6 Innovations in Treatment for Urogenital Health
Here, the latest innovations in treatment for urogenital health—urinary and sexual—from high-tech to topical.
Not sure if the big screen is the chicken or the egg for vaginal rejuvenation but after getting a nod in Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s 2015 flick, Sisters, surely we can say it’s officially mainstream. In fact, Health Canada recently approved CO2 laser treatment for genitourinary syndrome of menopause – what used to be referred to as vaginal atrophy.
Dr. Susan Benzaquen, chief of obstetrics and gynecology for Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital in Ontario, says the laser works by stimulating vaginal tissue to “remodel itself.” She uses MonaLisa Touch (smilemonalisa.ca) and, other than “little pulses of air” says her patients feel no discomfort during each five-minute session, of which they get three six weeks apart at a total estimated cost of $2,100. The MonaLisa probe creates “dots of damage” that incite a healing response, producing more collagen, more elastin and new blood vessels.
The technology has been used in dermatology to rejuvenate the face, neck and chest so it’s nothing new to Dr. Elizabeth Lourens, medical director and co-owner of Calgary’s Age Management Institute. She spends half her time on cosmetic medicine and the other half treating pre-, peri- and post-menopausal women.
Lourens uses a integrated approach with her patients, which can include exercise, nutrition, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and Femilift (www.almalasers.com/us/femi lift), another CO2 laser brand. Femilift treatments include three sessions typically and an individual probe cover for an estimated total of $3,000.
And because the front wall of the vagina is less than a centimetre away from the bladder, the laser can also help rejuvenate bladder tissue to improve urinary incontinence – a condition more than half of Lourens’ patients also experience.
GENTLEMEN, RESTART YOUR ENGINES
For erectile dysfunction, there’s the plainly named ED1000 (ED1000.ca). The key to how it works is low-intensity shock wave therapy that induces neovascularization – growth of new blood vessels in the penis.
Women with mild to moderate stress urinary incontinence (SUI) have another alternative, and it’s just a drugstore away. Poise, the makers of absorbent pads and liners launched Impressa Bladder Supports in Canada earlier this year: a tampon-like device made of felixible silicon that, once inserted into the vagina, slightly compresses the urethra to help prevent leakage when a woman increases intra-abdominal pressure, i.e., laughing, coughing, sneezing, jumping or even walking.
Poise Impressa comes in three different sizes for varying degrees of prolapse (falling of the bladder muscles) and can be worn for up to eight hours a day. Or it can be worn just when needed.
Spokesperson Dr. Jennifer Berman, a California-based urologist and regular on CBS’s The Doctors, says women start avoiding exercise, and that can make matters worse as being overweight increases the risk of SUI. “It’s all about the freedom it gives women to not only wear clothing that’s close-fitted but also to swim or be able to engage in the activities they used to, without fear about leakage,” she says.
IT’S A GUY THING
As the medical director of the prostate cancer rehabilitation clinic at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), Dr. Dean Elterman also treats men for incontinence. It’s one of the two most common side effects – the other being ED.