With the passage of time, all the tissue on the human body begins to slacken. The culprit is the decline in collagen production that drops one percentage point every year after we turn 20. We also lose elastin. This combination causes the skin to sag and develop lines and wrinkles. The skin also thins and loses its elasticity.
There isn’t an area of the body that’s immune, including the vagina. For the vaginal tissues, this is known as vaginal atrophy.
At Dr. Beaty’s, one of the non-surgical treatments we offer addresses vaginal atrophy. It’s a CO2 laser platform called RejuVAnate, and it improves symptoms such as vaginal dryness, laxity, and irritation.
What causes vaginal atrophy?
In the vaginal tissues, our loss of collagen and elastin leads to loss of the folds and ridges in the vagina, the vaginal rugae, along with a decrease in plumpness of the tissue. As estrogen levels drop after menopause, the inner vaginal tissues lose the ridges/rugae and become smoother. The pH levels increase which changes the amount of bacteria present. There is a decrease in the superficial cells that are more protective and secrete mucus. Plus, no longer tasked with reproduction and the menstrual cycle, the vaginal area has a decrease in blood supply, and this causes the tissues to become more of a glassy pale pink color instead of their former vibrant pink.
What are the symptoms of vaginal atrophy?
The main symptoms of these changes with the vagina are discomfort, especially during intercourse. The natural lubrication in the vagina declines dramatically, causing pain without the addition of added lubricants. Also, as the tissue thins, it is more easily torn, and microtears can occur during intercourse. The high pH can change the overall environment, which can lead to inflammation that mimics a yeast or bacterial infection. Finally, your vagina narrows, a process known as vaginal stenosis.
How is vaginal rejuvenation done?
The RejuVAnate platform is a CO2 laser. At Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery, we’ve used CO2 lasers for facial skin rejuvenation because they trigger a “wound healing” response in the skin. When the laser energy penetrates the epidermis and enters the skin’s second layer, the dermis, it converts to heat. When the body senses heat in the dermis it assumes there has been a wound, and it responds by creating new amounts of collagen and elastin to heal the wound, although there isn’t any actual wound. This thickens, plumps, and firms the skin from within.
The process is the same for vaginal tissues. The RejuVAnate system involves an outer tube to house the laser. This is gently inserted into the vagina first, followed by the CO2 laser probe within the tube. The RejuVAnate laser then delivers pulses of energy to the vaginal tissues. During the treatment, the laser is repositioned to apply energy evenly throughout the vagina.
This energy then creates the same collagen and elastin production boost as in facial skin rejuvenation. The result is improved lubrication, thicker tissue, and far less pain and irritation. The RejuVAnate treatment takes just 10 minutes to treat internal tissues and another 10 minutes to treat the outer labia.