With the natural hormonal decline associated with aging, women, starting in their 40s, begin to notice symptoms like vaginal dryness and irritation. Vaginal tissues, like our skin, lose collagen and elastin with age and small blood vessels supplying nutrients and oxygen become smaller and less functional. This translates into vaginal tissues that are thin, dry and inelastic and as a result make intercourse painful. The pH of the vagina changes as well resulting in an increase in yeast and bacterial vaginal infections and UTIs.
Treatment options for dyspareunia (painful intercourse) until recently were limited to topical estrogen creams, intravaginal estrogen tablets/inserts or a silastic estrogen ring placed within the vagina. These therapies are helpful but once discontinued, the tissues quickly return to their original condition and the atrophic changes progress. Not only is hormonal therapy expensive ($300/ month for a tube of estrogen cream), but messy and with well-known cardiovascular risks, e.g. blood clots, heart attack and stroke. The therapy also interferes with intimacy and spontaneity. In 2013, Osphena, a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator), became available as the first oral therapy specifically targeted to treat dyspareunia associated with vaginal atrophy. Unfortunately, it is equally expensive, warrants daily dosing and it carries all the risks associated with estrogen, including uterine cancer.
In January 2018, after a full year of research and investigation, Physicians for Women invested in Madison’s first and only fractionated CO2 laser system for the treatment of vaginal and vulvar atrophy and associated dyspareunia called the FemiLift. The treatment is painless, done in the office and using the laser’s ability to stimulate collagen production and revascularize tissue, atrophic vaginal and vulvar tissues are restored after three treatments and without using hormone therapy. The breakthrough treatment has been well-received by many women who thought painful sex was simply something to accept or struggle with hormone therapy lifelong; truly bringing sexy back to a woman’s life and her relationship.
For more information on the FemiLift procedure click here.