The waiting room was filled with women over a certain age, either alone or with their significant other. We had one thing in common: a dry vagina. Other symptoms can include itching, burning, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence—and then some—along with the strong desire to still connect, play and orgasm. It was comforting and at the same time tragically sad to know that I was not alone. But this is one club I didn’t want to belong to.
I’d had a few conversations about this intimate topic, secretly whispering with a few of my closest female friends—those not too uptight to discuss it—to see if anybody would fess up to the same issue. They didn’t. I then took the uncomfortable conversation to my OBGYN, and, after a fear of reintroducing estrogen via my temple, I literally turned my head one day and saw a poster on the wall in a doctor’s office about a procedure that sounded too good to be true.
The poster was for MonaLisa Touch®, a new noninvasive procedure designed to restore the trophic conditions of the vaginal and vulvar areas. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t work for the company, and this isn’t an ad. Procedures like this don’t exist without demand, but no one I knew was talking about it, so here I am, providing some inside information for anyone that has an interest in partying like it’s 1999 (again).
Is it right for you? Well, speaking for myself, I was tired of feeling like a tossed salad. There’s only so much coconut oil, olive oil and whatever else one kitty kat can stand. Because the thrill was gone physiologically, I shopped, mainly shoes. You should see my shoe closet—packed to the gills. Even Imelda Marcos would envy me.
The introductory seminar explained that the procedure would rejuvenate, tighten, lubricate and restore my vagina and sex life to the tune of 1977. Vaginal rejuvenation? Sign me up! I made my appointment.
The day before the procedure you can choose to tough it out, bite the rawhide, or ask your physician to put a call into your pharmacy for a mild sedative. In my experience, there was no anesthesia needed, a topical anesthetic cream is applied to the vulva and allowed to be absorbed for 20-30 minutes since treatment of this delicate area can be uncomfortable. (And yes, the numbing cream worked!)
Feeling jittery the morning of the procedure (even after an Ativan) and humming “Like a Virgin” all morning on repeat, I slipped on the hospital gown, hopped onto the examination table and not-so-enthusiastically put my feet in the stirrups and spread eagle.
I anxiously looked over at this ominous, large, grey, cold laser machine with its dildo-like wand attachment. The instrument that is inserted internally is similar to a vaginal ultrasound. I was told by my doctor that there may also be the need for some external lasering.
As my trepidation mounted (did I just say “mounted”?) my husband is sitting in the waiting room like a kid in the candy store wanting to gouge himself on endless sweets.
The actual laser procedure takes all of about five minutes, and gives off a soft vibration, though nothing traumatic. The machine itself gives off a lot of heat, so dress in loose light clothing for comfort. The whole thing was over before I knew it.
We were told to wait two-three days to resume sexual activity (and anything insert-able), and truth be told, I was really nervous about it. You know what they say: “If you don’t use it you lose it”, and, amongst the women I’ve known, that’s especially true for some women regarding their sexual activity and menopause; the lack of hormones not only affects one physically but also emotionally.
Prior to beginning sexual activity, one might experience a slight discharge or even some staining—thankfully I had neither—your surgeon should provide you with information on how to handle this.
When it was time to test it out, all I can say is, for me the results were nothing short of a miracle.
However, here are a few words of caution, if you’re thinking of moving forward.
The results are not always permanent. There’s a possibility of a temporary, mild “lit match/sunburn” sensation. Tenderness is also a possibility.
Unfortunately, and much to my dismay, at the time I did this the procedure wasn’t covered by insurance. In an attempt to change this, I reached out to my insurance company, as well as the laser company, trying to ascertain why this treatment modality is not seen as medical necessity and part of healthy human sexuality and good sexual health.
Most insurance companies cover Viagra, right?
So why isn’t postmenopausal vaginal atrophy/dryness considered vaginal dysfunction and covered by insurance as a treatment option just like HRT/hormone replacement therapy?
Vaginal health isn’t a one-way street, people.
That said, it’s worth every penny, and, in my opinion, a great alternative medically for many women that don’t want to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or use in conjunction with it. I’m not a doctor, so you’ll want to be sure you have those open, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations to find out what’s right and best for you.
So, when your kegled out, drier than the Mojave, and find yourself only reaching climax in the Nordstrom shoe department as you slip on that next pair you are about to splurge on, just know you have options—so long as you and your doctor agree.
Word of warning: Be prepared for better orgasms, improved vaginal tightness and regained sensations. Remember what Dr. Ruth used to say: “Have good sex!”. Dr. Ruth would be so proud of me.