Estrogen keeps the lining of vaginal walls healthy, lubricated and elastic. A drop in estrogen levels can lead to a thinning of vaginal tissue and dryness sometimes referred to as vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA). This is a common and chronic condition in post-menopausal women as well as other women who, either through surgery or illness have reached a hypoestrogenic state.
Women with vaginal atrophy often experience the following symptoms:
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Burning sensation
- Urinary infections
- Urge incontinence
- Dry skin
- Poor self-esteem
Expert evaluation is needed to rule out vaginal infections that can be caused by cancer or allergies as well as bacteria or viruses. Once vaginal atrophy is confirmed, there are several treatment options to consider.
The long-time standard treatment for VVA has been to try to reverse the condition by adding estrogen through hormone therapy. But, not everyone is a candidate for hormone therapy. Women who can never take estrogen include those who have had estrogen sensitive cancer or are at a high risk for heart attack, stroke or blood clots.
Estrogen can be provided in several ways, including pills, skin patches, creams and gels that are applied to the skin. In the case of vaginal dryness patients may be prescribed Osphena, a pill to be taken orally. Or they may be prescribed creams, such as Estrace and Premarin that need to be applied directly to the vaginal tissue.
For years before laser therapy, vaginal moisturizers such as Replens were the only treatments available for women who can’t take estrogen.
Now, a new, innovative laser therapy is showing results in easing the discomfort of VVA for many women. Dr. Farnam uses the FemiLift fractional C02 laser for treating vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms by stimulating regeneration of vaginal tissue.
FemiLift Vaginal Laser Therapy
Vaginal laser therapy involves a series of three short in-office treatments spaced out over three months. It costs $650 per session for a total of $1,950. The therapy is not currently covered by insurance. The results can last for one year, at least. An annual maintenance treatment is optional.