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Experimental observations indicate that the occurrence of optical self-pulsation in proton delineated stripe-geometry double-heterostructure junction lasers is related to the degree of gain guiding inherent in individual lasers. We show that an aging process occurs during lasing operation which has the effect of partially annealing the proton induced carrier removal concentration at the edges of the active stripe of the laser. In some lasers, the magnitude of this annealing effect is sufficiently large to flatten the active stripe carrier concentration profile thus reducing filament stability leading ultimately to optical self-pulsation. It is shown that the carrier concentration profile modification is due to the dual effects of decreasing the nonradiative current component at the active stripe-proton bombarded interface as well as the geometric effect of increasing the laser active stripe width. This latter effect may be also responsible for some portion of laser threshold current increase observed during device operation.