Laser therapy has a therapeutic role in various medical conditions and most recently has gained interest as a non-hormonal treatment for genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and as a non-invasive option for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Several therapies are available to alleviate GSM symptoms, including hormonal and non-hormonal products. Both microablative fractional CO2 laser and the non-ablative vaginal Er:YAG laser (VEL) induce morphological changes in the vaginal tissues, and data from non-randomized clinical trials suggest that laser therapy can alleviate vaginal dryness and dyspareunia. VEL has been reported to improve SUI as well as vaginal prolapse. Although large randomized trials have not been reported, the evidence suggests that VEL can be offered as a safe and efficacious alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for GSM, as well as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate SUI, before surgical procedures are resorted to. Randomized studies are needed to compare laser treatments with other therapies, as well as to assess the duration of the therapeutic effects and the safety of repeated applications. Research is presently evaluating both an automated robotic probe for VEL treatments and an intraurethral probe for the treatment of severe and type III SUI.
Keywords: Genitourinary syndrome of menopause; Pelvic organ prolapse; Urinary incontinence; Vaginal laser therapy; Vaginal relaxation syndrome.
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