Treating Female Stress Incontinence with Lasers
Unfortunately, urinary incontinence is a common condition among mothers and aging women and can affect people at any age. The good news is that today’s technology is offering women effective non-surgical treatment solutions.
Laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising or any overly full bladder can spell disaster for women struggling with stress incontinence. The involuntary loss of control because of physical exertion, pressure, or urgency is largely associated with weak pelvic muscles. This important network of muscles supports the bladder, but it often loses strength with age. Hormonal changes following menopause can affect collagen production in the connective tissues and lower urinary tract causing pelvic floor dysfunction. Events like childbirth, pelvic surgery, and injury are also major factors.
This condition can be extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing with some patients suffering psychologically and socially. There is currently a wide range of treatment options for urinary incontinence including pelvic physiotherapy and surgical procedures. Now, painless vaginal laser treatment is also an option.
Advantages of Laser Therapy
The benefits of laser therapy over other treatment options for this condition are numerous. This minimally invasive, non-surgical method can quickly and effectively improve the underlying causes and symptoms associated with urinary stress incontinence. Studies have shown that the laser procedure is an effective long-lasting solution for both pre- and post-menopausal women of all ages. It is painless and doesn’t cause inflammation in the area.
In fact, laser treatment options are quickly becoming the recommended initial incontinence treatment method. Before turning to surgery, which can have adverse complications, many healthcare providers advise patients to try laser solutions first. It can be performed in a doctor’s office or clinic, without requiring a surgical setting and general anesthesia. Also, laser therapy provides noticeable improvement in a short amount of time without the need for following a long-term physiotherapy schedule.
Laser Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence
There are two main types of lasers that are being used to treat urinary incontinence; these include the microablative fractional CO2-laser and non-ablative photothermal Erbium: YAG-laser.
The CO2 laser was the first laser developed and applied, using the microablative fractional mode, for the vaginal treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and female urinary incontinence. The procedure causes a thermal effect that stimulates the production of collagen in the targeted tissues. Following treatment, this collagen production works to resurface and restore the connective tissues in the vagina.
This pain-free procedure only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to perform. For best results, practitioners should schedule a series of three treatments about 4 weeks apart. Follow-up sessions may be required after 1 to 2 years in order to maintain the results.
During the in-office, non-surgical, non-invasive procedure, the CO2 laser probe is inserted into the vagina and sends pulses of energy which heats the surrounding tissues and collagen fibers. Afterward, patients are ready to return to their normal daily activities.
Successful therapy shows noticeable improvement in multiple ways:
- Increased firmness and elasticity of the tissues,
- More blood circulation in the area,
- Better muscle tone and support of the urethra,
- Decreased symptoms of urinary incontinence,
- Greater amount of natural lubrication,
- Improved sensibility in the vagina,
- Restored vaginal function.
Manufacturers typically boast of an 85% success rate for treating urinary incontinence. Third-party clinical research has shown that fractional CO2 laser therapy is a safe and practical treatment for pelvic floor restoration and stress urinary incontinence which seems to provide an advantageous minimally-invasive alternative to surgery.
The other category of laser device being used for this type of procedure is the non-ablative Er:YAG-laser. This type of laser ablates with high precision. In fact, one of the main advantages in using Er:YAG lasers in gynecology is that it works in a targeted area without heating surrounding tissues. The treatment leads to shrinking of the upper layers of the vaginal wall and tightening the lower pelvic floor tissues. In the six months following the procedure, the laser exposure improves the collagen structure and triggers the neocollagenesis processes.
During the procedure, the laser is used in the non-ablative mode for thermal-only operation, between 60-65˚C. The Er:YAG laser ablates the area with micron-level accuracy and minimal thermal conduction and residual thermal damage. Energy penetrates deep, with an incremental thermal effect. Unlike the CO2 laser, it doesn’t cause superficial vaporization. For best results, at least one follow-up sessions is recommended.
After two sessions of non-ablative Er:YAG-laser treatment, studies have shown that women experience significant improvement in the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. Patients who had been diagnosed with very severe UI prior to the procedure showed the greatest degree of improvement. Positive results were seen for women of all ages included in the research study. Clinicians have concluded that this minimally invasive, non-surgical, non‐ablative laser treatment can be a safe and successful way to treat the condition.
Laser Service Solutions Should be Your Laser Device Supplier of Choice
Laser Service Solutions is your complete laser equipment supplier. We offer pre-owned sales and leases of the most advanced equipment. Our team of experienced laser technicians provides reliable, and affordable, service and repairs and our extensive stock inventory of replacement parts keeps your laser stays up and running. Call us at (856) 853-7555 to ask about our laser equipment supply and services.
- Ryan Koenig