The genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) includes bothersome vaginal, vulvar (lips of the vagina), and urinary symptoms that can affect quality of life, sexual satisfaction, and even your relationship with your partner. Unlike hot flashes, which typically improve with time, GSM usually worsens over time without treatment.

At Medicalux, we use the MonaLisa Touch fractional CO2 vaginal laser, which is the most studied laser with the best supporting evidence to its effectiveness in the treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). Unlike many other vaginal lasers, it is approved by Health Canada and is not used as a vaginal rejuvenator.

What is the MonaLisa Touch?

MonaLisa Touch is a type of non-invasive laser therapy to treat vaginal atrophy (also called GSM or genitourinary syndrome of menopause). GSM is a condition that causes symptoms like vaginal dryness and pain during sex. The MonaLisa Touch can help make sexual intimacy more comfortable. It works by healing the tissue lining of your vagina, restoring its moisture.

MonaLisa Touch is an alternative to estrogen-based therapies like creams, lubricants, or medication. It’s ideal for people who either can’t or prefer not to use estrogen therapy or in combination with estrogen to further improve GMS symptoms.

During menopause, your estrogen levels decrease. These hormonal changes cause your vaginal tissue to become dry and thin. This can lead to several symptoms such as:

  • Painful sexual intercourse.
  • Vaginal discomfort and bleeding.
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Urinary incontinence (leaking pee when you sneeze, laugh or cough).
  • Vaginal irritation, itchiness or burning.

The MonaLisa Touch helps the tissues in your vagina regenerate, helping it to become moist again.

It’s important to note that the MonaLisa Touch doesn’t tighten your vagina. There are other methods your provider may suggest if your goal is to fix looseness or sagging. The MonaLisa Touch helps restore your vagina’s lubrication, not necessarily its appearance.

Treatment involves 3 separate laser sessions both internally and externally approximately 6 weeks apart. Each treatment session involves the insertion of a vaginal probe, as well as the use of an external handpiece for the treatment of the skin of the vulva. Prior to the treatment, a numbing topical cream is applied to the external genitalia and remains in place for 15-20 minutes. It is then removed, and the internal treatment and external treatment is completed. This may only take up to 5 to 10 min.

Does MonaLisa treatment hurt?

No, it shouldn’t hurt. Your provider puts numbing gel around your vaginal opening before they insert the laser. Some people say they can feel a vibration.

How long does MonaLisa treatment take?

Treatment with the MonaLisa takes about five minutes.

What are the benefits of MonaLisa Touch?

Treatment with MonaLisa Touch has been shown to cause significant improvements in vaginal moisture. It can restore a person’s sexual intimacy and give them confidence again. MonaLisa Touch treatment is also beneficial for people who can’t take estrogen. Treatment for vaginal dryness traditionally involved estrogen medications. This means people who can’t take estrogen were left without an option for relief prior to MonaLisa Touch laser treatment.

Is MonaLisa Touch effective?

Yes, studies show that over 80% of people are satisfied or very satisfied with the results of treatment. About 90% of people rate their improvement as better or much better. Many people say they notice relief from vaginal dryness after just one treatment.

What are the side effects of MonaLisa Touch?

Side effects are mild and don’t last longer than 36 hours. The most common side effects are:

  • Irritation at your vaginal opening.
  • Light bleeding.
  • Pink or brown vaginal discharge.
  • Itching or burning sensation when you pee.
  • Swelling or redness at your vaginal opening.

Who can have MonaLisa Touch treatment?

The ideal candidates for MonaLisa Touch treatment are people who:

  • Are experiencing symptoms of low estrogen during the transition to menopause or after menopause.
  • Tried other methods (such as estrogen therapy) and were unsuccessful.
  • Have symptoms as a result of chemotherapy, breast cancer or hysterectomy.
  • Can’t take estrogen due to other health conditions or treatments.
  • Have been diagnosed with vulvar disorders like lichen sclerosis.

If you have any of the following health conditions, MonaLisa treatment may not be right for you:

  • You’re pregnant or gave birth within the last three months.
  • You have bladder prolapse.
  • You have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or other vaginal infection.
  • You’re receiving anticoagulants or have immune thrombocytopenia.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and health history. They can tell you if you’d benefit from MonaLisa Touch laser therapy.