supply of oestrogen.

What are the symptoms of vaginal thinning?
This can cause symptoms such as:

  • Vaginal itching and burning
  • Dryness and loss of lubrication
  • Incontinence and urinary urgency
  • Prolapse and laxity
  • Vaginal and vulval pain
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Symptoms can worsen in up to 50% of women after menopause. Some women may also be taking medication, for other health conditions, which cause more severe vaginal atrophy symptoms. Vaginal symptoms can have a negative effect on your general well-being, body image and self-esteem, your quality of life, and in many cases place stress on intimate relationships.

How does fractional CO2 laser work?
For many years fractional CO2 laser treatment has been effective in dermatology, showing significant regeneration of tissues including new collagen and elastic fibre production and neovascularization (regenerated blood flow). Using specific treatment protocols to target the mucosa and epithelium of the vagina, the fractional laser activates stem cell production in the mesenchymal layer to promote epithelial maturation. The tissue can be regenerated and restored to a pre menopausal state.

What other treatments are available for vaginal atrophy?
Until recently the best treatment for vaginal atrophy required an ongoing application of oestrogen creams directly into the vagina. Many women, such as women with breast cancer, are not able to use these hormone replacement products. Other women may be uncomfortable with the use of hormone replacement therapy or are irregular with their application.

What is the advantage of laser treatment?
CO2 fractional laser is an effective treatment to stimulate the natural regeneration of the vaginal tissue. It is a simple procedure with minimal discomfort, suitable for almost all women, and has virtually no down time from normal activities.

How many treatments will I need?

Many women experience an improvement after 1 treatment. However, a course of 3 monthly treatments is recommended.  As time passes, top-up treatments may be useful at approximately 6-12 monthly intervals.
 
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