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World Continence Week

Last week was World Continence Week, and this year’s theme was ‘Incontinence is no laughing matter”. Incontinence is a condition that effects a large number of ladies, particularly as they get older – as many as 25% of women over the age of 50 have problems with continence.  and it’s a condition that is now treatable in a non surgical way. Statistics show that in 2010, there were 4.2 million Australians with urinary incontinence, and 80% of these were women. Perhaps surprisingly, although it’s a condition that’s more commonly thought of as effecting older women, half of these women were under the age of 50. This actually makes it more common than arthritis, anxiety or asthma – a pretty surprising statistic.

Mona Lisa Touch is a laser treatment which Dr Jayson Oates, Medical Director of Academy Laser Clinics has been using effectively to treat incontinence. Whilst suffering, many women don’t do any thing about it – there’s often a sense that this is just part of life – part of getting older and something that has to lived with. It leads to negative impacts on women’s lives with them being careful about laughing too much or coughing, not being able to go for a run, or join in fun activities with children. There’s always the worry in the back of people’s mind that they can’t be too far from a toilet or let their bladder get too full or they’ll be caught out. Before opting for a laser treatment however, there are a number of lifestyle factors that can help – avoiding being over weight, having a good diet and avoiding constipation, which puts more pressure on the muscles, will help. Exercising pelvic floor muscles can also be a big help. Many women may be unsure of exactly how to exercise these muscles effectively. There are people that can help however – continence physiotherapists, nurse continence advisors and even personal trainers are able to offer advice and training on how to effectively exercise these muscles.

Dr Oates recommends that women focus on these exercises, but the Mona Lisa Touch is an excellent treatment to combat incontinence and support the work that women are doing through exercise. The Mona Lisa Touch involves shooting thousands of laser beams spaced 1 millimetre apart which penetrate about 1 millimetre into the lining of the vaginal wall. Through heat shock protein, this sets off a rejuvenating process, restoring the wall of the vagina to a more youthful form. Mona Lisa Touch was initially developed to help treat the symptoms of vaginal atrophy in women who had been through menopause – these symptoms include itching, dryness, burning and painful intercourse due to poor lubrication. However, because it restores the vaginal wall to a more youthful state, this also helps with incontinence. It increases the amount of glycogen in the vaginal wall and makes a real improvement in urge and stress incontinence.

Women may be concerned about the procedure being painful, because if the laser treatment is used on the face for skin rejuvenation, there’s a certain amount of heat that can be felt. Internally, the vagina lining has very little by means of pain fibres so it’s not a painful procedure. You may feel a little bit of warmth and a slight vibration from air blowing, but that’s it. Even better, the treatment is quick – it only takes about 5 minutes meaning women can walk in, have the procedure and walk out and carry on with their day. It’s normal for about 3 treatments to be required, but most people will notice a real difference after the first treatment session. Repeat treatments tend to be necessary after about 12 months, but this may be longer for some people. To find out how Dr. Oates and his team can help you reclaim freedom from incontinence in your life, give them a call to arrange a consultation.

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