By Joey Pang, RPA-C
It is no secret that women have it harder. First, we get monthly periods well before we need them. Then, we go through pregnancy with its hormone spikes, body stretching, and delivering an entire human being out of a tiny opening. Just as we are trying to bounce back, menopause strikes to slow us down. The body region hit the hardest is, of course, the female genitourinary system.
Women experience vaginal itching, dryness, irritation, poor lubrication, pain during intercourse, urinary incontinence, and stretching of tissues. This complex of symptoms is now called the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM). However, many of these same issues can occur before menopause due to childbirth, breast feeding, or after cancer treatment.
Vaginal health has a tremendous impact on quality of life – physically, psychologically, and sexually. It can affect comfort, confidence, and romantic relationships.
Treatment options have traditionally been limited to hormone therapies and invasive surgical procedures, both of which carry undesirable risks and side effects. In recent years, minimally invasive laser treatments previously used to treat various gynecologic diseases have been found to also be effective for vaginal rejuvenation.
The most exciting device in this arena is the Juliet by Cutera. Juliet is an erbium laser that takes 20 minutes to revitalize both the internal and external vaginal tissue. The process involves 2 passes: The first delivers micro columns of laser energy that stimulate regeneration of collagen and elastin, strengthening the structure of the inner vaginal wall. The second pass delivers gentle heat to improve vaginal tone and flexibility. There is minimal discomfort and little downtime. A series of 3 treatments at 4 week intervals with yearly touch ups is recommended.
Various studies published in medical journals have shown significant improvement in symptoms of GSM and suggest that vaginal erbium laser may be a safe and effective treatment for this indication. Women who have had Juliet treatments report life changing improvements in lubrication, sexual discomfort, vaginal firmness and tone, leakage of urine when sneezing/ coughing or laughing, labial tightening, and external skin appearance.
With Juliet, women now have an alternative to taking hormones or having surgery when it comes to turning back the vaginal clock! And, don’t worry – nobody has to know about it!