Health | Video

What is Vaginal Atrophy and can it be reversed?

Jul 26, 2018 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Many Australian women are suffering in silence from conditions known as Vulvar Vaginal Atrophy and Genitourinary Syndrome.

Often caused by hormonal changes associated with menopause, the condition may also occur in women who experience decreased oestrogen production after cancer treatment, surgical removal of ovaries, forced menopause or breastfeeding.

Vulvar Vaginal Atrophy and Genitourinary Syndrome will typically accompany symptoms like dryness, irritability, burning sensation, laxity, itching, and painful sexual intercourse. For women who are living with the condition, it can be difficult or impossible to have a satisfying sex life.

Niamh O’Brien is one such woman who suffered vaginal atrophy after cancer treatment.

“I underwent surgery and chemotherapy for Breast Cancer. Little information was given to me about the impact my treatment would have on my life after recovery. Sex became incredibly painful, which was quite shocking being a young woman,” she said.

In an exciting breakthrough, though, the MonaLisa Touch is the latest advancement in non-invasive, non-hormonal treatment for vaginal atrophy.

Dr Fariba Behnia-Willison, a gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon from Gynaecology Plus was one of the pioneers to provide this service.

“The MonaLisa Touch counteracts vaginal atrophy with a small laser that promotes blood flow to the region and encourages cells to promote more collagen, restoring the vaginal mucosa and rehydrating the vaginal walls. This results in more lubrication, tightness and elasticity in the vagina,” Dr Behnia-Willison said.

Despite it being called a laser, this procedure is not cosmetic. Vaginal atrophy is a medical condition recognised by gynaecologists that can affect many women’s quality of life and should be considered an alternative to oestrogen cream, which is not an option for some patients.

Before MonaLisa Touch, Niamh O’Brien was told treatment was limited or non-existent, but then she found the team at Gynaecology Plus, which is located opposite Ashford Hospital.

“When speaking to my specialist and GP, I was told there was no treatments available for my condition apart from lubrication. I refused to accept this and went online to research and that’s where I came across Dr Fariba Behnia-Willison and the MonaLisa Touch,” she said.

The treatment is similar to having a pap smear, both in the time it takes and the associated discomfort levels. Initially, three treatments a month apart are required, but the benefits are long lasting.

“I will have to manage my condition ongoing, but after having the treatment my pain and symptoms are significantly reduced,” Niamh said.

Dr Behnia-Willison said: “Current clinical assessments are very encouraging in terms of the MonaLisa Touch treating everything from minor urinary incontinence, laxity, and pain during intimacy, to dryness and soreness.”

With a commitment to women’s health and putting female wellbeing at the forefront of what they do, Gynaecology Plus will listen and address your concerns.

Get in touch with the clinic today and speak to the team who put women first.

“Just like men who suffer sexual dysfunction, women should be able to take steps to improve their sex lives. I feel like I have control back,” Niamh said.

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