Frequently Asked Questions
What type of laser is used at NoVa Women’s Health and Laser Clinic?
At NoVa, 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 to treat GSM.
How does a CO2 fractional laser work for the treatment of GSM?
During the laser treatment, the deep dermal layers in the vagina are safely and painlessly heated to supra-physiological warmth with the CO2 laser dots. This warmth promotes the release of heat shock proteins from the cells. These proteins are very important as they stimulate dermal cells called fibrocytes to activate and become fibroblasts which lay down new collagen, elastin and extracellular matrix – all the factors needed for creating healthier and more robust, tighter tissue.
What is involved in a treatment?
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 hand-piece 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 minutes.
Why are three treatments necessary? Will I need any more than that?
It is necessary to have three treatments, 6 weeks apart, to have successful but enduring results. With each successive treatment, deeper tissue is treated allowing for the enduring benefits. As GSM is a chronic, progressive problem, it will return gradually with time if not adequately treated. Therefore, it is recommended that a single annual treatment be conducted to keep the tissues healthy and the symptoms of GSM at bay.
Is the treatment painful?
During the internal treatment, patients describe a mild vibration-like sensation which is painless. There are more sensory nerves externally, and therefore a numbing topical cream is applied to reduce the discomfort of the external treatment. As a result, there is minimal discomfort reported.
What can I expect afterward?
There is no down time. Patients can walk away from the treatment and resume regular activities with minimal discomfort. The appointment typically takes less than an hour. It is recommended to refrain from sexual intercourse for several days only and apply a moisturizing ointment externally for 2 days.