What is vulvo-vaginal dryness and atrophy?

It is atrophy of the vagina caused by a decrease in estrogen levels. By having less estrogen the vaginal mucosa is thinner, drier (less lubricated), less elastic and more fragile.

These symptoms are known as vulvo-vaginal atrophy, vulvo-vaginitis atrophy, atrophic vaginitis, and genitourinary menopause syndrome.

sequedad_vaginal_y_atrofia_menopausica

When does dryness and vulvo-vaginal atrophy occur?

Dryness and vulvo-vaginal atrophy is associated with decreased estrogen production: menopause induced by surgery (hysterectomy), drug-induced (chemotherapy or radiotherapy) and menopause that occurs due to natural causes of age.

At menopause, the levels of hormones produced by the ovaries decrease, which causes the sexual organs to be affected in their morphology and function.

This is observed:

  1. Reduction of blood flow and vaginal secretions (vaginal dryness).
  2. Changes in the vaginal mucosal epithelium.
  3. Decreased lactobacilli of the vagina and increased vaginal pH.

With all these changes patients have dryness of the genital mucous membranes (vulva and vagina), itching, stinging sensation and dyspareunia (pain in sexual intercourse).

In addition, in patients undergoing radiation therapy in the genital area, dryness of the intimate area can also be observed.

These symptoms of dryness, itching, stinging, atrophy of the vulva and vagina can affect the functional, sexual and aesthetic life of the intimate area of ​​the woman.

Genital laser and / or radiofrequency treatments can help improve these symptoms.

1 – Vaginal mucosa in fertile age
2 – Vaginal mucosa in menopause (atrophy: thinner mucosa)

What are the symptoms of vulvo-vaginal atrophy, vulvo-vaginitis atrophy, atrophic vaginitis and genitourinary menopause syndrome? Can these symptoms be treated with genital laser and radiofrequency?

Women have the followind symptoms:

  • Reduction in lubrication.
  • Vaginal dryness or lack of lubrication.
  • Inflammation or irritation of the vulvo-vaginal region.
  • Pruritus vulvar (itching).
  • Thinning of the walls of the vagina.
  • Shortening and narrowing of the vaginal canal.
  • Dyspareunia (pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse).
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
  • Frequency, urgency and urinary incontinence.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.

How do genital laser and / or radiofrequency work in the treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy?

The treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy is performed with a fractionated CO2 laser or with specific monopolar radiofrequency. The specialist chooses between these two technologies (laser and radiofrequency) the most appropriate to treat the dryness and menopausal atrophy of the patient.

Thus, for the treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy, the laser or radiofrequency is used according to the case.

Genital CO2 laser

  • Fractional CO2 genital laser: it is a laser that has a specific vaginal hand piece and a program with some parameters indicated for dryness and menopausal atrophy. The gynecological hand piece has a scanner inside the vaginal canal allowing the laser to act directly on the vaginal and / or urethral mucosa.
  • Monopolar genital radiofrequency with a thin probe that is inserted into the vagina and also externally in the labia majora and minora and heated in a controlled way above 40ºC and this heat is maintained for 15-20 minutes.

Monopolar genital radiofrequency probe

Pieza de mano externa del láser CO2 para tratar la sequedad y atrofia menopáusica

External hand piece of CO2 laser to treat dryness and menopausal atrophy

With both technologies there is a contraction of the vaginal mucosa and / or the immediate urethra. Thanks to its biostimulation effect on the mucosa and the subepithelial chorion generates new collagen with a wall of the vagina and the more contracted urethra. Additionally, the mucosa has more layers of cells and with more glycogen in its interior, that is, a mucosa healthier and renewed.

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What is the protocol for the treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy with laser and / or radiofrequency?

The treatment with fractional CO2 laser or with monopolar radiofrequency specific for dryness and menopausal atrophy is performed without anesthesia and without home postoperative care. Two-three sessions of fractional CO2 laser or monopolar radiofrequency are performed, spaced 1 month, lasting approximately 20 minutes. Depending on the patient’s need, 1 maintenance session per year can be considered.

 

What is needed before the treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy with laser and / or radiofrequency?

Before undergoing treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy with fractional CO2 laser or with monopolar radiofrequency, a physical gynecological examination is recommended to assess the type and degree of dryness and menopausal atrophy and a cervico-vaginal cytology.

 

What is needed after the treatment of dryness and menopausal atrophy with laser and / or radiofrequency?

  • The doctor should evaluate the treated area that may have a mild redness that is normal.
  • An aqueous lubricant can be applied.
  • Keep the area clean and wash it with warm water and a soft gel.- It is recommended to abstain from sexual intercourse for 7 days in the case of laser treatment but it is not necessary in the radiofrequency treatment.
  • It is recommended not to use tampons for 7 days.
  • It is recommended a follow-up appointment at 7 days in some cases.