It’s something that most post-menopausal women are reluctant to talk about. In fact, their own doctors don’t know that something’s not quite right unless they actually ask, says Dr. John Darpel, a physician with the Seven Hills Women’s Health Centers in Edgewood and Florence.

What’s not right for about half of post-menopausal women is vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, he says. So when a procedure used to treat those symptoms has women not only talking about their improved condition but also spreading the message by word of mouth it must be effective.

Darpel says the last patient he used the MonaLisa Touch service on couldn’t stop gushing how effective it was, even after just the first of three treatments. “She said, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m telling all my friends,’” Darpel says.

That procedure, known as the MonaLisa Touch service, uses a probe inserted into the vaginal canal. The probe is equipped with a laser that creates a series of tiny wounds in the vaginal tissue. The injuries then trigger a wound-healing process that causes revascularization and increases in collagen, he says.

“So the blood flow is better and the collagen that gets put down is what is there before women go through menopause,” says Darpel. “And that’s what makes the vagina more elastic and that’s how you get the benefit of the laser.”

The procedure is basically painless. Dr. Emily Woeste, a physician with the Seven Hills Women’s Health Centers in its Florence-Burlington office, says she was quite surprised when she had her first few patients, who were referred out to other providers for the procedure, come back for a checkup. “They came back and said, ‘I needed no anesthesia, I was awake the entire time, and it really didn’t hurt to have this laser used,’” says Woeste.

Instead of referring patients out to other providers for the procedure, however, several doctors at the Seven Hills Women’s Centers are now able to perform the MonaLisa Touch services at the company’s business center at 2060 Reading Road, Suite 170, in Cincinnati. The location is convenient, close to downtown Cincinnati, has plenty of free parking and has easy access for Northern Kentucky residents, says Kate Browne, marketing manager for Seven Hills Women’s Health Centers.

Darpel says that the procedure is not only virtually painless, but it’s quick. “The nice thing about having it over at Seven Hills [administrative offices] is that it’s a walk in, walk out,” he says. “It’s a five-minute procedure. You get in you get out.”

Woeste says the procedure must be performed three times with six-week intervals between each treatment. The advantage over the typical treatment of hormone replacement therapy is that no estrogen is used in the MonaLisa Touch service, she says.

So for patients who have contraindications for estrogen the MonaLisa Touch is ideal for them, says Woeste. “Also, there are just some women who really would prefer not to take any type of hormone replacement … and that allows these people to have an alternative.”

And that alternative can be life altering. Woeste says some patients have told her the MonaLisa Touch procedure changed their ability to have intercourse and it’s now something to which they actually look forward. “And that’s quite impressive,” says Woeste.

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