Many women experience vaginal atrophy, a consequence of lack of the estrogen hormone. Symptoms include vaginal dryness, vaginal burning, and painful intercourse. In treating vaginal atrophy, hormone replacement therapy may not be the best choice, or even an option, for many patients.
At Naperville Women’s Healthcare, we offer the most advanced technology in the treatment of vaginal atrophy, MonaLisa Touch.
MonaLisa Touch is a medical laser that delivers controlled energy to the vaginal tissue to restore the cells in the vaginal mucosa. Restored cells produce more collagen, an essential ingredient in vaginal cell health.
MonaLisa Touch implements CO2 laser energy which is delivered through the sides of a probe that is inserted into the vaginal canal. The two-part pulse targets the vagina’s surface and deep tissues, the epithelial and lamina propria tissue, to promote vaginal restoration.
MonaLisa Touch provides two types of treatment, internal and external, with treatment times ranging from five to ten minutes. The procedure requires three treatments that are spaced over a twelve-week period.
The internal procedure is virtually painless and requires no anesthesia. With the external procedure, an anesthetic cream is applied to the vulva to ease any discomfort.
Most patients feel improvement after the first treatment and there is minimal recovery time. Intercourse can resume three days after an internal treatment and seven days after an external treatment.
MonaLisa Touch is FDA approved and is an in-office procedure. Treatments are provided safely in the comfort of our office.
At Naperville Women’s Healthcare, we are experienced in the physical and emotional implications of patients with vaginal atrophy and we are committed to vaginal restoration.
MonaLisa Touch Laser
How to Make Sex Better After Menopause
Going through menopause is a major life moment: On top of the uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats, things might start to feel a bit out of sync in the bedroom, too.
But it's not always going to be this huge cloud of doom and gloom hovering over your sex life. Here, both research and real women reveal four ways your sex life might take a hit post-menopause – and what you can do about it.
First, what exactly happens to your body after menopause?
Your body will go through many changes during and after menopause, thanks to your tanking estrogen levels. In addition to saying goodbye to your period, the most common symptoms include:
- • Hot flashes, followed by heavy sweating or cold shivering
- • Vaginal or bladder infections
- • Lack of bladder control, like getting a sudden urge to urinate or trouble holding it
- • Night sweats or trouble sleeping
- • Mood changes
- • Potential weight gain
- • Achy joints and muscles
On top of that, those low estrogen levels will no doubt impact your vagina, leading to issues like a lower libido and vaginal dryness, explains Lauren Streicher, MD, an ob-gyn at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever. (Here's everything you need to know about how your vagina changes during menopause.)
Up to half of all women report sexual problems during and after menopause, according to The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Here is how you can expect things to change in bed.
The problem: You can't get aroused
The fix: Amp up the lubrication.
If you find that things have gotten a bit dry down there, don't fret. Your first step is to bring in some reinforcements, and that's where lube comes in. It might take some experimentation to find the right one, but OTC silicone-based lubricants (like this one from Astroglide, or this one from Wet Platinum) work by reducing friction associated with thin, dry tissue, says Dr. Streicher.
If that's not doing enough for you, add a vaginal moisturizer like Replens, which is absorbed into your skin and sticks to your vaginal lining (unlike lubricants, you use this every day, not just before sex). You can also try a warming gel like Zestra, which is not a lubricant per se, but increases sensation when you apply it to your clitoris.
Pro tip: Stick to water- or silicone-based lubes: Oil-based ones like petroleum jelly and mineral oil can actually increase risk of vaginal irritation and infection, warns Dr. Streicher. And if you're trying Zestra, be cautious: “I definitely felt more aroused using it, but I had burning and stinging for a couple days afterward,” says Natalie, 53, from Fairfield, CT.
The problem: You're having trouble reaching orgasm
The fix: Try a new sex toy.
Orgasms become less frequent after you go through menopause, the NAMS notes, and even if you do reach your O, it can feel less intense. “Once I started to go through menopause, I experienced a lot of pain with sex and a noticed a big change in both my sex drive and my orgasms,” says Beth, 54, from San Francisco.
Hormone therapy helped with the former, but didn't boost the latter at all. “I didn't want to try any other medications, like off-label testosterone, so I was really looking for a drug-free option,” she explains.
Then she came across Fiera, a device that uses suction to stimulate your clitoris (it's hands-free, so you just insert and go on to enjoy your foreplay). “Fiera really helped because it sort of preps me and allows me to ‘get ready’ for having sex with my husband. It also seems to allow me to have more intense orgasms,” she says.
Pro tip: Make sure you clean it after each use with mild soap and warm water and dry it thoroughly with a cloth, otherwise it can harbor bacteria that can lead to an infection.
The problem: Sex is too painful
The fix: Consider laser therapy.
If you consistently feel pain during sex and have ruled out other medical conditions (like chronic stress, IBS, or even infections) and using plenty of lube hasn’t helped, there are other treatments you can consider.
A laser to your vagina may sound like pure torture, but several have gotten FDA-cleared, and some postmenopausal women swear it has saved their sex lives. “Lasers work by stimulating collagen production inside your vagina, which helps to build up tissue again and make it moist,” says Dr. Streicher.