What is Stress Urinary Incontinence?
Stress incontinence is the unintentional or uncontrollable leakage of urine. In other words, the inability to control your urge to urinate in certain circumstances. It is a serious and embarrassing disorder, which can lead to social isolation. Stress incontinence typically occurs when certain kinds of physical movement puts pressure on your bladder. Laughing, sneezing, coughing, jumping, vigorous exercise, and heavy lifting can all cause stress incontinence. Any pressure placed on the abdomen and bladder can lead to the loss of urine.
Vaginal atrophy or Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), refers to the thinning of the wall of the vagina that often occurs post menopause due to a decrease in estrogen production. GSM can be associated with dryness, burning, itching, discomfort with intercourse and decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity.
What is Vaginal Relaxation?
Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome is the term given to laxity (looseness) of the vaginal wall, which results in an increase in the inner diameter of the vagina. You might also hear this termed as a “loose” or “relaxed” vagina.
This can be the result of the ageing process, hormonal factors, genetics or other causes, but in all cases is commonly associated with a decrease in sexual gratification for both the woman and her partner. Whist the decrease in sexual gratification is probably the major complaint of Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome, VRS is also linked with the other Gynaecological problems such as stress urinary incontinence, anterior-posterior vaginal wall prolapses and so on.
What symptoms should I look out for?
Do you sometimes feel you have not completely emptied your bladder? Do you have to rush to use the toilet? Are you frequently nervous because you think you might lose control of your bladder or bowel? Do you wake up twice or more during the night to go to the toilet? Do you sometimes leak before you get to the toilet? Do you sometimes leak when you lift something heavy? Do you sometimes leak when you exercise or play sport? Do you sometimes leak when you change from a seated or lying position to a standing position? Do you sometimes soil your underwear? Do you plan your daily routine around where the nearest toilet is? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions you may have a bladder or bowel control problem.
What clinical studies have been done to ensure the safety and effectiveness of this treatment?
Hundreds of studies and thousands of patients around the world have had this treatment done. In one study by Dr. Lukac 97.4% of patients were dry after the second treatment and in another study by Dr. Sencar 76% of patients were dry after one treatment and 100% of patients showed improvement.
How many treatments does it take?
The amount of treatments will be determined based on the condition being treated.
Stress Urinary Incontinence – 2 treatments 1 month apart. Subsequently you may consider maintenance treatments once every year or two.
Atrophy or GSM – 4 treatments 1 month apart.
Vaginal laxity – 1 treatment is typically enough.
Am I limited in what can I do after the treatment?
The treatment is non-ablative which means that no mucosal tissue is removed during the treatment. Unlike other ablative treatments that poke holes in the skin, this treatment only heats the skin to cause the effect and does not remove any skin tissue. Your recovery time is immediate and you can resume your daily activities.
It is recommended to avoid heavy lifting for 1 week to achieve best results. Sexual intercourse is not recommended for 1 week after the procedure.
How much will the treatment cost and is it covered by government programs?
Prices will vary based on the doctor that you visit. In general it is less than a winter vacation. The procedure is not covered by government programs and is a user pay service at this time.
What treatments were previously offered to treat Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome?
Vaginal loosening was traditionally treated in an invasive, painful, way, utilizing a combination of vaginal sutures (vaginoplasty) and CO2 laser that ablates (destroys) and damages the lining of the vaginal (the mucosa) and leads to reduction of the vaginal diameter as a result of scar formation during healing.
As the description suggest such a treatment is painful and results in considerable recovery time.
What treatments were previously offered to treat Vaginal Atrophy or GSM?
The treatment options for atrophy due to menopause typically involve hormone therapy.
What treatments were previously offered to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence(SUI)?
Until now SUI was treated non-invasively through muscular training, known as Kegel exercises, which are only marginally effective since they rely on daily compliance. SUI is also treated invasively with a surgical implant known as a Urethral Sling. This procedure requires hospitalization, recovery time and could potentially cause serious complications.
What does the treatment feel like?
The treatment is simlar to having a pap test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina and then the laser is inserted into the speculum. Most women report no discomfort associated with the laser part of the treatment. Some may find the external part of the treatment slightly uncomfortable in which case a topical anesthetic can be applied.
How quickly will I see results?