Louis Izzo Vaginal Dryness, Painful Sex and Incontinence Treatment Interview

Louis Izzo Vaginal Dryness, Painful Sex and Incontinence Treatment Interview

Louis Izzo Vaginal Dryness, Painful Sex and Incontinence Treatment Interview

'Women have been badly served with two of the most common problems they face after menopause," claims visiting international expert Dr Scott Eder, Managing Director of the Center for Women's Health in New Jersey USA. 'As high as 80% of women during and after menopause have what's called vaginal atrophy, which is associated with vaginal dryness, inflammation, and pain - particularly during sex - and one in two have urinary incontinence when they exercise, laugh, cough and even stand up."

Sydney gynaecologist, Associate Professor Louis Izzo agrees and says the statistics in Australian are alarming.

'Urinary incontinence is particularly pervasive. Although it is commonly associated with menopause, pregnancy and childbirth, it actually affects over one third of Australian women, with stress urinary incontinence being the most common form. Also, it is not restricted to women who have borne children – in fact, 12% of Australian women who have never had children and are under 30 have incontinence.

'Naturally, these conditions have a huge impact on day to day quality of life, comfort and sexual intimacy. Yet despite these alarming statistics, due to their sensitive nature, we find that women are reluctant to talk about it, and sadly suffer in silence," continued Prof Izzo. 'Research shows 70% of people with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment for their problem," he added.

'To date, there have been only been limited treatments available for vaginal dryness and stress urinary incontinence such as oestrogen cream, pelvic floor exercises and surgery, but there is a link between the two conditions and that is the clue to a major advance in addressing them.

'The link is the disappearance of collagen as we age," says Prof Izzo, who has formed a network of progressive gynaecologists called Gynaelaser Australia to approach these problems with world leading technology. 'Collagen is the tissue that holds us together and fills us out. When it disappears, there's sagging and thinning, whether that be our skin or waterworks. With incontinence, when women don't get the benefit of pelvic floor exercises, we have operations that try to hold up the bladder but these have sometimes been controversial and may not work. And they do nothing for the collagen deficiency of ageing."

Major advance in technology for these issues

'Fascinating research has shown that you can stimulate collagen production if you make the lining tissue in the vagina repair and rejuvenate itself," argues Dr Eder. 'The way to do this is by specially designed and gentle laser therapy. What we do is systematically bathe the entire vagina with light from a carbon dioxide laser that penetrates a tiny distance through the surface. The woman either feels nothing or only a little heat. The cells surrounding the treated tissue respond by producing more collagen and rejuvenated, thicker lining, significantly improving symptoms."

Dr Eder is the principal investigator into the largest study worldwide into the use of this type of laser technology that is currently underway - for vaginal atrophy and stress urinary incontinence. He is visiting Australia to share international best practice in this field.

'This new technology is far superior to anything we've seen before. It has five times deeper tissue penetration in a single pulse than any other system with no discomfort, meaning it has the ability to deliver a more effective treatment. It is also very fast, taking only a few minutes for the procedure, with three treatments four to six weeks apart. Women are able to return to normal activities the same day," said Dr Eder.

'Like men who experience sexual dysfunction, women deserve to be able to take steps to improve their sex lives. This procedure is significant not only for post-menopausal women, but women of all ages, particularly after childbirth. We strongly believe that this will help to improve the quality of life for many women, and the ability to embrace normal sexual intimacy again without the need for hormone treatment or more invasive management," continued Dr Eder.

'This treatment is also ideally suited to women who have problems of vaginal dryness, where hormone therapy is not recommended because of previous cancers and other conditions. And it can make enough of a difference to stress incontinence to avoid or delay surgery," finished Dr Eder.

The technology was developed by Lumenis®, the pioneers of laser medicine who developed revolutionary advances such as laser eye treatment and keyhole surgery. The system has considerably more FDA clearances than any other system available, making it is suitable for a huge amount of other surgical and medical applications including – ENT, beauty and aesthetics and burn scars.

Prof Izzo is excited to offer this world leading technology in Australia for the first time.

'We've formed a network of gynaecologists across Sydney, affiliated with the top hospitals, who are bringing the latest global technology in this field to Australia for the first time. It is developed by the world leader in laser technology that originally invented many of the medical lasers currently in use for other purposes, such as laparoscopic surgery and laser eye treatment," said Prof Izzo.

'Importantly, at Gynaelaser, it is only utilised by our fully trained gynaecologists, making it very safe. It is incredibly exciting and I really believe it is the future for female vaginal health," finished Prof Izzo.

Patient Case Study

55 year old Ashley* was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. After going through treatment, she began to notice changes in terms of pain and dryness during sex.

"As a result of breast cancer and its subsequent treatment of chemotherapy, I was left with vaginal atrophy. The dryness caused severe discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse and often resulted in bladder infections and tenderness as an after effect.

I tried all the recommended and prescribed medical treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy and oestrogen creams, but these did not resolve the symptoms at all.

I read an article on breast cancer survivors who where experiencing these systems as well and was surprised to discover that up to 60% of these women were left with vaginal atrophy and experiencing the same symptoms. Further investigation led to me the use of laser treatment and how this was producing real results for women.

I made an appointment to discuss with my doctor who gave me a referral. After determining that I was the right candidate, I received three treatments of the FemTouch Venus approximately 1 month apart and the results have been absolutely amazing.

After the final treatment I would say that my condition has been relieved by 100%. It has immensely improved my quality of life and enabled me to enjoy my intimate relationship with my husband again.

I am so glad that there is a successful option for women like myself who have survived cancer."

