Laser surgery for menopause might sound a bit intimidating at first, especially since it's a treatment designed for a woman's private parts. But new research suggests that a certain type of laser treatment may be effective for relieving some of the worst menopause symptoms that women experience.
The September 2018 study, published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), analyzed women who underwent microablative fractional CO2 laser surgery, which involves a series of microscopic laser beams using fractionated energy to penetrate the skin and remove old, damaged skin cells. This specific treatment is designed with the intent of rebuilding the vaginal pathway. Researchers evaluated the patients’ symptoms of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) — which covers all genital and urinary problems linked to menopause — up to a year after their last surgery.
Results showed that this type of laser surgery was particularly effective at reducing dryness down there, as well as painful sex and incontinence. Researchers said the study also suggested that this type of treatment may be more effective for women if they get four or five treatments, as opposed to just one or two. Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that this surgery might not be right for everyone going through menopause. But if you find yourself experiencing trouble in the downstairs region, it's definitely worth mentioning to your doctor as a possible option.
"This study adds to the literature on vaginal laser therapy for GSM. However, more robust randomized, sham-controlled data are needed, with larger numbers of women, to evaluate long-term safety, benefits, and risks," said JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, the executive director of NAMS, in a press release. "Until more data are available, all treatment options, including lubricants, vaginal moisturizers, and FDA-approved vaginal and systemic hormone therapies, should be discussed with women who suffer from GSM to determine the best treatment option for them."