Who is a candidate for platelet-rich plasma intimate injections for chronic bladder or urethral pain?
● Women seeking relief from chronic bladder or urethral pain, who had little previous success with conventional treatments
● Women who experience dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
● Women with persistent vulvar lichen sclerosus
How does a platelet-rich plasma treatment work?
Platelet-rich plasma injections represent a major advancement in regenerative medicine.
Platelet-rich plasma injections offer an innovative and promising treatment. Although few studies have been published and little research has been done, these injections are used in various areas of medicine, such as sports medicine, to manage certain injuries. Platelet-rich plasma is also increasingly used during surgery to accelerate healing after certain procedures.
In the field of esthetic medicine, platelet-rich plasma is a significant asset when it comes to treating stretch marks, as it stimulates the production of collagen by fibroblasts. Injecting platelet-rich plasma into the scalp reinforces the anchoring of grafts and stimulates hair follicles in the treatment of alopecia. platelet-rich plasma infiltrations are also used as a rejuvenation treatment for the face and in esthetic breast procedures.
The concept of this treatment is relatively simple. It consists of drawing blood and running it through a centrifuge device approved by Health Canada to isolate platelet-rich plasma from the blood. This is referred to as an autologous procedure. The blood is separated into two substances; the red blood cells sink to the bottom and the serum rises to the top. The serum is the substance of interest, as it’s filled with platelets that have released growth factors under the effects of the centrifuge. It stimulates healing through the repair or regeneration of various tissues using platelets, growth factors and other chemical markers present in high concentrations.
Platelet-rich plasma can be used as a veritable regenerative injection therapy, and this substance has the ability to restore damaged tissue. The colour of the plasma can vary from dark yellow to pale yellow depending on the concentration of lipids.
How does a platelet-rich plasma injection help treat chronic bladder or urethral pain?
One of the growth factors of platelet-rich plasma (of the more than 20 known ones) is the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
A platelet-rich plasma injection into the clitoral corpora cavernosa, the periurethral region or the anterior vaginal wall seems to stimulate the regeneration of blood vessels, nerves and tissues. This allows these areas to become healthier and more functional with regards to sexual response and urinary continence.
This treatment also helps the targeted tissues become more supple, sensitive and elastic, as well as increasingly lubricated when stimulated.
Therefore, platelet-rich plasma leads to a rejuvenation of vulvar tissues, increased sensitivity and enhanced orgasmic response. Other reported benefits include less painful intercourse and fewer urinary issues such as a decrease or elimination of stress urinary incontinence among some patients.
How many sessions of platelet-rich plasma are needed to reduce the symptoms of pain?
For many patients, two sessions have proven to be sufficient to enjoy noticeable improvements in vaginal atrophy, with less dryness and better vaginal lubrication. At Cliniques Marois, we recommend two to three platelet-rich plasma treatments, with a month of recovery time between sessions. Our pricing has been adjusted accordingly to maximize patient satisfaction and the efficacy of the treatment.
What are the risks and potential complications of an intimate platelet-rich plasma infiltration?
Platelet-rich plasma treatments have no known interactions with medication or effects on cardiovascular health. There are no absolute contraindications. For example, taking anticoagulants isn’t a reason to avoid the procedure; it’ll simply increase the likelihood of bruising.
Temporary skin reactions at the platelet-rich plasma injection site are possible. These may include redness, slight discomfort, swelling and bruising.
What is the recovery time for a platelet-rich plasma injection?
Despite possible discomfort, normal activities can be resumed following the procedure. Many patients return to work the same day. However, it’s advisable to wait 48 hours before engaging in sexual activities. Daily physical activity is recommended to stimulate blood flow, so engage in daily exercise, such as going for a brisk three- to five-kilometre walks.
How long do platelet-rich plasma injections last in terms of their effect on bladder or urethral pain?
Most women notice an increasingly favourable response over the course of several weeks. Improvements can also endure for several months or several years before a new injection is needed. In general, the effects of a platelet-rich plasma infiltration are relatively long-lasting, between 12 and 18 months.
A follow-up injection can be administered as needed.