*name changed for privacy

Background

The technology is a minimally invasive CO2 laser treatment called the FemTouch™ Venus Treatment. FemTouch™ Venus Treatment addresses vaginal health related conditions
by promoting the remodeling of the vaginal mucous layer. The fractional CO2 laser beams are applied in a 360-degree motion along the vaginal wall, using a specially designed device for the vagina, and results in regeneration of the tissue.

The procedure is performed in-clinic by trained gynaecologists, and only takes a few minutes. 2 – 4 treatments are recommended. Patients will only experience a minor heat sensation during the treatment but it is very gentle and should not feel uncomfortable.

CO2 laser therapy is widely used for delicate tissue management in specialties such as gynaecology, Ear Nose and Throat, and for
skin rejuvenation and scar and soft tissue reconstruction in the field of plastic surgery.

Statistics

Urinary incontinence affects over one third of Australian women. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is the most common form (over 70%) and affects 35%-40% of women worldwide.
70% of people with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment for their problem.
SUI increases with age – whilst we don't have specific statistics for Australia, US statistics indicate that it affects 50% of post-menopausal women.
While statistics vary slightly by source, most experts estimate that 40 to 60% of women will develop vaginal dryness at some point during the menopausal transition.
US statistics indicate that 80% of post-menopausal women suffer from vaginal atrophy.

To make a booking with Gynaelaser Australia, please visit www.gynaelaser.com.au


Interview with Associate Professor Louis Izzo

Associate Professor Louis Izzo is a respected obstetrician and gynaecologist who has been practicing for over 30 years. He is the Head of Department at Canterbury Hospital, VMO at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Associate Professor at Notre Dame University and Senior Lecturer at Sydney University. Prof Izzo is an examiner and member of the state committee of FRANZOG, as well as a member of the Overseas College Specialist Panel.


Question: What is vaginal dryness? What problems does vaginal dryness cause?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: As many as 80% of women during and after menopause have what's called vaginal atrophy, which is associated with vaginal dryness, inflammation, and pain during sex - and one in two have urinary incontinence when they exercise, laugh, cough and even stand up.


Question: What is the common cause of vaginal dryness?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: As women age, collagen disappears and can cause thinning in the vaginal walls, which can lead to vaginal atrophy. Other causes include medication, medical treatments like chemotherapy, other health conditions, and even hormonal changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. It's a very common condition.


Question: How can vaginal dryness now be treated?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: A network of Australian gynaecologists – -Gynaelaser'- have brought the latest global technology by Lumenis® (the pioneers of medical lasers) to Australia. The FemTouch™ Venus Treatment is a far superior treatment for vaginal atrophy than anything that has been available in Australia before.


Question: How does the treatment work?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: The FemTouch™ Venus uses gentle laser therapy to plump up the walls of the vagina. The cells surrounding the treated tissue respond by producing more collagen and lead to a rejuvenated, thicker lining, significantly improving symptoms.

During the treatment, the physician will move a sterilised applicator (a specially designed device for the vagina) along the vaginal wall in an outward motion, applying the laser in a 360˚ pattern, while covering the entire area. The procedure is done in the doctor's clinic and no anaesthesia or special post procedure care is required.

The treatment is quick, simple and effective – only a few minutes for the procedure, with three treatments four to six weeks apart.

The technology was developed by Lumenis® – the same people who developed laser eye and keyhole surgery.


Question: How can this technology also be used to treat painful sex and incontinence?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: Vaginal dryness, painful sex and incontinence are all associated with thinning of the vaginal wall. The FemTouch™ Venus Treatment promotes collagen production in the cells surrounding the thinning tissue, rejuvenating the lining of the vaginal wall, which in turn improves all of these symptoms.


Question: What are the common causes of painful sex?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: Apart from vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness, there are many causes of painful sex, including skin disorders, infections or thrush. It's a good idea to see your gynaecologist if you are experiencing pain during sex, to find out what the underlying cause is. If the pain you are experiencing during sex is due to vaginal atrophy, then the FemTouch™ Venus Treatment is an excellent treatment option.


Question: Is the treatment painful?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: Patients will only experience a minor heat sensation during the treatment but it is very gentle and should not feel uncomfortable. Women are able to return to normal activities the same day.


Question: Can you talk us through a success story from the treatment?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: 55 year old Ashley* was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. After going through treatment, she began to notice changes in terms of pain and dryness during sex.

"As a result of breast cancer and its subsequent treatment of chemotherapy, I was left with vaginal atrophy. The dryness caused severe discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse and often resulted in bladder infections and tenderness as an after effect.

I tried all the recommended and prescribed medical treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy and oestrogen creams, but these did not resolve the symptoms at all.

I read an article on breast cancer survivors who were experiencing these systems as well and was surprised to discover that up to 60% of these women were left with vaginal atrophy and experiencing the same symptoms. Further investigation led me to the use of laser treatment and how this was producing real results for women.

I made an appointment to discuss with my doctor who gave me a referral. After determining that I was the right candidate, I received three treatments of the FemTouch Venus approximately 1 month apart and the results have been absolutely amazing.

After the final treatment I would say that my condition has been relieved by 100%. It has immensely improved my quality of life and enabled me to enjoy my intimate relationship with my husband again.

I am so glad that there is a successful option for women like myself who have survived cancer." *name changed for privacy


Question: Why have you chosen to offer this treatment?

Associate Professor Louis Izzo: Millions of Australian women are suffering in silence with symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy. We've brought the FemTouch™ Venus Treatment to Australia to stop women needlessly suffering - every woman deserves to have a healthy, enjoyable sex life. This treatment is significant not only for post-menopausal women, but for women of all ages, particularly after pregnancy and childbirth.





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