By the Doctor Valeria Romano
Many women suffer from symptoms such as irritation, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, urinary incontinence or vaginal slackening. These issues are often taboo. Today, various mini-invasive procedures have been developed to treat these problems.
As we age, three types of issues affect the female population:
- Urinary incontinence, characterised by urine leakage to varying degrees during exertion.
- Vaginal slackening, characterised by less contact during intercourse. The vaginal structure changes as its tissues age and due to the hormonal changes of the menopause. Natural childbirth aggravates this issue.
- Vaginal dryness, characterised by a burning and itching sensation, a lack of lubrication, a loss of elasticity and muscle tone in the vagina, and painful intercourse. These symptoms are a consequence of vaginal atrophy caused by diminishing oestrogen production. The resulting thinning of the mucus membrane on the vaginal walls makes them more fragile, irritable and sensitive to any localised damage or bruising. For many years, medicine and surgery were the only treatments available to treat genital discomfort in women. Nowadays, there is a minimally-invasive treatment, carried out using a laser, that uses the positive effects of light to stimulate and regenerate the vagina’s mucous membrane.
The procedure is carried out using an Erbium Yag laser. The doctor inserts a laser speculum and treats the area by activating the laser beam. They turn the handpiece 360° inside the vagina. The handpiece is then pulled out by 1cm and the adjacent area is treated in the same way. The whole procedure takes less than 15 minutes, is pain-free and requires no incisions or surgical interventions.
The side-effects are mild. The treatment can sometimes cause light bleeding for 24 to 48 hours. Increased vaginal discharge can sometimes occur and a feeling of swelling and heat may be experienced for 1 to 3 days.
The number of sessions required varies. Often 3 sessions are carried out, a month apart, then one top-up session per year. The results are assessed 4 to 8 weeks after each session, but they can continue to improve for up to 6 months afterwards. I am very happy with this treatment, though it should only be carried out on carefully-selected patients. If the slackening is too great or the incontinence too severe, then the patient is not suitable for this treatment as it would not yield satisfactory results.
I have noticed rapid improvements, 4 to 6 weeks after the first session, on vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence. These first results improve the patient’s quality of life (both physically and psychologically). After 6 months, the feedback has been 100% positive.
Histological studies have also shown an improvement to the vagina’s mucous membrane, which backs up the clinical results. For vaginal slackening, the results are slower to appear. 50% of patients say they have noticed a difference a month after their first session. But they only claim to be completely satisfied with the results after 6 months.
Doctor Valeria Romano
Former Paris Hospitals resident doctor. Degrees in anti-aging and morphological medicine, medical lasers, surgical dermatology, mesotherapy, the treatment of hair loss, and the evaluation of injection and filler techniques in dermatology and plastic surgery. Member of the French Aesthetic Medicine Society (SFME), the Francophone Society for Medical Lasers (SFLM), the Advanced Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Medicine and Surgery (SAMCEP), the French Mesotherapy Society (SFM), the European LED Academy, and the World Society of Interdisciplinary Anti-Aging Medicine.