Female urinary tract
One in 10 women experience leackage on a regular basis. And the problem, caused most commonly by pregnancy and childbirth, does not get better with age. Incontinence occurs for a number of reasons that are related to the bladder or bladder sphincter (a thick muscle that controls the flow of urine out of the bladder). Although aging itself does not cause incontinence, normal changes that occur in the urinary and genital system as people age make this condition more common in the elderly. For example, the bladder and muscles that support the bladder tend to sag with age, making it more difficult to store urine. In addition, some medications administered to older people for various illnesses (arthritis and stroke, for example) can increase the likelihood of bladder problems and lead to incontinence. Anything that causes trauma to the pelvic floor – vaginal childbirth the most common example – may produce urinary stress incontinence.

Urine is voided from the bladder through the urethra. The urethrra is about three centimeters long and is very close to the front wall of the vagina. Urine is kept in the bladder by a ring of muscle around where the urethra opens into the bladder (the bladder neck). Continence is also dependent on the muscle support of the bladder by the pelvic floor. Coughing and sneezing increases pressure inside the abdomen and bladder, forcing urine out. Normally, this urine remains inside your body because the top of the urethra/bladder neck is also squeezed by the same pressure. When the bladder fills up to a certain prssure, a signal tells the brain to empty the bladder. You then relax your urethra muscle and pelvic diaphragm. At the same time, the muscle in the bladder wall contracts and urine is passed.

Three Types of Incontinence, and Pelvic Drop
There are three types of urinary incontinence: Stress Incontinence, Urge Incontinence and Mixed Urinary Incontinence. LVRâ and its related procedures are designed to address only Stress Incontinence caused by pelvic relaxation, and it is not necessarily the treatment of first resort. If you suffer from some form of urinary incontinence, it is important that you undergo testing by a physician to determine the specific type of incontinence, and that you discuss various treatment options before deciding upon surgery. Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation will not only repair the weakened tissues responsible for pelvic relaxation (and often stress urinary incontinence), but can also enhance sexual gratification. For this reason, many women opt for LVR® in order to “kill two birds with one stone”.
How can you tell if any of your pelvic organs have fallen out of place? This depends on which organs are affected, but you may experience a feeling of heaviness and fullness. Small or moderate amounts of urine may be lost with normal physical activities such as laughing, coughing, walking, or running. If incontinence is caused by pelvic drop issues, your doctor may diagnose one or more of the following disorders:

a) Cystocele. A cycstocele (or “fallen bladder”) occurs when the bladder falls or descends from its normal position. The most common symptom associated with cystocele is stress urinary incontinence. One could also experience difficulty in completely emptying the bladder. This can be associated with bladder infections. Large cystoceles can canuse the bladder to overfill and allow small amounts of urine to leak. Leakage is most comon durng activity such as walking or bouts of coughing. A cystocele is mild (grade 1) when the bladder drops only a short way into the vagina: a more severe (grade 2) cystocele means that the bladder has sunk into the vagina far enough to reach the opening of the vagina. The most advanced (grade 3) cystocele occurs when the bladder bulges through the opening of the vagina;

b) Urethrocele. This usually occurs in conjunction with a cystocele. Both of these conditions result in, among other things, involuntary loss of urine, particularly when there is increased pressure in the abdomen, caused by walking, jumping, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or sudden movements;

c) Rectocele. Rectoceles happen when the rectum bulges into or out of the vaginal wall. Rectoceles and enteroceles develop when the lower pelvic muscles become damaged by pregnancy, labor, childbirth, previous pelvic surgery, or when the muscles are weakened by aging. On rare occasions, a rectocele or enterocele are present at birth. These conditions may occur together, especially in a woman who has had a hystectomy; 

d) Enterocele, An enterocele occurs when the small intestine push through the upper wall of the vagina.

In mild cases of cycstoceles, treatment options range from no treatment to recommendations that the patient avoid heavy lifting or straining that could cause the condition to worsen. If symptons are moderate to bothersome, a doctor may suggest non-surgical or surgical solutions. Because rectoceles and enteroceles are defects in the pelvic supporting tissue, not in the bowel wall, they are treated most successfully with surgery that repairs the vaginal wall. This closes the area of prolapse into the vagina and strengthens the wall of the vagina to prevent relapse from recurring. Unless there is another health problem that requires an abdominal incision, rectoceles and enteroceles are usually repaired through the vagina.

LVR® can correct both pelvic relaxation and pelvic support defects.

last update 10/05/2011