A new treatment for some of the less discussed symptoms of menopause is expected to change the lives of many South Island women.
While menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and sleep disturbance are much talked about, up to half of post-menopausal women are also affected by Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM). This involves changes to the vagina and urinary system, which are caused by falling oestrogen levels.
Symptoms can include burning, itching, urinary tract infections, dryness and pain during sex. Unlike hot flushes and night sweats, which may disappear over time, genito-urinary symptoms can remain and even get worse as a woman gets older.
To help the many local women experiencing these issues, Oxford Women’s Health has this year introduced the South Island’s first MonaLisa Touch laser treatment for GSM. Non-hormonal and non-surgical, MonaLisa Touch works by stimulating the body’s regenerative processes to create more hydrated and healthy cells in the vagina. It has a low risk of side effects and is suitable for women of all ages.
Oxford Women’s Health Gynaecologist Dr Olivia Smart says the treatment has only been introduced following a thorough investigation of its effectiveness.
“Improvements are well documented and more than 50,000 treatments have been performed in Australia and other parts of New Zealand,” Dr Smart says.
MonaLisa Touch is quick, pain-free and requires no downtime. It usually requires three sessions of five to ten minutes, providing relief from symptoms for up to 18 months. One maintenance treatment every 12-18 months is then required to retain the full benefits. The treatment can be used with or instead of hormonal therapy such as topical oestrogen creams and is suitable for women who have had cancer treatment.
Women may experience GSM as early as their 40s and even earlier if they go through menopause as a result of chemotherapy or a hysterectomy. “It is fantastic to be able to provide a treatment that can significantly reduce these symptoms and improve women’s everyday lives,” Dr Smart says.
To find out whether MonaLisa Touch may be right for you, ask to be referred to Oxford Women’s Health by your GP or simply call 03-379 0555 to book an appointment.