With increasing age or after childbirth, vaginal health can be affected in a variety of ways. Many women will experience symptoms such as vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and stress urinary incontinence in the postmenopausal period or after childbirth. Additionally, younger women can experience menopause at an earlier age due to a history of cancer and chemotherapy treatment. For many of these women, there are no ideal options, as they may not be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy or have failed topical treatments.
With the development of the FemTouch laser, we now have a safe and effective alternative to address symptoms of vaginal atrophy such as dryness, painful intercourse, stress urinary incontinence, and vaginal laxity after childbirth. The FemTouch laser uses a fractional CO2 laser beam that is applied along the vaginal wall, resulting in regeneration of the tissue. By using fractional CO2 laser that has ablative and coagulation properties, the treatment promotes remodeling of the vaginal mucosal layer. This can thicken the vaginal wall and increase vaginal secretions, helping to relieve symptoms related to atrophy.
How Does it Work?
The FemTouch treatment itself is a quick procedure that takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. A lubricated probe is inserted into the vagina, and the FemTouch delivers low continuous wave CO2 energy levels in a fractional pattern along the vaginal lining. During the treatment, your physician will move the sterilized probe along the vaginal wall in an outward motion. You may experience a minor heat sensation or vibration, but the procedure is generally very gentle and does not usually cause any discomfort.
How Do I Know if I’m a Candidate?
Women who are candidates for the FemTouch may be experiencing a variety of symptoms. These can be the result of peri-menopause, post “natural” menopause, post “induced” menopause, or post childbirth. These symptoms include:
- Itchiness or burning sensations
- Discomfort related to vaginal laxity with or without a pelvic organ prolapse
- Decreased vaginal lubrication
- Dyspareunia (difficult or painful sexual intercourse) or vaginal bleeding during sexual intercourse
- Early stages of stress urinary incontinence
Some of these symptoms are treatable with hormone replacement therapies. However, not all women are able to take hormone replacement therapy or have failed this treatment in the past. As many of our patients are breast cancer survivors with a history of hormone-sensitive cancer, FemTouch can provide a hormone-free treatment that aims to improve their vaginal health.
Preparation Before FemTouch Treatment
Before having the FemTouch treatment, you must have a normal Pap smear within the past year. We will also complete a speculum exam prior to the treatment on the same day you are scheduled for the FemTouch. This allows us to exclude the presence of any infection or other abnormality apart from vulvovaginal atrophy. The procedure itself does not require any anesthesia or analgesia, as it is a relatively pain-free procedure.
Post Treatment Instructions
Vaginal hydrating gel may be given to you after the treatment to soothe the vaginal lining. You should avoid heat exposure in this area and refrain from sexual activity for 72 hours following the procedure. A transient inflammatory reaction is expected after the treatment, which means you may have a sensation of heat or possible burning and minor bleeding in the treated area. Usually, this resolves within 24 hours and should not last more than 72 hours.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
Although this can differ for each patient, most will report a noticeable improvement in symptoms after just one FemTouch procedure. However, 2-4 treatments are typically recommended to see optimal results and achieve the best outcome for patients.
If you are interested in learning more about the FemTouch treatment, please call our office at (312)266-6240 and we can set you up with a consultation. You can also click here to learn more about the procedure.