Baptist Health Paducah: Treating Post-Menopausal Discomfort
Gynecologist Amber Savells, MD, explains genital urinary syndrome, which causes itching and irritation in many women during and after menopause, and describes ways to treat it.
Treating Post-Menopausal Discomfort Health Talks Transcript
Amber Savells, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Menopause is the transition that women go through as their ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. Typically, that occurs at about age 51 in this country and is associated with a lot of different hormonal changes throughout a woman’s body. About half of all menopausal women will complain of an external itching that has recently been renamed “genital urinary syndrome” of menopause, and that includes just a constant sense of irritation. It can be itching, burning, and external irritation that patients will often say feels like a mild yeast infection. So, a lot of these symptoms, we treat with vaginal estrogen as one potential source of relief for these women. But, a lot of women are hesitant to take estrogen, a lot of women don’t want to take hormones, and a lot of women aren’t candidates to take hormones. The Mona Lisa Touch is a non-hormonal therapy option for those patients. We treat the internal vaginal tissue and the external genitalia with laser treatments in order to cause the skin to thicken. It induces a collagen formation so that the skin is thicker and more resilient to trauma, and it also increases natural lubrication. We space the treatment out six weeks apart, so that’s three in the course of about two months. The procedure itself is very short. I can laser the entire area in less than five minutes. Most women assume that these changes are just part of getting older. Most of their friends are experiencing the same symptoms, and so they assume it’s normal. But we can definitely treat these symptoms and improve their quality of life.