We all get the most out of life when we feel our best. Unfortunately, for women, vaginal discomfort can all too often get in the way. There are many reasons you can suffer from vaginal irritation or pain. These symptoms can affect the vaginal canal or external vulvar tissues or both. When you know what is causing your symptoms, you can take steps to alleviate them or, in some cases, eliminate the problem.

“Discomfort” can present itself in multiple ways. So, depending on the cause and your own body, you might feel:

  • Burning
  • Irritated or raw
  • Itching
  • Achy
  • Sharp pain

You might feel symptoms constantly or just at certain times.

The Cause May be Medical or Physical

Actions such as wearing tight-fitting pants, sitting too long, riding a bike or a horse, and engaging in sexual intercourse can all lead to vaginal discomfort. So can yeast (fungal), bacterial or viral infections, which can closely mimic symptoms such as itching or burning. And so can using potentially irritating products as perfumed soaps or lotions, douching, and feminine hygiene products.

Although young women can experience vaginal discomfort, women in their 50s or older are most prone to problems, due to hormonal changes brought about by menopause. According to the Cleveland Clinic, at least half of menopausal and post-menopausal women suffer at least some signs and symptoms of vaginal atrophy, now more accurately called genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or GSM.

“Genitourinary” refers to the fact that post-menopausal symptoms often affect both the vaginal area and the urinary tract. “Syndrome” refers to the fact that GSM produces a series of common symptoms including vaginal dryness,

GSM is caused by low estrogen. In younger women, this hormone helps:

  • Keep skin in the vaginal area healthy and hydrated
  • Produce cleansing lubrication within the vaginal canal
  • Maintain a slightly acidic environment that reduces risk of infections

Menopause significantly reduces estrogen production in most women, so its benefits are no longer available. Younger women can also suffer from low estrogen, due to:

  • Childbirth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Certain immune disorders
  • Certain medications
  • Some types of cancer treatment
  • Surgical removal of the ovaries

Depends on the Right Diagnosis

Because symptoms tend to be similar whatever the cause of your vaginal discomfort, it’s important to clarify the cause so you can choose the right treatment. Then, you can try:

  • Vaginal moisturizers or lubricants
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Prescription medications
  • Estrogen replacement therapy

Many women don’t want hormone therapy due to potentially serious side-effects. Vaginal-specific estrogen creams or pills are safer but are also quite costly. And all of these treatment options have to be repeated to continue working. Since menopause is the major cause of vaginal discomfort, due to estrogen loss, women are especially eager to find an effective, long-term treatment. We understand!

We Believe in MonaLisa Touch®, and You Will, Too

Dr. Elise Brown and Dr. Scott Brown have dedicated their professional careers to improving women’s health. Both have advanced training in addition to their medical specialty — Dr. Elise Brown is an OB-GYN and Dr. Scott Brown is a urologist. They are knowledgeable and, even better, both are easy to talk to. That’s so important! Too many women hesitate to get help for vaginal discomfort because it’s such a personal issue.

But vaginal health is crucial to every woman’s overall well-being and self-confidence. That’s why we offer MonaLisa Touch® laser treatment to address post-menopausal vaginal symptoms. This non-invasive treatment is safe, it takes just five minutes, and it is surprisingly effective (our patients say “amazing”). You can gain relief from vaginal dryness and painful intercourse and reduce risk of urinary tract infections and frequent urination.

Also, unlike the symptoms you’re enduring now, MonaLisa Touch® treatment is virtually painless. It takes three treatments about a month apart to achieve maximum results, but most patients tell us they start to feel better after the first session. Isn’t it time to schedule your first treatment?

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