Laura Mason is the first for a lot of things in eastern Idaho.
She was one of the area’s first independent nurse practitioner in eastern Idaho. She was one of the first to offer bioidentical, plant based, hormones for hormonal therapy; and she was one of the first to offer platelet-rich plasma sexual therapies for woman and men in the area.
Mason runs her own practice, Northstar Healthcare and Aesthetics, in Idaho Falls where she specializes in family medicine and women’s health. Before starting her own clinic, she was a trauma nurse.
She’s always wanted to help people, even since she was a little girl, and decided to make the leap into independent practice when the Idaho Legislature changed the law in 2004.
“I just had a desire to do more (to) take care of patients the way I wanted to take care of them,” Mason said.
She started offering hormonal treatment and platelet-rich plasma treatment because she wanted to take a more holistic approach to the way she treats patients. Mainly, when it comes to women and their sexual health.
Women can suffer from pain during intercourse, called dyspareunia, and is a legitimate medical condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dyspareunia can encompass pain before, during and after intercourse.
This can cause many emotional and physical problems for women, and impact relationships, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Mason said the two biggest problems in relationships she hears are “sex and money,” which is why she started offering a treatment called O-Shot, which injects platelet-rich plasma into the genitals to help heal pain and sensitivity problems.
Platelet-rich plasma, which are platelets collected from the patient’s own blood, releases growth factors and stimulates healing in the areas it’s injected. “It’s like the magic elixir of our blood,” Mason said.
The platelet activation is helpful for wound and soft-tissue healing, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. The platelets are activated by putting them in a centrifuge and side effects are limited because it uses a patient’s own blood.
Women should notice results from the platelet-rich plasma treatments within a few weeks, and results can last a year or more, Mason said.
Mason said she wanted to start offering this treatment for women because there are several medications on the market to help men, such as Viagra for erectile dysfunction. But there are hardly any for women.
“We need to get to a point where we’re not afraid to talk about this,” Mason said. “So many women don’t want to say to their doctors, ‘hey, I hate sex, I can’t perform this way’ or ‘I can’t feel down there.’”
There is a lot of stigma surrounding sex for women in society compared to men. Men are often praised and held in higher esteem for sexual acts than women, who are often criticized, according to The Sexual Double Standard and Adolescent Peer Acceptance.
“I’m not afraid to talk about sex,” Mason said. “I want to bring to light more about how our sexual relationships, sexuality, suffers as women.”