Lin KL, Chou SH, Loo ZX, Liu YY, Cheng JC, Long CY

Lasers Med Sci. 2022 Jun;37(4):2203-2208. doi: 10.1007/s10103-021-03484-x

The purpose of our study was to investigate the effects of vulvovaginal erbium laser on the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and sexual function of postmenopausal women. We conducted a retrospective study of sixty-four postmenopausal women with GSM, and these patients were scheduled for three times of vulvovaginal erbium laser treatment. A baseline and post-treatment vaginal status was assessed by measuring vaginal pH, patients' subjective vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) symptoms, which included dryness, dyspareunia, itching, and burning. The urinary response to treatment was assessed using ICIQ-SF, UDI-6, IIQ-7, OABSS, and POPDI-6. Sexual function was evaluated using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) before and after vulvovaginal laser therapy. Patient follow-ups were scheduled for 12 months after treatment. A total of sixty-four patients were enrolled in the study. We observed the significant improvement in the percentage of negative symptoms (dryness/dyspareunia/itching/burning) and in lower urinary tracts symptoms evaluated with ICIQ-SF, UDI-6, IIQ-7, OABSS, and POPDI-6 (P < 0.05). Patients' overall satisfaction regarding their sexual life, assessed via Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), showed significant improvement in its six domains of sexual function (P < 0.05). The pH level of vaginal secretions significantly decreased. No long-term complications were found post-treatment. The Er:YAG vaginal laser procedure is associated with a significant improvement in GSM and sexual function of postmenopausal women. Our result demonstrates that it can be a safe and efficacious treatment for patients with GSM without any serious adverse effects up to 1-year post-treatment. The long-term effects of using vulvovaginal laser in the treatment of GSM should be investigated.

Keywords: GSM (genitourinary syndrome of menopause); Urinary incontinence; Vaginal laser.

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