A rise in non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatments is bringing a previously taboo body part into the plastic surgery spotlight. Everyone talks about “putting their best face forward.” Now, women are also beginning to discuss ways to improve a much more private body part.
Plastic surgery procedures aim to boost self-confidence by countering the effects of aging. While the face is an obvious candidate for anti-aging procedures, the truth is women also experience aging down below. Vaginal rejuvenation extends beyond simply improving appearance; functional improvement is real and lasting. According to board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tiffany McCormack, the benefits don’t end in the bedroom.
Have you ever found yourself crossing your legs when you laugh? Have you ever feared an accidental leak during exercise? Along with experiencing increased moisture and tightening in the areas treated, McCormack’s patients have also noted a decrease in urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections.
The Inside Scoop
Vaginal rejuvenation procedures target both the inside and the outside of the vagina. “We have great technology for treating the internal parts,” shares Dr. McCormack. “In my office we utilize FemTouch, which is a CO2 based technology. It typically takes five minutes and we recommend between one and three treatments, several weeks apart, and that’s it.”
A quick ten-minute office visit can yield big results with no pain or downtime. The FemTouch procedure involves no cutting, no bleeding and requires no medications be taken. The laser stimulates collagen production and increases blood flow. It also shrinks tissues and thickens vaginal mucosa – the membrane responsible for moisture and lubrication.
From the Inside Out
Aging, pregnancy and hormones all affect the outward appearance of the vagina. If the color of your vagina has changed over time, you are not alone. With age, the vagina often changes in hue from a healthy pink color, becoming very pale or very dark instead.
“We also treat the external vagina with this laser,” adds McCormack. “We’re able to treat pigmentation, we’re able to help shrink the labia. If someone has excessive labia minora, we can help tighten that.”
Benefits of Laser Rejuvenation:
- Stimulates collagen production
- Increases vascularity
- Tightens Labia Minora
- Increases moisture
- Treats pigmentation issues
Childbirth & the Vagina
It’s a well-known fact that having a baby can wreak havoc on a woman’s private parts. Childbirth can stretch, tear and misshape a woman’s labia. Just prior to giving birth, a surgical cut called an episiotomy is sometimes made to enlarge a woman’s vaginal opening. As the cut heals, a scar remains – a scar that Dr. McCormack is able to treat and improve with the FemTouch laser.
Menopause, Cancer and Vaginal Rejuvenation
Many of Dr. McCormack’s patients who benefit from laser vaginal rejuvenation have a history of breast cancer and are unable to take estrogen for vaginal discomfort. If you experience vaginal dryness but can’t take estrogen, laser rejuvenation can be a nice replacement so you don’t have to suffer those symptoms.
“We also have patients who can take estrogen, but don’t like taking estrogen,” says McCormack. “Those creams can be messy and require a prescription. It’s really nice to have this option to be able to help rejuvenate that part of the body, avoid surgery in some patients and avoid the use of estrogen creams or hormone creams.”
When Non-Surgical Doesn’t Offer Enough of an Improvement
In some cases, a laser isn’t going to cut it. In a situation where more improvement is desired that a non-surgical laser can offer, Dr. McCormack recommends a procedure called a labiaplasty, a surgical procedure designed to reshape and/or excise excess skin of the labia.
“A woman with an elongated inner labia is probably the primary candidate for a labiaplasty,” explains McCormack. An enlarged labia can make exercise and sex uncomfortable or painful. Childbirth, genetics and aging are all common causes of an elongated inner labia. The condition can even make wearing a bathing suit uncomfortable, and is a source of embarrassment for some women.
According to McCormack, labiaplasty is not a high risk surgery. It requires between thirty minutes and an hour in the operating room. In fact, due to the low risks involved and the short operating time, she often adds the procedure on to other, bigger procedures – such as a Mommy Makeover.
For the recovery, after about a week off of work and a three week hiatus from strenuous exercise, most of Dr. McCormack’s patients have fully recovered from the labiaplasty. She does, however, restrict their sexual activity as they heal, telling her patients, “no intercourse for about six weeks.”
“It’s nice that women are talking about these issues now,” points out McCormack. “Especially in light of the fact that we have devices and treatments that can help women. In fact, when I go out to dinner with girlfriends, sometimes I’ll bring it up. Nine out of ten women in the group will have some kind of issue that we can treat with one laser alone – which is pretty freeing.”