THE LASER THAT IS SAVING WOMEN’S SEX LIVES
By stimulating collagen production inside the vagina, a newly FDA-approved laser is helping millions of women overcome painful intercourse.
Laser treatment for the vagina might sound like torture, but, for many women, the MonaLisa Touch—the first and only intravaginal laser treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration—is proving to be life changing..
Dr. Mark Sargent of Reflections OBGYN in Viera has added a leading-edge treatment to his practice to resolve gynecologic health issues often caused by menopause such as pain and burning with intercourse, vaginal dryness and atrophy. Reflections OBGYN is already the leader in advanced in-office procedures in Brevard County and is proud to be one of the first practices in Florida to offer this cutting- edge technology.
The MonaLisa Touch is designed to treat painful intercourse from vaginal atrophy, a condition often precipitated by menopause in which the walls of the vagina thin and dry out, rendering intercourse painful and often interfering with urinary function as well. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) estimates that anywhere up to 45 percent of middle-aged and postmenopausal women experience symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy, constituting a potential market of millions of women. But, despite the overwhelming number of women who suffer from symptoms of vaginal atrophy, NAMS notes that “only a minority seek help or are offered help by their providers.”
The MonaLisa Touch counteracts vaginal atrophy with a small laser that stimulates collagen production inside the vagina, restoring the vaginal mucosa and rehydrating the vaginal walls. As is the case with a standard laser treatment at a dermatologist, this form of intravaginal laser treatment does not require anesthesia and side effects are minimal, typically including some redness or swelling that lasts one or two days.
For many women who suffer from vaginal atrophy, the introduction of the MonaLisa Touch into the U.S. market will mark the first time they have access to safe and effective medical technology that can alleviate their symptoms. In the past, treatment options for vaginal atrophy have typically consisted of hormone therapies that counteract symptoms by increasing estrogen levels, the same sorts of treatments used to manage most menopausal symptoms. But many women do not want any hormones and some have an estrogen contraindication, including women with breast cancer, a history of stroke, or certain forms of heart disease, and often cannot undergo any form of estrogen therapy. Because intravaginal laser treatment directly targets the symptoms of vaginal atrophy instead of altering hormone levels, technology like the MonaLisa Touch is the only viable treatment option for these women going forward.
If it seems too good to be true, there is one potential problem facing the MonaLisa Touch: insurers are not covering intravaginal laser treatments. A course of three 5-minute treatments, six weeks apart is the same price of 1-2 years of traditional hormonal therapy, but without the mess or the risks.
Dr. Mark Sargent of Reflections OB/GYN had already built a spa-like environment at his clinic, featuring on-time appointments and a staff promoting an atmosphere of warmth and welcoming. He received his undergraduate training at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and his medical doctorate from Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia. He entered active duty in the U.S. Army and received his residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). He has served as chairman of the Department of OB/GYN at Holmes Regional Medical Center, and has been recognized as one of “America’s Top Obstetricians & Gynecologists” every year since 2008.
When Dr. Sargent first read about the MonaLisa Touch laser therapy, he was skeptical. He researched the procedure and the tools available, and found the nation’s leading OB/GYNs had conducted a multi-site study and trial. All of the patients in the trial were treated for vaginal health issues, due to natural or induced menopause, with the FDA-approved MonaLisa Touch laser therapy. The results were overwhelmingly positive and immediate. There was highly statistically significant improvement in symptoms (and relief ) after the first treatment and an escalation of progress with each subsequent treatment. Sargent recognized that this new procedure was going to change his practice, and he embraced this technology. In place since June, he has seen the same remarkable results as the trials indicated, and the number of applications of the treatment have risen continuously.
“MonaLisa Touch is a real breakthrough for feminine health,” said Karine Romain, a nurse practitioner with Reflections OBGYN, who also has been performing the procedure for over a year now. “It offers a quick and virtually painless remedy for a medical condition with a large unmet need for an effective treatment option. I am excited to finally be able to offer this life-changing treatment to my patients.”
For more information on the MonaLisa Touch laser, or to schedule an interview with one of the doctors at Reflections OBGYN, please call 321-610-895
What is MonaLisa Touch?
MonaLisa Touch is a new treatment that uses laser energy to treat the symptoms experienced primarily by postmenopausal women. MonaLisa Touch is a medical laser that delivers controlled energy to the vaginal tissue so cells make more collagen.
Has MonaLisa Touch been clinically studied and is it FDA approved?
A multisite study was conducted by two leading urogynecologists who are experts in the field of postmenopausal gynecologic health: Dr. Mickey Karram, director of fellowship program on female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, and Dr. Eric Sokol, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Stanford University Medical Center. Additionally, recent results from a trial evaluating the laser treatment on postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors who are experiencing gynecologic health issues shows positive results and a high patient satisfaction rating.
How many treatments does it take and is it painful?
Patients receive three 5-minute in-office treatments that are spaced six weeks apart. The in-office procedure is virtually painless, requires no anesthesia. Most MonaLisa Touch patients feel significant improvement after the very first treatment. Patients can return to normal activities after the procedure, but should refrain from sexual activity for 2-3 days.
How long does the treatment last?
After the third treatment, patients should expect to come back every 1-2 years for a single maintenance treatment.
How much does it cost?
The complete 3 treatment package is $1,800, which is the same cost of approximately one year of vaginal hormone therapy. Unfortunately, insurance does not cover this procedure.
Reflections OBGYN has been the premier OB/GYN office in the Viera/Suntree area for almost a decade. The practice handles all facets of women’s care with the most natural methods possible including pregnancy, surgery, annual exams, bio-identical hormones, and adolescent care and is the leader in advanced in-office procedures in Brevard County.
Dr. Mark Sargent has been practicing OB/GYN for over 17 years and specializes in minimally invasive surgery and in-office procedures. He is committed to offering his patients on-time appointments and a much more personalized and pleasant office experience. Sargent also still delivers all of his pregnant patients himself.
Nurse Practitioner Karine Romain specializes in pre- and post-menopausal hormonal management using the most natural methods possible including nutraceuticals and bio-identical hormone therapy, also known as BHRT. As a functional medicine specialist, Romain focuses on optimal functioning of the body and its organs.
Nurse Practitioner Lynn Malone, who has been practicing in the Melbourne area for over 20 years, has recently joined Reflections OBGYN. Malone brings her many years of professional experience as a general GYN practitioner to the office, welcoming patients from her previous office location.