October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While we celebrate the many breast cancer survivors and the advances in the diagnosis and treatment options which now happily exist for breast cancer, I want to talk about a topic of which many breast cancer patients may be unaware.

There are changes in a woman’s body which occur during or months after hormonal treatments for breast cancer, particularly vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA). Many of the symptoms of VVA occur naturally with menopause, are made worse if a woman is given anti-estrogen hormonal therapies in treatment of breast cancer. It’s the topic which often doesn’t come up in the exam room, or if it does, treatment options to offer patients have been limited.

While hormone replacement therapy is an option for menopausal women dealing with symptoms of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, itching and atrophy, painful intercourse, and frequent vaginal infection or stress urinary symptoms, these same hormonal therapies are not options for breast cancer patients. Now, with recent advances in laser technology, there is a safe, non-hormonal option…Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation.

A laser used for many years for facial skin rejuvenation has now been modified with a handpiece to work on vaginal epithelium in much the same way as it works to rejuvenate facial skin: CO2RE Intima. This laser is a fractional CO2 laser which delivers laser energy to cause a natural thickening of the vaginal skin, restoring a more youthful quality to the skin, along with a return of natural lubrication, the formation of new collagen, and the rejuvenation of natural elasticity lost amid declining estrogen levels during menopause or hormonal treatment of breast cancer. The treatment requires three 15-minute, non-painful, in-office laser treatments performed at one-month intervals. Symptoms begin to improve as soon as days after the first treatment, and a single annual re-treatment is usually required to maintain results in the face of continued declining estrogen levels. This laser also works to tighten a loose vaginal vault in the post-partum woman after pregnancy-induced changes – or after weight loss – and is part of the new “Mommy Makeover” revolution!

Here is a short video clip that shows how the laser is placed very comfortably within the vaginal canal. No anesthesia is needed, the treatments are very comfortable and quick, and there is no recovery time. Laxity and hyperpigmentation of the external labial skin can also be improved.

I recently conducted one of the first clinical trials in the U.S. with this revolutionary laser, and our results showed a 97% response rate and symptom reduction. Our patients call it a “life-changing” treatment that they didn’t dream could so effectively restore a sense of self-confidence and feminine well-being. One of our study patients, Rosie, said, “I didn’t even tell my husband I was going to have the laser, and he noticed the tightening and better lubrication the first time we were intimate again after only my second treatment. I was so much more interested in sex and so much more comfortable, and he noticed we didn’t need to use a lubricant. So I told him what I had chosen to do. Everything is different now. I hadn’t realized how much this had affected our relationship in a negative way.” Another of our study patients is a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed and treated while in her 30’s. She had experienced decades of menopausal symptoms when she presented to me for the CO2RE Intima study complaining of vaginal dryness, irritation and terrible urinary leakage requiring the use of multiple pads daily. Cathy explained, “After one treatment, I stopped using pads altogether, and the increased vaginal lubrication is nothing short of a miracle!”

I have spent my career trying to help women experience their best selves by removing physical sources of concern for them and thereby restoring a better sense of “self” for them in safe and affordable ways, whether this is done with surgery or meaningful nonsurgical options. The CO2RE Intima is truly an extension of the surgical labiaplasty option I have long offered women to improve their feminine wellness and to restore vitality to this very important area lost due to childbirth, weight loss, aging, menopause or illness. As a woman, I have always been bothered by what my female patients feel they can’t freely discuss. For too long women have been told there are no viable treatment options for these concerns and that these unwelcome changes are just part of the aging process. This is not true. Finally, women have a source for open and honest dialog and can expect some real help.

If you are a breast cancer survivor or know of a woman who would benefit from learning more about CO2RE Intima treatments to restore intimacy and feminine well-being, call us for more information. During the month of October, we are happy to offer a three treatment laser series for the price of two treatments. You pay for two and get the third treatment for free.

Act Now…There’s Never Been a Better Time to Restore Your Intimate Health!

To learn more about Women’s Intimate Health options visit: or contact Dr. Samuels at 502-897-9411.