More and more women are undergoing treatment for vaginal rejuvenation

The text is based on an article in the Daily Mail. Original Article – report from two British clinics and opinions of a number of specialists, aims to introduce the main trends in the presentation of current vaginal procedures.

Increased demand for vaginal rejuvenation treatments

The search for the so-called vaginal rejuvenation has grown by 40% since 2015, with the market valued at £20m. Labiaplasty, in which the skin on either side of the vagina is reduced to improve appearance, is the most sought-after cosmetic surgery in the world, four times more common than in the previous five years. In the UK, hundreds of clinics now offer non-surgical treatments using injections, lasers and other methods to tighten and restore the intimate area.

Evidence for the efficacy and safety of this type of procedure is still limited. But celebrities are already talking. Star Kim Kardashian shares openly about the “tightening and smoothing” procedure of her private parts. Another driving force is the reality TV show Love Island, where young women are shown in skimpy swimwear and leave little to the imagination.

The patients seeking this type of service, surprisingly or not, are mostly ordinary, middle-class women seeking relief from damaged vaginal tissue or a weak pelvic floor caused by menopause or childbirth.

The cost of treatment in the UK is up to £1,200.

Dr. Shirin Lakhani of clinic owner of sexual rejuvenation clinic Elite Aesthetics, explains that the main problems she encounters are incontinence and vaginal atrophy, thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls, which affects one in seven menopausal women and causes discomfort, especially during sex. “Women run businesses, go on dates, have active sex lives. Why do they have to go through painful sex and incontinence for half their lives?’

Injection procedures

‘The O-Shot’ – also known as platelet rich plasma therapy is a shock dose of proteins extracted from the patient’s blood. The purpose of this “cocktail” is to thicken and tighten damaged vaginal tissue and thereby increase sensitivity during sex. The practice is still considered “controversial” because there is a lack of rich evidence. Much of the research on it was conducted by Dr. Charles Runnels, an American physician who authored the therapy.

Nora Nugent, consultant in plastic surgery and representative of the British Association for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery says: “There is a risk of bleeding, bruising and infection and there is still no firm evidence that it is safe or effective.”

It is a fact, however, that the feedback of a huge number of patients is about an increased quality of sexual pleasure.

In the battle with intimate discomfort, hormone replacement therapies help, but do not correct sagging and tearing of the skin, and pelvic floor exercises do not work successfully for everyone.

Injection procedures

‘The O-Shot’ – also known as platelet rich plasma therapy is a shock dose of proteins extracted from the patient’s blood. The purpose of this “cocktail” is to thicken and tighten damaged vaginal tissue and thereby increase sensitivity during sex. The practice is still considered “controversial” because there is a lack of rich evidence. Much of the research on it was conducted by Dr. Charles Runnels, an American physician who authored the therapy.

Nora Nugent, consultant in plastic surgery and representative of the British Association for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery says: “There is a risk of bleeding, bruising and infection and there is still no firm evidence that it is safe or effective.”

It is a fact, however, that the feedback of a huge number of patients is about an increased quality of sexual pleasure.

In the battle with intimate discomfort, hormone replacement therapies help, but do not correct sagging and tearing of the skin, and pelvic floor exercises do not work successfully for everyone.

Fillers, peels, search for… perfection

A growing trend in the British market is the offering of cosmetics, lotions and potions that promise to make the labia plumper and more symmetrical. The cost of such a product usually exceeds £500.

There are practices where hyaluronic acid or own fat is injected into the labia majora (the outer folds of the vulva) to “tighten” sagging skin and improve symmetry. But the color of the labia and inner thighs can also be changed, using either acids or lasers to destroy the pigment in the skin.

Among the most sought-after procedures is an “intimate” chemical peel that reverses “dark and sagging” skin, altered due to the lack of estrogen. The lightening is at least two shades. Within a week, the darker top layer of skin falls off completely to reveal a lighter, softer layer underneath.

Dr. Lakhani wrote: “Women of all ages are removing pubic hair these days. So you can see everything, and some women don’t like it when things start to change with age.”

Sometimes, however, there is no objective or medical reason for patients to undergo it, experts say. Offering these types of procedures perpetuates myths that the way women’s bodies look naturally is wrong. In some cases, Dr. Lakhani dissuades visitors by showing them photos of healthy vaginas that look different next to one. The goal is for them to see for themselves that they are indeed normal.

Treatment of incontinence: is it safe?

And while cosmetic interventions and the often baseless arguments behind them are a subject of many questions from a medical point of view, incontinence is definitely a serious personal and social problem for women.

Laser treatment is gaining speed and reporting an achievement in the quality of life of patients. Officially, however, the data is still being commented on as contradictory. The main concerns are related to the burnout hypothesis. Dr Adeola Olaitan, Consultant Gynecologist at University College London said: ‘They are considered safe if lasers are used correctly, although some carry a higher risk of burns. I know post-menopausal patients who have found that lasers have helped them with vaginal dryness.’

The beauty industry is highly unregulated, meaning anyone can carry out these procedures, Britons share their concerns. Just like you don’t need a qualification to inject Botox.

The subject of applying intimate therapies is provocative and contains, apart from medical, also a moral and social aspect. Seen in this way, questions such as how much change is necessary, often traumatic, instead of the woman accepting herself, the changes that happen to her with age and as a result of events in her life, are on the agenda.

At the Esteline clinic, we share the idea that personal choice is leading, competent medical opinion is natural, and emotional support and discussion with each patient is mandatory.