Non-ablative Er:YAG Laser Therapy Effect on Stress Urinary Incontinence Related to Quality of Life and Sexual Function: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Mija Blaganje, Darija Scepanovic, Lidija Žgur, Ivan Verdenik, Franja Pajk, Adolf Lukanovic
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 224 (2018):153–158

Objective: Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a common complaint in women after childbirth. It affects their quality of life and sexual satisfaction and is one of the major reasons for gynaecological surgery. There is a need for effective non-invasive treatment alternatives. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of non-ablative Er:YAG laser therapy in the treatment of SUI and improvement of sexual gratification in parous women.

Study design: 114 premenopausal parous women with SUI were randomized in two groups of 57 women; a laser intervention group and sham group. Both groups were treated according to the IncontiLase® clinical treatment protocol for SUI with non-ablative thermal-only Er:YAG laser, except that there was no energy output when treating the sham group. Patients were blinded to the allocation. At baseline and 3 months after treatment patients were clinically examined, answered questionnaires for SUI severity and sexual function assessment and their pelvic floor muscle (PFM) function was assessed with perineometry. Validated International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire – Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF) was used as the primary outcome measure. The Pelvic Organ Prolapse Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire short form (PISQ-12) and The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) were used to assess the sexual function. Patients were monitored for discomfort and side-effects during treatment and follow-up period.

Results: 3 months after treatment the ICIQ-UI SF (p < 0.001), PISQ-12 (p = 0.014) and FSFI (p = 0.025) scores were significantly more improved in the laser group than in the sham control group. All perineometry variables improved in the laser group after treatment; duration and maximum pressure had statistically significantly better improvement than the sham group, whereas average pressure did not. 21% of laser treated patients were dry (ICIQ-UI SF = 0) at follow up compared to only 4% of the sham control patients. No serious adverse effects were observed or reported. The treatment was well tolerated by patients.

Conclusions: The non-ablative Er:YAG laser therapy improves the impact of SUI symptoms on quality of life and sexual function in premenopausal parous women significantly better than placebo. It provides a promising minimally-invasive safe treatment alternative for SUI.

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