Vaginal rejuvenation has hit the main stream. According to the latest statistics from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there was a 23% increase in the number of labiaplasty procedures performed in the last year alone.
Women are seeking out both surgical and non-surgical procedures at an ever increasing rate to improve the loo, feel and function of their vagina. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christine Hamori of Duxbury, MA discusses the various aspects of vaginal rejuvenation and the ways in which it can truly make a positive change in a patient’s life.
Why Vaginal Rejuvenation?
Vaginal rejuvenation has taken off. “It seems like everything that’s hot is below the belt right now,” shares Dr. Hamori. Why are women suddenly becoming more open about that area? Pubic hair certainly plays a part. Thanks to the advent of the “Brazilian” wax, women are more aware of the look of their vagina than at any other time in history. Concurrently, women are claiming the right to be as sexually active and happy as men. For years, men have had Viagra to help them with an ebbing sex drive. Now, there are medications hitting the market to help women, particularly menopausal women, enjoy sex more. Not only do patients want to look good down there, but these procedures can actually help function.
From the Outside In
For most patients seeking vaginal rejuvenation, it starts from the outside in. The most common concern is when the labia minora or vaginal lips, dangle below the labia majora or outer lips. It can be physically uncomfortable, even painful. Patients complain of feeling self-conscious in their workout clothes. They don’t want to wear a swimsuit or walk around their bedroom nude. Most patients come in saying that they just want to feel lean and sexy down there.
There are some surgical options:
- labia majora reduction
- clitoral hood reduction
- labial fat grafting
A labiaplasty is probably the most common; it is a procedure in which the plastic surgeon trims the edges of the labia minora to make them flush with the labia majora.
Surgical & Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation Options
Internally, the issues with vagina typically center around vaginal laxity. This can result from childbirth, but it can also just be due to aging. Women complain of not feeling as much sensation during sexual intercourse. They don’t feel as if they grip as well, they aren’t enjoying their orgasms as much as they once did, and maybe their partners don’t feel as if they are as “tight.” Thankfully, there are both surgical and non-surgical procedures to rejuvenate the vagina.
The gold standard is a surgical procedure to tighten the vagina that is “similar to a tummy tuck,” explains Dr. Hamori. If you’ve had a baby, the muscles and skin on the abdomen have been stretched out. The same thing happens on the inside of your vagina when a baby comes out. The surgery involves tightening up the muscles that have separated and removing any excess or lax skin on the inside of the vagina.
The non-surgical options include energy-based devices. They can help a bit with looseness, but they are really ideal for treating other other symptoms such as vaginal relaxation or vulva vaginal atrophy, which is a thinning of the mucosa. Procedures such as ThermiVa or Geneveve can help women who are suffering from stress incontinence and urge incontinence without the need for a sling or hormones.
Recovery is a Consideration
Recovery from internal vaginal surgery is a pretty big deal. It’s going to take 6-8 weeks with a fair amount of discomfort. Usually taking off a week of work will be necessary, and patients will need to ice the area and do some kegel exercises. Dr. Hamori gradually eases her patients back to exercise at 3 weeks and sexual activity at 6-8 weeks.
There is no downtime, for the most part, with the non-surgical options. Patients can typically go back to work the next day, but they will need a series of 3 treatments, spaced a month apart and then maintenance treatments at 6-12 months.
The patient satisfaction rate for both surgical and non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures is high. “The patients are so happy,” explains Hamori. “It’s just like a breast reduction or a tummy tuck. You’ve really changed their lives.”