What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary Incontinence is involuntary loss of urine. The person will have no control on urine leakage. Vaginal birth is a leading cause of Urinary Incontinence in women. Along with that, age related changes such as the drop in estrogen levels that manage the tissues in the pelvis region also contribute to incontinence post menopause.
What causes Urinary Incontinence?
It has been found that the levels of Type 1 and Type 3 collagen are significantly lower in people suffering from Urinary Incontinence. Also, in post menopausal women, the drop in estrogen levels further depletes the collagen reserves. This leads to loss of strength in pelvis region. It has also been found that as long as the collagen reserves are lower, the symptoms are bound to return.
There are different types of Urinary Incontinence:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence – Urine leaks when the person laughs, coughs or lays stress on the pelvis region such as when lifting weights
- Overactive bladder – A feeling to empty the bladder more frequently
- Overflow Incontinence – Inability to completely empty the bladder
- Mixed Incontinence – a combination of Stress Urinary Incontinence and Overactive bladder.
- Urge Incontinence – Sudden need to urinate.
Typical treatment options for Urinary Incontinence include training the bladder, pelvic floor exercises, changes to lifestyle and some surgical and non surgical medical procedures. For complete information on treatment options for Urinary Incontinence, please visit
Recent technological developments have brought in a more effective, non-invasive procedure to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence – Laser therapy.
Laser therapy for Urinary Incontinence
Non-invasive procedures are first employed to treat Urinary Incontinence. Laser therapy to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence has been gaining popularity during the last decade due to it’s non-invasive nature, shorter recovery time and lower cost. This is done at doctor’s office (clinic) as an outpatient procedure. Recent studies show that laser treatment for treating Stress Urinary Incontinence as a good and effective treatment option. However, long term studies are necessary to confirm that this painless procedure does not have any unwanted side effects in post-menopausal women.
How does laser therapy work in treating Urinary Incontinence?
The energy from pulsed laser beam helps in improving the collagen structure and production of new collagen in the pelvis region. The temperature of the tissues is raised to 63 degree Celsius that results in:
- Contraction of inner lining of the vagina (Vaginal epithelium)
- Encourages the production of collagen
- Formation and development of elastic tissues (Elastogenesis)
- Formation of new blood vessels (Neoangiogenesis)
- Increases the cells that synthesize the produced collagen.
Specific laser devices called Er:YAG laser SMOOTH® (Fotona, Slovenia) is used to functionally strengthen the connecting tissues inside the vaginal wall, improve pelvic floor support and thereby reducing the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Another laser device called CO2 laser system MonaLisa Touch® is used intravaginally.
Benefits of using Er:YAG Laser to treat Urinary Incontinence
- Using Er:YAG controlled heating of collagen in the inner layers of tissues in the pelvis region.
- No chance of overheating of the tissues during the procedure
- Lower risk of injuring other organs in the pelvis region (urethra, bladder or rectum).
- No general anesthesia is needed in this procedure
- Only three sessions are needed once in 3 or 4 weeks.
Side effects of laser treatment for Urinary Incontinence
Side effects are very minor compared to conventional treatment of Urinary Incontinence. They include:
- Sensation of warmth in the pelvis region.
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Very rarely, this procedure may lead to Urge Incontinence. In many cases, the problem vanished in about a week.
What to do and not to do post laser treatment of Urinary Incontinence?
It is advisable to avoid sex for a period of 3 days post the treatment to avoid inflammatory reaction.
Are there any circumstances when laser therapy for urinary incontinence does not work?
Yes, in a certain group of people where Stress Urinary Incontinence has been induced due to the weakening and/or disruption of the pelvic floor muscles and in people whose urethral sphincter has weakened.