HOUSTON (KTRK) --It is difficult not to see ads promoting products and pills that treat sexual dysfunction in men. Not so much for women.
And that's why a 61-year-old cancer survivor turned to a new treatment that is designed to treat the fallout of childbirth, age, and in her case, cancer treatment.
Michelle Raisor is a forensic anthropologist who went through cancer treatment 10 years ago. She was diagnosed with estrogen-positive breast cancer. In addition to breast tissue removal, she underwent a hysterectomy and received chemotherapy and radiation.
"I also had to taken estrogen suppression drugs," she said. "I went into menopause overnight and had nothing to combat its symptoms."
Those symptoms included a decreased sex drive and mild incontinence. When she met her husband-to-be, she realized her "internal" muscles had loosened as well.
"I wanted to be more than a survivor," she said. "I wanted my whole life back." That includes her sex life.
Raisor turned to a friend for help. Heather Correa was her nurse practitioner through her reconstructive breast surgery. She now owns the Aesthetic and Laser Center next to Woman's Hospital of Texas in the Medical Center.
"Reps had contacted us about this new treatment, but they were focused on visible aesthetics (of the private parts.) We weren't interested until we learned it could be put to a different use."
It's a radio frequency treatment called ThermiVa. A device gently heats vaginal tissue, which stimulates collagen production, and tightens skin in the vaginal area.
It's also promoted as a way to reduce mild incontinence, reducing bladder leakage.
"There's no discomfort at all," said Raisor, as she underwent the treatment.
Dr Kylie Correa is an Ob/Gyn who performed the non-surgical technique on Raisor. "Among the questions I ask my patients is, 'How is your sexual health?' Being happy in that realm is important not just to you as an individual, but to you as part of a partnership."
Michelle Raisor made the decision herself to try the therapy. She first heard of it on a medical show. She and her husband also watched a video on the treatment.
"I know we're in love and I know this is for real and we've been very honest," said Greg Galow, who stresses he loves his wife regardless of what the treatment accomplishes.
Three consecutive treatments are recommended, spaced in intervals. After that, a once a year treatment is suggested. Because the technique is relatively new, there are no studies to show its long-term effects.
"Some of our patients are in their 30's," said Correa, "up to their 70's." Younger women include those trying to reverse the effects of childbirth. Michelle's situation, as a cancer survivor, is a special case for her.
"Sometimes we forget about the next step when they wake up and have to face life and they're different. This is a great thing and helping people in all different areas," she said.
Soon, Raisor and her husband will be celebrating their second wedding anniversary, and she's expecting it to be extra special.
"I'm very anxious and happy to find out what this journey is going to bring me at the end," she said, with a smile.