Vaginal laser therapy

Dr Erin Nesbitt-Hawes

Symptoms of vaginal atrophy affects between 50 -70% of postmenopausal women either with or without breast cancer with negative implications for relationships, social support and quality of life. Current treatments such as non-hormonal vaginal lubricants and moisturisers; and hormonal topical or systemic oestrogen therapies are often ineffective, relatively contraindicated in women with breast cancer, or not used by women because they are hormonal.

Fractionated laser treatments, such as the MonaLisa Touch (MLT) procedure, are proposed as a non-hormonal alternative for vaginal atrophy symptoms. The local application of laser energy causes microscopic areas of thermal necrosis to the vaginal skin, inducing a healing cascade to cause skin remodelling and repair. Preliminary data report histological changes consistent with improvement in vaginal atrophy following treatment, with observational studies suggesting up to 90% response in women treated by this technology. Currently, there are no blinded, controlled studies assessing change in symptoms and quality of life and duration of effect. This presentation will report on the current evidence for vaginal laser therapy.


Dr Erin Nesbitt-Hawes is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with a special interest in laparoscopic surgery and endometriosis.  She has completed an Australian Gynaecological Endoscopy Society (AGES) accredited laparoscopic surgery at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. She is currently a director of Alana Healthcare for Women and staff specialist at the Royal Hospital for Women. Erin has a strong interest in clinical research and completed her PhD at UNSW in the application of three and four-dimensional ultrasound of the pelvic floor for women with pelvic pain. She is a conjoint lecturer at UNSW and enjoys teaching and training medical students and junior doctors. Erin has many publications in the field of gynaecology and has presented at both national and international conferences. Recently her work was awarded the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Clinical Fellow’s Research Scholarship.