Can vaginal atrophy be reversed?

Dryness, itching, discharge, burning and pain during sex: symptoms that many women transitioning through the menopause will experience. Most of these symptoms stem from a condition known as vaginal atrophy.

Vaginal atrophy (also called vulvovaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis) is extremely common. It affects about 50% of postmenopausal women and the symptoms can have huge emotional, lifestyle and sexual impacts on the women who live with them.

Let’s talk about vaginal atrophy

Despite the potentially life-changing effects vaginal atrophy can have on a woman’s life, in many cases it's not talked about between women and their doctors. In fact, in one European study, only 62% of doctors and healthcare practitioners had discussed vaginal atrophy with patients who were going through the menopause, and only 10% of conversations were initiated by them.1 That's why it’s vital that women are able to be more informed about the symptoms and treatments available to them.

Vaginal atrophy treatment

For many years oestrogen therapy has been the gold standard treatment for vaginal atrophy. This can come as either topical (applied to the skin) or oral treatment. Moisturisers and creams are also often recommended for the short-term treatment of vaginal atrophy symptoms such as vaginal dryness. There is also non-oestrogen medication that can be taken for relief from symptoms, such as Osphena® for pain during sex. However, this treatment may require some time to take effect.

These creams and medications are effective at treating the symptoms of vaginal atrophy, but they can’t reverse the root cause and they have to be used continuously to maintain the benefit. However, a new treatment known as MonaLisa Touch has been developed, which may offer more long lasting relief from symptoms.

MonaLisa Touch Laser

MonaLisa Touch is a laser treatment that works by stimulating new collagen to be formed within the vaginal wall. It also re-hydrates and tightens the mucosa (membrane lining) of the vagina. “It restores the healthy functionality of the vagina without the side effects of oestrogen” explains Mr Pandelis Anthanias. Mr Anthanias is a Consultant Gynaecologist at 25 Harley Street. He works alongside other leading consultants, including Tania Adib and Francis Gardner, to make the MonaLisa Touch available on Harley Street. The real benefit of the MonaLisa Touch laser treatment is that after 3 initial courses, doctors suggest you should only need one-off yearly treatment to maintain the benefit.

If you’re concerned you may be experiencing symptoms of vaginal atrophy, talk to your doctor or make an appointment with a specialist.

1. Vulvar and vaginal atrophy in four European countries: evidence from the European REVIVE Survey

Relating to atrophy. Full medical glossary
Withering or weakening of a body tissue due to disease or disuse. Full medical glossary
Relating to the menopause, the time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle. Full medical glossary

The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods cease

Full medical glossary
A hormone involved in female sexual development, produced by the ovaries. Full medical glossary
A craving to eat non-food substances such as earth or coal. Full medical glossary
The muscula passage, forming part of the femal reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. Full medical glossary
Inflammation of the vagina. Full medical glossary