Urinary stress incontinence — the involuntary loss of bladder control, i.e. the inability to keep urine from leaking out of the urethra, which is the tube that removes urine from the bladder — affects millions of women around the world. Some women may leak urine occasionally while others may be unable to hold urine at all. Urinary stress incontinence commonly occurs after childbearing years.
Dr. David Ghozland, a pioneer in pelvic reconstruction surgery, is happy to introduce the most innovative, non-surgical first-line therapy for women suffering from urinary stress incontinence.
What is FDA-approved non-surgical urinary stress incontinence treatment?
A fractional CO2 laser, an intravaginal device, is used to cause collagen breakdown along the periurethral tissues, i.e. soft tissues surrounding the urethra. Enough collagen breakdown can minimize symptoms of urinary stress incontinence without ever undergoing surgery. The intravaginal device allows Dr. Ghozland to target specifically the area of the vagina that will cause vaginal tightening and enhanced bladder support.
Traditionally, surgical solutions for urinary stress incontinence include the insertion of a mesh or sling. Women should attempt this non-surgical option before undergoing surgery, which can pose risks like erosion of the mesh or sling through tissue. Surgical options can be explored if this first-line treatment does not provide desired results for patients.
The benefits of non-surgical, FDA-approved treatment using a fractional CO2 laser include:
- No downtime
- No pain medications
- No anesthesia
- No mesh or sling
- Nearly zero complications with excellent results
- Brief 10-minute sessions
What is involved with non-surgical urinary incontinence laser treatment?
Each treatment with the fractional CO2 laser takes less than 10 minutes. Treatments are completed one month apart from each other for a minimum of three treatments. Depending on the severity of a woman’s urinary stress incontinence, up to six treatments may be needed. Dr. Ghozland and the patient will assess progress following a set number of treatments. If there are persisting symptoms that are causing poor quality of life, surgical options can be explored.
This process is a first-line treatment option with phenomenal results. Patients may be candidates for surgery should non-surgical treatment provide inadequate results. Surgery should be considered a backup solution when it comes to urinary stress incontinence.
What is the common age range of women looking for non-surgical treatment?
Women typically seek solutions for urinary stress incontinence in their late 30s, 40s and 50s; however, Dr. Ghozland has treated patients in their 20s who had children early in life.
What is involved with recovery?
It is important to note that there is no downtime involved with fractional CO2 laser treatments for urinary stress incontinence. Patients will not have to worry about anesthesia or surgery complications. No pain medication will be needed. Patients are not pre-medicated. There are no intraoperative medications or post-operative medications.
Women can return to work immediately. Sexual activity can be resumed almost immediately post-treatment. It is recommended that patients wait 48 hours before engaging in intercourse.
Are there additional benefits to non-surgical urinary stress incontinence treatments?
The success rate for treating urinary stress incontinence is extremely high with the fractional CO2 laser. These non-surgical treatments provide additional benefits to women. Patients typically feel a much firmer, tighter vagina and enhanced vaginal lubrication. The latter occurs due to the breakdown of collagen that ultimately forms new collagen; thus, tissues with new collagen are able to lubricate easier.
In addition, women receiving this tightening, non-surgical treatment may even prevent urinary stress incontinence before it occurs.
Why would I not be able to undergo a non-surgical treatment?
Women on their period or suffering from a vaginal infection will have to delay their non-surgical urinary stress incontinence treatment. Also, women should not be on blood thinners. The procedure will be discussed with a physician prior to its scheduling. A free consultation with a physician can be scheduled to discuss non-surgical treatment options — the newest model for nonsurgical vaginal tightening that treats urinary incontinence.
What are some other facts about urinary stress incontinence?
Urinary stress incontinence results from a lack of support from the pelvic diaphragm and a weakening urethra. Woman commonly notice an inability to hold their urine when laughing, coughing, sneezing or engaging in exercise. Symptoms tend to worsen over time.
As mentioned, childbirth is a common cause of urinary stress incontinence. However, menopause also can trigger symptoms since ovaries cease producing estrogen. A lack of estrogen results in thinner tissues that line the urethra, a weakened sphincter mechanism that opens/closes the urethra and weaker bladder muscles.
Factors that can worsen urinary stress incontinence symptoms include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Chronic coughing or sneezing
- Smoking, which can cause excessive coughing
- Diabetes, which can cause excessive urine production and nerve damage
- Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol
- Medications that cause increased urine production
- Sports and exercise
To schedule a free consultation, call Dr. Ghozland’s Santa Monica office at (310) 393-9359