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Intimate laser treatment without taboos

Interview

In addition to incontinence, intimate laser treatment also provides a solution to many other problems, and with its help we can even avoid surgery and improve our quality of life. The affected age group is wider than we might think. Intimate laser treatment can provide a long-term solution to the discomfort caused by incontinence and hormonal changes too. Dr. Illés Balogh, a gynecologist at Dr. Rose Private Hospital, answers questions that affect many of us.

WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS CAN INTIMATE LASER TREATMENT SOLVE?

Intimate laser treatment has become a common practice in today’s world. It is used to treat incontinence in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women who have a urinary retention problem when they cough or sneeze, so specifically to treat stress incontinence. It is also used to treat women for whom intercourse is painful (dyspareunia) or who experience vaginal dryness during this point in their lives. However, there are also complaints in younger people, as very mild forms of incontinence can impair quality of life: for example, a younger woman having to use a panty liner while running, so that any minor incontinence is not disturbing, then it is already worth thinking about laser treatment, as this can also prevent future problems. So, there are no age limits for intimate laser treatment in this sense - the age range for whom it can be effective in improving quality of life is very broad.

After childbirth, it is almost systematic that involuntary urination can occur for a few weeks, but with strengthening exercises this condition can be corrected very well, in which case physiotherapists have a huge role to play in preventing this problem from developing permanently. If the complaints do not go away, it is worth thinking about starting intimate laser treatments in good time. Before the treatments, the condition of the vaginal epithelium is examined by ultrasound in each case: its thickness and structure. The study can be used to determine if laser treatment is really needed and, if necessary, then it is most likely to have a beneficial effect.

HOW DOES LASER TREATMENT WORK?

In laser treatments, we use a wavelength of laser light that penetrates the vaginal epithelium without absorption, so it causes neither heat nor pain. The laser light exerts its heat effect in the connective tissue below the vaginal epithelium. Prior to treatment, we measure the condition of the tissue via an ultrasound examination, and this determines the energy used. After this, the laser device is adjusted: we select the depth to which the laser light penetrates and the kind of heat zone in which the treatment is to take place. During the procedure, the energy does not reach the entire treated surface, but only certain points, without pain or discomfort. Intimate laser treatment contracts the connective tissue due to the effect of heat and stimulates the collagen fibers responsible for the elasticity of the mucosa. Thus, the regeneration and replacement of cells begins immediately, the vaginal wall becomes thicker, and intimate body areas regain their youthful elasticity. Strong collagen fibers provide adequate support for the bladder, thus its functioning becomes healthy again. This heat effect lasts for about a week and then gradually fades. Regeneration then begins, and a network of new collagen fibers is formed. This results in lasting improvement.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF INTIMATE LASER TREATMENT AND HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN THE RESULT ACHIEVED?

The flattened, thinned and discolored tissue becomes strengthened flexible tissue after the treatments, and this newly formed elasticity causes the vagina to recover - in the case of vaginal width - a sense of vaginal narrowing. A very robust normal healthy youthful tissue develops, which also changes in color, so it transforms from a previously grayer, dull tissue into a ruddy tissue. The treated area will not be narrower, as it is not a matter of us excising, sewing together or scarring tissue, but it will be more elastic, and this tighter vaginal feeling will be felt by patients regardless of age. The course of treatments is highly dependent on age and the body's ability to regenerate. Thus, at a younger age, this effect is more likely to occur with a shorter treatment regimen, while older patients will need more treatment. The difference between the two age groups, between the hormonally active and the hormonally inactive groups, in terms of laser treatment is that in younger women the result can be stabilized in accordance with the effect of the hormone, but in older age groups it is worthwhile reinforcing the established condition with a consolidating treatment every 18 months as the effectiveness of laser treatment decreases with the passing of time.

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