Atrophic Vaginitis Specialist

Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, MD, MSCE -  - Vaginal Rejuvenation Center


Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, MD, MSCE

Vaginal Rejuvenation Center located in Seattle, WA

Atrophic vaginitis, also known as vaginal atrophy, happens when the tissues that line your vaginal canal become thin, dry, and inflamed. The condition is typically the result of low or reduced estrogen levels. Although it’s a common side effect of menopause, atrophic vaginitis can affect women at any age. At RENUvaGYN, Seattle’s top-rated vaginal rejuvenation center, board-certified gynecologist Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su offers MonaLisa Touch® laser therapy for women affected by vaginal dryness. To find out more, call or book your appointment online today.

Atrophic Vaginitis Q & A

How Does Menopause Cause Vaginal Atrophy?

With perimenopause and menopause, women experience a progressive decline in the production of estrogen and progesterone, the reproductive hormones that control menstruation and make female fertility possible.

Estrogen also plays a major role in maintaining normal lubrication and vaginal tissue elasticity and acidity. Having less estrogen makes your vaginal tissues drier, thinner, less elastic, and more fragile.

Other symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy include:

  • Vaginal burning, itching, or discharge
  • Burning or frequent urination
  • Urinary incontinence or chronic UTIs
  • Discomfort and decreased lubrication during sex
  • Light bleeding following intercourse

What Other Conditions Can Lead to Vaginal Atrophy?  

Estrogen levels can decline for many reasons. If you started experiencing vaginal dryness following a recent childbirth, for example, it’s likely that your estrogen levels are lower than normal and will eventually level off on their own.

If you’re breastfeeding, however, your estrogen levels may remain lower than usual until you and your baby are done nursing.

Other factors that may contribute to vaginal atrophy include:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Certain allergy medications
  • Perimenopause, or the transition into menopause
  • Ovarian cancer treatment  
  • Oophorectomy, or ovary removal surgery
  • Complete hysterectomy
  • Hormonal treatments for breast cancer

Women who have never had a vaginal birth are more likely to develop vaginal atrophy later in life, as are women who are sexually inactive. Sexual activity, either with a partner or on your own, increases blood flow to the vagina and promotes tissue elasticity.   

How Can MonaLisa Touch Help?

MonaLisa Touch is an advanced laser technology designed to safely and effectively rejuvenate the tissues that line the vaginal canal.

It works by making microscopic injuries in these tissues, which triggers your body’s immune system response and helps restore the collagen, glycogen, and hyaluronic acid that make vaginal tissue healthy.

These changes cause your vaginal tissues to plump up, thicken, and become more hydrated. The glycogens and hyaluronic acid also restore normal vaginal pH to help encourage the return of healthy bacteria and reduce chronic infection.

In just three quick treatment sessions, MonaLisa Touch laser therapy can stop atrophic vaginitis, reverse its effects, and restore vaginal function.

The therapy is just as effective for women who are dealing with the symptoms of menopause as it is for younger women who are experiencing low estrogen levels for other reasons.

In many cases, MonaLisa Touch is also a better alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is a commonly prescribed treatment for vaginal atrophy. HRT, or the supplementation of reproductive hormones that your body no longer makes, is a short-term solution that uses low-dose estrogen to relieve menopause-related symptoms. Not all women can receive HRT, however, and even those who can may find it comes with unwanted side effects.

MonaLisa Touch laser therapy, on the other hand, is safe and effective for all women, and is effective for 85-92% of patients after just three treatments.