Lasers are the stuff of movies set in outer space — but now they can transport menopausal women into sexual heaven.
Doctors and patients are beaming over the new MonaLisa Touch, a light treatment that rejuvenates vaginal walls ravaged by early menopause or cancer treatment.
“It was really astounding to finally have sex and feel normal again,” says Lisa Elliot, 34, a Chicago lawyer who was thrust into early menopause after a cancer diagnosis five years ago.
She underwent the laser treatment to relieve her painful sex and vaginal dryness, and within two days, this satisfied customer said she saw “a tremendous, noticeable difference.”
Kathy Mone, 57, a Hoboken finance manager who survived both breast and uterine cancer, is another convert. Rounds of chemo, radiation and surgery cut her estrogen levels and left her miserable. But she was intrigued when she heard about the new tool.
“I really felt a difference immediately,” she said days after her procedure. “It feels much more moist. I’m very happy.”
Doctors love the laser as an alternative to expensive estrogen creams that women use topically with an applicator. Cancer patients can’t use such medications, because they raise the risk of a recurrence.
But three quick, painless treatments with the MonaLisa Touch are all patients need to get their premenopausal grooves back.
The laser — 6 inches long, 1 inch in diameter — fires carbon dioxide-fueled light into the vaginal canal, which prompts cells to make more collagen to keep tissue plump.
The five-minute procedure causes only a pleasant vibration in the patient’s vagina.
“This thing is really remarkable,” said Dr. Ronald Blatt, a gynecologist for nearly 30 years who’s now with the Manhattan Center for Gynecology. He’s been offering the treatment for two months.
He and Dr. Maria Sophocles, a Princeton gynecologist who has been wielding the laser since January, can’t find anything negative to say about it.
“It’s been a godsend,” Sophocles says. “There’s no estrogen and no side effects.”
And the results are permanent. A year posttreatment, patients come back for one “maintenance” appointment, but that’s it.
In menopause, estrogen levels dip, and the vagina bears the brunt of the loss. Estrogen keeps the vaginal walls plump and lubricated; without it, the walls thin out and dry up. That leads to dryness, burning, itching and painful intercourse.
The laser — whose name is a sly reference to the smile in the famous Da Vinci painting — made its way to America in September after becoming a gynecological staple in Italy two years ago.