Fractional CO2 Laser Treatment Appears to Relieve Genitourinary Syndrome in Postmenopausal Women

By Reuters Staff

December 31, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fractional CO2 laser treatment appears to relieve symptoms of genitourinary syndrome of menopause in postmenopausal women, according to new findings.

An estimated 50% of women experience genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), which manifests as vaginal laxity, dryness, dyspareunia, itching, burning, urinary incontinence and other symptoms. Local therapies, including lubricants, moisturizers, and low-dose vaginal estrogen, provide temporary relief from symptoms.

Several studies have shown that laser therapy can be effective for preventing and managing GSM.

Dr. Daniela Luvero of Campus Bio-Medico University, in Rome, and colleagues at four centers evaluated the efficacy and side effects of CO2 laser treatment in a retrospective study of 645 postmenopausal women with GSM.

Treatment duration averaged 6.5 months from the beginning of the first session to the end of the last session, with 595 women undergoing three laser treatment sessions and 50 women undergoing four laser treatment sessions.

Laser treatment was associated with significant improvements in dyspareunia, vaginal-orifice pain, dryness/atrophy, itching, burning and pH, the researchers report in Menopause.

Overall, women experienced a 60% improvement in dyspareunia, a 64% improvement in dryness, a 71% improvement in burning, a 64% improvement in vaginal-orifice pain and a 78% improvement in itching.

The group that received three cycles showed significantly greater improvement than the group that received four cycles in all these symptoms.

The researchers observed no side effects in any of the CO2 laser sessions.

"Fractional CO2 laser has been proven to be a valid and effective therapeutic option that may be used simultaneously or alternately with the other possible therapies in patients suffering from GSM, particularly in patients suffering from vulvo-vaginal atrophy (VVA) symptoms," the authors conclude.

The study had no funding, and the researchers report no conflicts of interest.

Dr. Luvero did not respond to a request for comments.

SOURCE: Menopause, online November 25, 2019.