As an OB/GYN for over 26 years, I have had the privilege of seeing many patients through some rough patches in their lives. There are always a few patient experiences that stay with you and serve to remind you why you went into this field despite the long hours and daily stressors. I met one such patient about eight years ago at the time of her routine yearly examination. A vibrant 40-something who played tennis and had two young children and a loving husband, she seemed to have it all.
A Breast Cancer Diagnosis
During the exam, I felt a lump in her breast that was quickly biopsied and diagnosed as estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Over the next few years, as her physician, I’d see her annually. I watched as she went through her chemo and radiation, along with her recurrence and subsequent surgeries. She always amazed me with her positive outlook on life, despite all of the curveballs thrown at her.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
About four years after her initial diagnosis, I saw her for her yearly examination, and she seemed out of sorts and fighting back tears. Shortly after beginning chemotherapy and initiating Tamoxifen, her periods had stopped (not atypical), and menopausal symptoms came to roost. She had managed her hot flashes in stride but struggled with vaginal dryness from a declining estrogen milieu. Because of it, intercourse with her husband had become very painful. It was affecting her marriage. They still loved one another, but they’d lost the closeness that intimacy brings. My exam confirmed that her vaginal tissues had become pale, inelastic, and dry-consistent with menopause.
An Alternative Treatment
Because of her breast cancer diagnosis, anything we tried had to be void of estrogen. In short, nothing worked to restore her tissue’s moisture and elasticity, and she continued to suffer, both physically and emotionally. In January 2018, after a year of research and investigation, Physicians For Women decided to purchase a fractionated CO2 laser. It was an alternative to conventional hormone replacement therapy in the treatment of menopausal vaginal atrophy and associated pain with intercourse (dyspareunia).
The FemiLift Laser
The vaginal CO2 laser painlessly resurfaces the vaginal mucosa over the course of three short office appointments, stimulating fibroblasts to make collagen and promoting the development of new vascularity to the tissue. Vaginal tissues become supple, moisturized, and renewed without the need for estrogen therapy and the well-known health risks. I thought of my patient and sent her educational literature to review. After talking more, she decided to proceed with the FemiLift (the name of our CO2 laser). After her first treatment, she was hopeful. She felt better, and intercourse was less painful.
FemiLift Offers Encouraging Results
As I entered the room after her third treatment, she jumped from the exam table to give me a bear hug. Through tears, she thanked me for restoring her marriage and helping her feel like a normal (now 50-something) woman once again. As a gynecologist, there was no better feeling than that moment, and one I’ll never forget. Breast cancer may have changed her body, but at least now, she had found a small way to fight back and feel healthy; feel normal once again. She is not alone. Many breast cancer survivors who cannot or will not use hormones to treat vaginal symptoms have found benefit in the FemiLift.
If you would like information on the FemiLift laser including use, treatment and costs, contact us at the clinic to find out more.