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Laser Treatment No Aid for Postmenopausal Vaginal Symptoms

No difference found in symptoms, quality of life, or histological findings between laser or sham treatment

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Among women with postmenopausal vaginal symptoms, treatment with a fractional carbon dioxide laser does not significantly improve vaginal symptoms after 12 months versus sham treatment, according to a study published in the Oct. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Fiona G. Li, M.D., from the School of Women's and Children's Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues randomly assigned postmenopausal women with vaginal symptoms to three treatments using a fractional microablative carbon dioxide laser system performed four to eight weeks apart (43 women) or sham (42 women).

The researchers observed no significant differences between the groups in change in symptom severity overall or for the most severe symptom at 12 months. Similarly, there were no significant differences seen between groups in the mean quality-of-life score, Vaginal Health Index Score, or histology. In the laser group, there were 16 adverse events reported (versus 17 in the sham group), including vaginal pain/discomfort (44 versus 68 percent), spotting, discharge, and lower urinary tract symptoms; however, there were no severe adverse events reported in either group.

"The demand for effective alternatives to hormonal treatments for vaginal menopausal symptoms, particularly when hormonal treatments are contraindicated (e.g., hormone-sensitive breast cancer), has contributed to a rapid dissemination and uptake of commercially available fractional carbon dioxide laser, despite no data from sham-controlled trials to date," the authors write.

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