Mona Lisa Touch: Laser Treatment Relieves Vaginal Discomfort

mona-lisa-touchWhen I learned what the Mona Lisa Touch is for, I smiled and wondered. Midas men have a golden touch. Why not something a little mysterious, yet gentle to help countless women experiencing a range of heretofore unspeakable symptoms in the most delicate of places?

Curious? Well, lean in. The Mona Lisa Touch is a laser treatment similar to a facial laser treatment, but instead of lifting, it creates a healthier skin, or “rejuvenates,” a woman’s atrophied (weakened) vagina. Between 25 and 45 percent of America’s 46 million menopausal women experience a condition known as vaginal atrophy, now renamed Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause. Of course, we have to make it a syndrome, but maybe a condition that affects that many women is indeed a syndrome.

Vaginal skin needs rejuvenating once a woman reaches menopause, when lowered estrogen levels cause the area to dry out, leaving a woman itching, burning, and feeling an increased urgency to urinate. Couple that with hot flashes and mood swings that accompany menopause, courtesy of depleting estrogen levels, and you’ve got more than discomfort. Besides the discomfort, vaginal dryness also significantly disrupts a woman’s sex life. A lowered blood supply to the vaginal area and the dryness cause pain during intercourse, forcing most affected women to avoid sex. This snowballs into relationship problems at a time when many couples have more time and emotional availability for intimacy.

The usual treatments for atrophy include estrogen replacement creams or pills, lubricating gels, creams, plus antibiotics for infections. The risks and side effects of these avenues are well-known and often set up a vicious cycle, as none restores the vagina to its pre-menopause state.

Mona Lisa Touch frees women from all of these worries and hassles. The heated laser restores healthy skin, well-lubricated and elastic. Plus, it’s safe for everyone, including those who cannot, or would rather not, take hormones. The in-office treatment consists of three 3-minute “laserings,” during which CO2 laser energy is applied to the vaginal wall. The virtually pain-free treatments are given six weeks apart. Basically, if you can get through a pelvic exam, you can benefit from Mona Lisa Touch.

When in Rome…

The aptly named Mona Lisa Touch hails from Italy, where it was introduced in 2008. American women were able to receive the treatment in 2014, following FDA approval and a 30-woman study administered by Dr. Mickey Karram at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a colleague at Stanford University. The once skeptical Karram, who helped introduce the technology to the United States, calls the procedure a “thin-dot laser applied to the skin to stimulate the production of collagen.” The laser is so small, there is no risk of burning.

Two of Karram’s patients, quoted by Anne Saker at, say the procedure is “transforming.” Both experienced slight pain with the first treatment, but none afterward. They returned to normal activity, abstaining from sex for 48 hours. The results were exceptional: 90% improved after the first treatment. Sarah Desmond (65) said, “I was able to enjoy sex again. It was just the greatest thing ever, to have something make you feel normal again.” Desmond’s experience is typical of other patients reporting at and other sites.

Sound too good to be true? It almost is. The catch: insurance. Currently, women are paying out of pocket for the treatment, which is averaging $1,675 for the initial three treatments, with annual follow-up treatments needed. However, Dr. Karram, is confident that US insurance companies will assign billing codes and begin approving the treatment as it has a widely popular and commercialized side effect: Mona Lisa Touch improves men’s sex lives, too!

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About This Blogger

Kathy Stump

Kathy Stump writes from her home in Parkville, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City. For the last two decades, she’s been raising two children, freelance writing, proofreading, and tutoring young readers. Local and regional magazines feature her articles on travel, historic sites, nutrition, and parenting. She’s also reviewed books for Kirkus Reviews and written academic essays for Anaxos, Inc. Reading, walking, and yoga are her favorite pastimes. In her previous life (before kids), Ms. Stump was a museum curator. She studied art history and historic preservation at Mary Washington University and holds a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies and American Civilization from George Washington University.

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