The onset of menopause is associated with lower estrogenic state which can result in vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms including vaginal dryness, discharge, itching, and pain during sexual activity. The progressive decline of vaginal estrogen also causes atrophy of urethral and bladder mucosa. This results in urinary urgency and frequency (overactive bladder symptoms) experienced by women as they approach menopause. “Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause” refers to vaginal and urinary symptoms experienced by women when estrogen levels fall.
Vaginal estrogen use has been found to be helpful in this situation.But some women do not experience complete relief of symptoms with estrogen and others may have side effects from it.Women are also often hesitant to use hormones and daily application may be inconvenient.They try vaginal moisturizers which help to some degree, though not completely. Lots of thesewomen continue to suffer which impacts their personal and sexual life significantly.
Recently, the use of fractional CO2 laser has been extended to women's health. The laser helps create microscopic changes in the vaginal epithelium which stimulate collagen synthesis and remodeling of connective tissue. Studies show that this technology significantly helps with vaginal dryness, discomfort, and pain during sexual activity experienced by women as they approach menopause. There is emerging literature that laser also helps with symptoms of urinary urgency and frequency. The laser treatment involves 3 sessions which are done 6 weeks apart. These sessions are painless and take about 5 minutes. The maintenance treatment involves one laser session every year to promote continuing collagen synthesis and tissue remodeling.
With progressive aging, women may suffer from these symptoms for over one-third of their lives. One billion menopausal women are likely to be affected by vulvovaginal atrophy worldwide by 2025. The need for effective remedies is acute. Vaginal laser technology is a promising step in this direction.