LASERS have started being used in Newcastle to fight two extremely common but unpleasant conditions: snoring and urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence, or poor bladder control, affects up to 37per cent of Australian women and is commonly associated with pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
It’s also estimated that around 20per cent of the population snores at night – sometimes a symptom of significant sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnoea.
In recent months lasers have become available as an alternative to surgery.
Dr Guy Kinsella from Novocastrian Skin Cancer Clinic has been providing the service since March.
‘‘It’s all very new technology [using laser in this way] which started in 2012,’’ he said.
‘‘What I’m coming across are doctors who have no idea about it because it’s such a new procedure.’’
The lasers work to treat snoring by strengthening tissue in the throat.
Dr Kinsella warned that it probably wouldn’t help patients who were overweight, had a thick bull neck or suffered from severe sleep apnoea, though.
With urinary incontinence, the laser shrinks and tightens the tissue in the vagina area and around the urethra.
Dr Kinsella warned that the treatment was not a permanent fix, with top ups most likely to be needed within a couple of years.
He said he’d used laser with about 10 patients for both snoring and incontinence, in each case making a difference in nine out of 10.
The laser treatment has been useful for Craig Duncan, of Cameron Park who had severe snoring. He said it was now only about 10per cent as bad as it used to be.
‘‘I had a sleep test a few years ago and I do have sleep apnoea and significant snoring,’’ he said.
‘‘It was increasingly becoming a problem – according to my wife. I started to see results a week after the treatment and each treatment was a successive decrease.’’
Megan Sutherland, of Garden Suburb, has had the laser treatment for urinary incontinence, brought on after giving birth to her second baby.
She finds the issue is largely resolved now.
‘‘I would say it has worked 99per cent for me,’’ she said.