CO2 laser vaginal rejuvenation is not a new concept and the technology has been used within gynaecology for over 30 years for the treatment of the vulva, vagina, perineum and cervix. It has been performed on many thousands of women with many published articles highlighting its success in the treatment of vaginal atrophy, vaginal laxity, dryness, improving incontinence and urinary leakage, improving mild prolapses, helps to restore the correct pH within the vagina by eliminating unhealthy bacteria and infections, improving dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) and improvements in sex life.
It is particularly beneficial for women going through the menopause or peri-menopause and about 50% of women will suffer from one or more of the following:
Dryness, burning sensations, and irritation in the genital area
Poor vaginal lubrication, discomfort/pain with intercourse, impaired sexual function
An urgent need to urinate, painful urination, or recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
You will have a full medical consultation before treatment with the doctor or nurse where your specific concerns can be addressed, a medical history will be taken and you will be provided with before and after treatment instructions.
What areas can be treated?
The laser probe is inserted internally to treat the vaginal wall and a second handpiece is used to treat the external genitalia. A test patch on the skin of the inner thigh needs to be done a few days before treatment.
An internal examination needs to be carried out by the nurse or doctor prior to performing the treatment. A chaperone will be present if required.
How does the treatment work?
3D Vjuve is a minimally invasive procedure not requiring any incisions or surgery for the treatment of vaginal atrophy, improvements in the vaginal mucosa, laxity of the vaginal walls, improvements in mild to moderate stress incontinence and rejuvenation of the external genitalia. Results are dependent on many factors including age, patient health, tissue health prior to treatment, treatment settings, compliance with pre and post treatment instructions and sexual activity.
Fractional photothermolysis involves targeting a specified area according to the machine settings and leaving healthy tissue in between allowing better healing and recovery. It offers several benefits over traditional resurfacing including quicker recovery, less side-effects, greater patient tolerability and more predictable outcomes. Many parameters can be adjusted including power, duration, spot size, cone-shaped size, overlap, PPS (number of times a single spot is targeted) and scanning mode.
Is it safe and does it hurt?
Clinical data has shown that CO2 vaginal rejuvenation is a safe, efficacious and cost-effective treatment for vaginal atrophy.
There may be some discomfort and heat sensation during both the vaginal and vulva treatment. Often the internal application causes a vibration sensation rather than pain, although settings can be lowered to make the treatment more acceptable if required. Topical anaesthetic will be applied externally pre-treatment to reduce the sensation of pain.
Are there any side-effects?
Occasionally the treated area may become a little weepy, this is part of the normal healing process and will improve with time. However, if it starts to become hot or red or if there is any pus present, then please contact the clinic for advice as this may suggest an infection has developed. Do not apply a plaster or an occlusive dressing.
Cold compresses may be applied immediately after treatment and in the subsequent days if warmth, redness or swelling is of concern. Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, or anti-histamines may help this to settle quicker.
After treatment, a topical cream may be applied to aid the healing process. If you are required to continue to use this, it will be provided to you with the appropriate instructions.
What can I expect after treatment?
Following treatment, small white dots or perforations can be visible on the external genitalia and some flaking may occur over the following days. It is important not to pick or scratch at these as this may lead to infection or scarring. The area may feel warm and tight and there may be some redness. Swelling may be present after treatment but may only develop the next day and can take several days to resolve.
It is not uncommon to experience a watery vaginal discharge after the procedure which may last for several days, this is normal and nothing to be concerned about. However, if the discharge is offensive, yellow/green, thickened consistency or with a bad odour, this may indicate an underlying infection and an appointment should be made to see your practitioner as soon as possible.
Very occasionally, there may be some bleeding or discharge post-treatment which does not require any treatment and will resolve within 24 – 48 hours. If bleeding persists, arrange to be reviewed by your practitioner and an internal examination may be performed.
Rarely the treatment may lead to inguinal lymphadenopathy (small round lumps present within the groin), if this occurs, this should settle within 3 weeks.
A course of 3 treatments at 4 weekly intervals often delivers the best results. When further rejuvenation or symptoms relief is needed, a maximum of 5 treatments at monthly intervals can be undertaken. Clinical studies have shown that improvements in vaginal health and patient satisfaction with the treatment can last up to 24 months, although benefits decline between 18 to 24 months.