Preventing Bacterial Vaginosis: New Therapy for a Healthier Vagina
February 10, 2019
“I can’t seem to get rid of this discharge from my vagina.” “Sex is painful and not fun anymore.” “I keep getting recurrent urinary tract infections, no matter what I do.”
In the December 6, 2018 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, an excellent review article reminds us of the role of the vaginal microbiome in preserving the health of the vagina. You see, normal healthy, friendly lactobacilli produce lactic acid which keeps the pH of the vagina low, and prevent unfriendly bacteria from invading and causing inflammation, discharge, smelly secretions, and an increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
The vaginal lining is supported by the right mix of hormones: estradiol and progesterone. When these hormones are out of balance, or are deficient (menopause), the vaginal wall can become thin and dry. The whole vagina can lose its integrity, sometimes allowing the bladder or the rectum to drop, or sometimes closing up too tightly, so that sex becomes uncomfortable or painful. Correcting the integrity of the vaginal wall and lining is a most important step to reverse these undesirable changes.
“Vaginal rejuvenation” has become a popular term, with many different medical device companies offering laser or radio frequency energy, or both. All of these devices depend upon insertion into the vagina of a probe which delivers energy. The laser devices ablate tissue, think “burn,” and the vagina grows new healthier tissue in its place. The radio frequency devices gently induce collagenesis, or the formation of new healthy tissue, by heating the tissues to a comfortable level. Radio frequency feels more like a hot stone massage, whereas the laser can be painful.
The new healthy tissue that the body generates makes the vagina healthier, and more able to support a colony of friendly bacteria by giving them lots of normal vaginal lining cells to graze upon not unlike a verdant pasture which can support a flock of sheep. As the healthy bacteria crowd out the pathogenic ones, the risk of urinary tract infections goes down significantly.
Other benefits of vaginal rejuvenation include resolution of vaginal dryness and pain. Many women report an increase in their ability to enjoy sex, including heightened stimulation. If present, urinary incontinence can be substantially reduced. Externally, most women enjoy a better appearance to the vulva, with correction of sagging tissues, and reduction in labial disproportion.
If you are interested in vaginal rejuvenation, we have several treatment programs that might be right for you. Please visit our pages on Votiva by Inmode, ThermiVa, and The Emsella Chair to learn more about our innovative services for you vaginal health needs.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation!
Wishing you the best in health,
Clifford Gluck M.D. FACS