April 17, 2023 – Vaginal laser “rejuvenation” doesn’t relieve sure signs of menopause or enhance sexual operate in breast most cancers survivors, new analysis exhibits, however will or not it’s sufficient to cease some well being care suppliers from selling the false promise of laser remedy and cashing in on it? 

Most likely not, “as a result of historical past tells us that details don’t at all times get in the best way of ego and revenue,” wrote Jen Gunter, MD, with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, in an editorial revealed alongside the examine in JAMA Community Open

In Gunter’s view, it is extremely unlikely that the medical follow of laser remedy for what’s often known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause will cease within the U.S. with out FDA motion. 

Meaning “many practitioners right here and all over the world will probably proceed to make use of the offensive ‘vaginal rejuvenation’ language to coax sufferers into paying hundreds of {dollars} to deal with GSM for what essentially the most strong present proof tells us is an ineffective process,” she stated. “There is just too a lot cash to be made.” 

Many individuals have signs of GSM in menopause, and if they don’t seem to be handled, these signs can final for many years. 

Vaginal laser remedy has emerged as a means to enhance sexual operate, vaginal lubrication, and moisture, whereas avoiding long-term use of drugs and lotions, Gunter defined. 

The excitement surrounding vaginal laser remedy suggests it is basically a well-researched “spa therapy with no draw back,” she stated. However the “actuality of laser for GSM and so-called vaginal rejuvenation is much totally different from the promise.” 

The FDA has not cleared these laser units, and there is restricted proof to indicate they’re protected and efficient. 

As an example, a 2021 randomized managed trial of postmenopausal girls with vaginal signs discovered that fractional carbon dioxide vaginal laser remedy doesn’t enhance signs or high quality of life, or result in modifications in vaginal histology, vs. sham vaginal laser remedy, the place a health care provider goes via the motions of performing the therapy, however truly doesn’t. 

The examine “ought to have been sufficient to pause laser remedy outdoors of medical trials. Sadly, it was not,” Gunter stated. 

The brand new examine offers comparable findings – this time in breast most cancers survivors with GSM receiving aromatase inhibitors, medication given to sufferers who’ve already gone via menopause, a “uniquely vital group for examine, as they usually expertise worse signs and should have security considerations with hormonal therapies,” Gunter stated. 

All 72 girls have been advised to make use of first-line therapy for genitourinary syndrome of menopause based mostly on nonhormonal moisturizers and vaginal vibrator stimulation; 35 have been randomly assigned to 5 month-to-month classes of fractional carbon dioxide vaginal laser remedy and 37 to sham laser remedy. 

On the 6-month follow-up, all girls confirmed vital enchancment in outcomes associated to those menopause signs, no matter whether or not they acquired actual or sham laser remedy, in keeping with the authors, led by Eduard Mension, MD, with Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Spain.

The staff additionally discovered no vital variations between actual and sham laser remedy in key secondary outcomes, with each teams having vital enhancements in all key areas. 

Kristin Rojas, MD, a breast surgical oncologist and gynecologic surgeon based mostly in Miami, was not stunned by the brand new knowledge, tweeting: “I am going to say it once more folks: these cash-based ‘rejuvenation‘ therapies are not any higher than placebo.” 

The concept that laser remedy may stimulate blood circulate and collagen to enhance signs of genitourinary syndrome of menopause was a “legitimate speculation,” Gunter stated. However “some physicians who promote vaginal laser remedy seem to have gone from proof-of-concept research to providing the remedy as protected and efficient.”

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