What is vaginal dryness ?
Vaginal dryness is a little-known and often overlooked phenomenon. It is related to moisture disorders in the vagina and may have consequences on a woman’s experiences of intimacy; it may also increase the occurrence of gynecological infections. Vaginal dryness results in itching, irritation, or a drop in sexual drive. More than one woman in six reports occasional suffering from vaginal dryness. This phenomenon may be particularly pronounced during menopause, but can also affect younger women.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness :
The inner surface of the vagina is lined with a mucous membrane and glands which secrete lubricating substances. These secretions serve as a kind of cleaning system for the vagina. Other glands, like the Bartholin glands, which are found in the muscle that helps the vulva to contract, also secrete a colourless, stringy liquid and help to moisturize the opening of the vagina and the labia minora. These secretions vary according to sexual activity and one’s menstrual cycle.
Anything that disrupts hormone secretion can affect the activity of these glands and cause vaginal dryness.
How do we detect vaginal dryness ?
Vaginal dryness can be detected through gynecological examination. A small decrease in the elasticity of the vagina or a change in the color of the vaginal wall may be observed. Vaginal dryness also tends to increase with advancing age and the onset of menopause. Treatment may then be necessary to compensate for a decrease in estrogenic hormones. Your gynecologist will be able to suggest several treatments. It is often necessary to try several before finding the one that works for you.
How is vaginal dryness treated ?
There are essentially two types of treatment: hyaluronic acid injection treatment, and laser treatment.
Treatment of Vaginal Dryness Through Injections of Hyaluronic Acid
Vaginal dryness can cause itching and daily discomfort; it may also cause pain during sexual intercourse.
Hyaluronic acid regenerates and hydrates skin. These same properties make hyaluronic acid injections effective in reducing vaginal dryness. Hyaluronic acid promotes the production of fibers and blood vessels which help to restore the natural lubrication of the vagina. Hyaluronic acid may be prescribed in an ova form, to be inserted into the vagina two to three times a week in order to improve vaginal moisture and healing. In some cases, this may not be enough. Dr. Diacakis may also recommend diffusion of hyaluronic acids into the vagina. This technique stimulates vaginal humidification while avoiding hormonal treatments which may have side effects. We perform hyaluronic acid injections in the office using a small, local anaesthetic and most often through the application of an anaesthetic cream twenty minutes before the procedure. We may renew these injections as necessary and until patients have obtained sufficient hydration for a comfortable daily and sexual life.
Treatment of Vaginal Dryness using Lasers
Dr. Diacakis also has experience using a new, laser-based treatment to alleviate vaginal dryness. This treatment allows us to regenerate vaginal cells in a few sessions.
Prior to Laser Treatment
for Vaginal Dryness
Dr. Diacakis will receive you at his practice for a diagnostic consultation and preoperative check-up. Patients receiving a general anaesthetic must consult with the anaesthesiologist at least 48 hours prior to the operation. Patients should abstain from medications containing aspirin in the ten days leading up to the operation.
Coverage and reimbursement of laser treatments
For the moment, this treatment is not covered by social security. Dr. Richard Diacakis will provide you with an estimate at the end of the pre-operative consultation. To be effective, four laser sessions are necessary. Each session costs on average 300 to 400 euros.
Laser Treatment Procedure
Your surgeon will place the laser, in the form of a tube, at the base of the vagina. The laser is gradually and slowly removed such that its waves act on the vaginal wall. The laser removes dehydrated mucous membranes from the vaginal wall. These cells will be replaced by new, younger and more hydrated cells. Stimulated by the laser, the mucous membrane of the vagina will generate more collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastic fibers.
Costs of Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
The cost of a consultation for vaginal dryness with Dr. Diacakis is 100 euros. The cost of a laser session averages between 300 and 400 euros. Costs of a hyaluronic acid session depend on the quantity of hyaluronic acid to be injected. The price may range between 500 and 1500 euros.