New laser treatment eases menopause effects

Lynanne Gornto tells Dr. Peter Wilbanks that MonaLisa is offering her some hope.

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Lynanne Gornto finally has some hope now, three years after her breast cancer diagnosis and three years after she started going through menopause.

“Kinda got hit twice with some of those types of symptoms,” Gornto remembers.

The symptoms include burning, dryness and painful intercourse. About 40 percent of women experience them when estrogen levels drop due to menopause, cancer or breastfeeding. A treatment called MonaLisa is designed to help.

MonaLisa is a new exciting vaginal laser,” says Dr. Peter Wilbanks of Virginia Women’s Center, explaining it’s not surgery.

The laser stimulates cell growth, collagen production and more. It is administered over three sessions, about five minutes each, spaced six weeks apart.

Gornto describes it as feeling like an annual exam. “No recovery, no pain, nothing. It was a simple in-office procedure.”

Because of her cancer history, Gornto is not a candidate for hormone therapies, which were the only alternatives offered up until this point.

Dr. Kristin Schraa of Virginia Women’s Center says many women do not want hormone therapies anyway because of their link to conditions that include heart disease and stroke. MonaLisa is a good alternative for that reason. “There’s no hormones involved.  It’s safe, it’s effective,”

There are no long-term effects from MonaLisa known. Studies have found some patients will feel more irritated, but overall risks are minimal.

MonaLisa is not covered by insurance, but Gornto says it has been worth every penny and mile. She has been traveling here from Hampton Roads since finding a practice offering MonaLisa and is excited about the potential.

“I think it could be life-changing for women,” she says.

Virginia Women’s Center says MonaLisa costs $2,400 for the first three treatments, and patients will likely need follow-up treatments every year.

Drs. Wilbanks and Schraa explain MonaLisa should not be mistaken for cosmetic rejuvenation procedures. This particular, non-surgical laser is only designed to ease the effects of dropping estrogen levels.

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