The main cause of vaginal dryness after menopause is a decrease in estrogen levels. Due to the lack of hormones, the epithelium of the vagina thins, and the former elastic structure becomes fragile. The epithelium can become torn under mechanical stress, and small hemorrhages can form in the vagina, which can cause pain and make intercourse impossible.
Vaginal dryness is not only caused by a hormone deficiency but can also occur after vaginal childbirth. The epithelial lining may thin due to insufficient blood supply. In addition, the thinned vaginal epithelium can cause further problems if it cannot withstand the pressure of gravity. In such cases, a bladder hernia develops, which causes incontinence and urinary retention problems. This problem can occur both after menopause and at a younger age as a result of prolonged childbirth.
Vaginal dryness can also be caused by oncological treatment where the patient is receiving anti-hormone therapy. After breast cancer surgery, for example, patients are often treated with anti-hormone medication. Such therapy can cause a condition similar to menopause with associated vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness can be well treated by laser, regardless of the cause. It is true that hormone replacement can temporarily relieve symptoms during menopause, but at a younger age, vaginal dryness caused by anti-hormone medication therapy can be greatly helped by laser therapy.
Laser treatment uses a wavelength of laser light that penetrates the vaginal epithelium without being absorbed, so it causes neither heat nor pain. The laser light has a thermal effect on the connective tissue beneath the vaginal epithelium. Before the treatment, we use an ultrasound scan to assess the tissue’s condition and to plan the light energy used. The laser device is then set up: we choose the depth of penetration and the heat zone of the treatment. During the procedure, the light energy is not applied to the entire treated surface, but only to certain points, without pain or discomfort. Intimate laser treatment uses heat to contract the connective tissue and stimulate the collagen fibers responsible for the elasticity of the mucous membrane. This effect stimulates the body to replenish collagen, improves blood supply and thickens the connective tissue so cell regeneration and replacement can begin immediately, thus the vaginal wall becomes thicker. Strong collagen fibers provide the bladder with the support it needs to function healthily again.
It is important to note that after a course of treatment, a maintenance treatment is recommended every 18 months to prevent the ideal condition from deteriorating, as the underlying cause, hormone deficiency, persists. If one follows this advice, one can be free of complaints for many years.