Menopause. If you’re a woman, you can’t avoid it. We usually associate menopause with age – when you get to be around 50, the “change of life” comes over you and many things about your body are never the same. One of the greatest benefits of modern medicine is that women no longer have to dread the after-effects of menopause because we can treat menopausal symptoms and restore vaginal health.
Low Estrogen, Not Age, Is the True Cause of Menopause
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones produced by the ovaries that trigger and regulate reproduction (and, therefore, menstruation). Menopausal symptoms actually begin in your late 30’s, before you ever feel the signs or symptoms, as estrogen production starts to slow down. At some point in your 40s you start to notice the first obvious menopausal symptom, irregular periods. They will stop altogether when your ovaries no longer release eggs.
However, factors other than this natural aging process can bring on menopause by reducing or stopping your body’s estrogen production:
- Surgical removal of the ovaries (but not a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus but leaves the ovaries in place and functioning)
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy that targets the ovaries
- Primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition with known cause that riggers premature menopause in about 1% of women.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause can be a very different experience from one woman to another. For some, it is a major challenge that involves dealing with multiple severe symptoms. Others may experience few, or only mild symptoms. Your own personal menopausal experience will very likely include irregular periods at first, then you might have:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Weight gain due to slowing metabolism
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness
- Vaginal dryness
That last one, vaginal dryness, is actually one of several symptoms that result from post-menopausal vaginal atrophy. While most menopausal symptoms are temporary and eventually fade away, vaginal atrophy does not. Loss of estrogen and the aging process affect the vaginal area in multiple ways. Skin and tissues lose moisture and firmness, and vaginal pH loses acidity. These changes cause some of the most distressing post-menopausal symptoms:
- Vaginal dryness
- Itching or burning
- Painful intercourse
- Slight bleeding during intercourse
- Decreased vaginal sensation that reduces interest in sexual activity
- Urge incontinence (frequent or urgent need to urinate, often with urine leakage
- Stress incontinence (leakage caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, etc.)
- More frequent or chronic urinary tract infections
Temporary Treatments Can Ease Menopausal Symptoms
There are many over-the-counter products from pain relievers to vaginal lubricants that can help relieve menopausal symptoms. Prescription medications can also help with ongoing vaginal symptoms. However, these are hormone-based and may not be appropriate or desirable for you. You should consult your healthcare provider to discuss these options.
Whatever you choose, you will have to keep using the products or taking the medication to get the benefits.
One Treatment Offers Long-Lasting Relief
MonaLisa® Touch is non-invasive, gentle but highly effective laser treatment that works to rejuvenate the vaginal area internally and externally. It stimulates your body to produce new, healthier skin tissue and restore lubrication and proper pH to the vaginal canal. The treatment takes only 5 minutes and is performed in a series of three treatments just a few weeks apart. It doesn’t hurt and there is no downtime. We do recommend annual refresher treatment to maintain maximum results.
Vaginal atrophy isn’t the only lingering symptom of menopause. MonaLisa Touch® cannot help restore your thinning hair or moisturize dry body skin, and it cannot re-plump your breasts. But it can do wonders to improve the symptoms of vaginal atrophy – all of the symptoms. Our patients say MonaLisa Tough® is simply “amazing.”