Lauren Cook, N.P., discusses a common treatment for vaginal rejuvenation including how it works, how long it takes to see results, and why some women may not be candidates
As a nurse practitioner at VPFW, I am passionate about helping women overcome the many health issues they face due to childbirth, menopause, and age-related changes that our vulvovaginal area will go through in a typical lifetime. Vulvovaginal health is an area of concern women often keep to themselves, rarely even bringing up symptoms like vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy associated with menopause, laxity of the vaginal skin and surrounding tissues, decreased sensation or pain during intercourse, and urinary incontinence (bladder leakage) to their gynecologist.
Yet there are many treatment options, including hormonal and non-hormonal medications as well as invasive and non-invasive medical procedures like ThermiVa, Mona Lisa Touch, and Diva. Several of these options bring with them a slew of risk factors and potential side effects, and in some cases only minimally improve a woman’s symptoms. However, we have found that vaginal rejuvenation can be achieved, in many cases, using an FDA-approved, non-invasive, non-medicinal, and non-surgical procedure called ThermiVa. Here are 7 things to know if you’re considering ThermiVa as a treatment option.
1. ThermiVa helps with vaginal rejuvenation, enjoyment of intercourse, and urinary incontinence.
By improving collagen and elastin within vaginal tissues, ThermiVa improves the overall tone of the vagina. It reduces uncomfortable vaginal dryness and improves laxity of the vulva. This increases sexual satisfaction by decreasing pain and increasing vaginal sensation during intercourse. ThermiVa also reduces urinary leakage and stress incontinence.
2. ThermiVa is a quick, low-risk, non-surgical treatment option.
As a non-surgical procedure, ThermiVa comes with very few risks. There are no anesthesia, lasers, or medications required.
3. ThermiVa uses heat to stimulate natural production of collagen.
So how does it work? A provider will use a handheld ThermiVa device to deliver radiofrequency energy to both the inside and outside of the vagina. Each treatment is roughly 30 minutes total: 20 minutes spent on the inside of the vagina and 10 minutes on the outside vaginal tissues. The radiofrequency energy heats up vaginal tissue just enough that it will stimulate your body to naturally re-build collagen and elastin within the vagina and vulvar areas. Collagen is a protein that makes your skin firm and elastic. Therefore, if we improve your body’s production of collagen, your tissues should bounce back to elasticity…quite literally!
4. ThermiVa is painless and has zero recovery time.
Many women wonder, what does ThermiVa feel like? It’s completely painless. Most women notice a relaxing, warming sensation as the wand transfers temperature-controlled radiofrequency heat to their vaginal tissues, without any burning or discomfort.
One of the biggest differences between ThermiVa and other treatments is there is no recovery process at all with ThermiVa. A woman could resume sexual activity, go swimming, exercise, etc., immediately after a ThermiVa treatment.
5. ThermiVa patients see quick, lasting results.
How soon will you see results from ThermiVa? Almost immediately, with the most noticeable improvement being after about 90 days. We recommend a series of three ThermiVa treatments to see the best results; however, some women may see improvement with just one treatment. We spread the three initial ThermiVa treatments out over a 3- or 4-month period, giving you about 4-6 weeks in between treatments.
How long does ThermiVa last? The length of improvement from ThermiVa is patient-dependent; however, most patients remain symptom-free for up to 1 year after their 3-treatment regimen. We recommend getting a ThermiVa touch-up treatment every 9-12 months to keep patients from developing any of the symptoms for which they started ThermiVa.
6. ThermiVa is non-hormonal.
Hormonal therapy is often first line management of gynecological and vulvovaginal conditions. However, hormonal therapy is not always safe for patients who have a history of breast cancer, hypertension, blood clots, stroke, heart disease, or migraines. Therefore, a non-hormonal option is necessary and (thankfully!) available with ThermiVa.
7. Some women may not be candidates for ThermiVa.
There are some contraindications to ThermiVa, so you will need to talk to your doctor about whether you are a candidate or could be in the future. Pregnant women and new moms should wait until at least 6 weeks postpartum to have a ThermiVa treatment. Other contraindications include a current sexually transmitted infection, yeast infection, urinary tract infection, or significant pelvic organ prolapse. ThermiVa is not to be given to patients with implanted devices such as a pacemaker or AICD as the radiofrequency could interfere with these devices.
Anyone finding themselves in the contraindication category need not fret though, as there are other options out there to discuss with your provider.
Don’t let vulvovaginal issues stop you from living your best life!
The subjects of vulvovaginal and sexual health are not easily discussed by women, mostly due to embarrassment or fear. But we do not have to suffer in silence! Female health challenges should not stop women from living their best life physically, emotionally, or sexually. Make an appointment to speak with your women’s health provider and remember that we hear about these issues every day. I promise that your provider will guide you in the right direction to improve your vulvovaginal and sexual health, no matter what the best management will be for you.