The Data Behind MonaLisa Vaginal Laser Therapy
We have posted a couple of blogs both from the physician’s perspective and the patient’s perspective regarding MonaLisa Vaginal laser therapy for genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). GSM is a fancy term used to describe symptoms that roughly half of all menopausal women experience with vaginal atrophy secondary to decreased estrogen levels, namely dryness, burning and irritation of the vaginal tissues, decreased lubrication and discomfort during sex and urinary urgency, painful urination or recurrent urinary tract infections.
Now that you have heard us rave about the benefits of the MonaLisa Laser for treating GSM, we thought you might like to know the facts. What have researchers found? Does it work? How long does it last? Are there any long-term harmful effects from the laser?
Behnia-Willison et al. looked at the long-term safety and efficacy of the MonaLisa in a study recently published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. The study included 102 women in their study, and 84% experienced significant relief from symptoms of GSM with the laser therapy. The researchers evaluated symptoms related to sexual function, pain with intercourse and how bothered the women were by their sexual issues. Improvement in all of these measures was seen up to through the long-term follow-up of 24 months. Bladder function, prolapse, urge incontinence, and vaginal sensation and lubrication were also significantly improved.
A study published in 2015 found similar findings with significant improvement in symptoms of vaginal atrophy. In this study, of the 77 women studied, 20 of those women were not sexually active before treatment due to their symptoms. 17 out of 20 of those women were able to resume sexual activity after 12 weeks (three treatments). We have had similar results in our practice as well.
To take a woman who is unable to have sex because of the severity of her symptoms and then, after three five-minute treatments and twelve weeks to return to normal sexual function is incredible! Furthermore, no adverse events occurred in any of the study subjects from either study. In our experience, we have also seen no significant adverse outcomes aside from the expected tenderness, and burning women feel for a couple of hours after the procedure.
Other researchers have reported similar results as the data presented here. Currently, we don’t have long-term data beyond two years from treatment. We don’t know how many women will need retreated or when. It seems logical that the tissues would begin to atrophy again with time and symptoms would return. However, given the ease and brevity of the procedure and the minimal to no downtime, repeat treatments seem a small inconvenience for the tremendous benefits the laser provides.
1. Behnia-Willison, F., et al., Safety and long-term efficacy of fractional CO2 laser treatment in women suffering from genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol, 2017. 213: p. 39-44.
2. Salvatore, S., et al., Sexual function after fractional microablative CO(2) laser in women with vulvovaginal atrophy. Climacteric, 2015. 18(2): p. 219-25.