Until the advent of vaginal cosmetic procedures, there was no way to effectively or safely alter the size or contours of a woman’s most intimate body parts. Vaginal rejuvenation is one of the fastest growing areas of cosmetic surgery, with more and more women discovering the options for beautifying, rejuvenating and improving the functionality of their vaginas. There are probably several reasons for the jump in popularity.
A woman may wish to change her vaginal anatomy to enhance sexual pleasure, increase confidence or address functionality issues.
- People are grooming their pubic areas more extensively. It has become the norm for women to trim, shave and even entirely remove their pubic hair. This could certainly lead them to be more concerned about how things look down there.
- There’s a new emphasis on self-care for women. There has been a long overdue shift in our culture, and society is learning to appreciate the importance of women taking time out to care for their beauty, health and well-being.
- The procedures are more widely available. Cosmetic surgery for the vagina is a relatively new concept, and many women may not have known it was even an option.
As awareness of vaginal rejuvenation surgery grows, so does the number of women who want to have it.
- The stigma surrounding intimate conversations is disappearing. Women today are generally more comfortable with their bodies and their sexuality. Sex is no longer a taboo subject, and women are more likely to open up about their concerns and desires.
- More women are having mommy makeovers: A mommy makeover is a customized suite of procedures designed to help a woman beautify and restore the parts of her body that have changed from pregnancy or childbirth. Most mommy makeovers include some kind of body contouring such as liposuction or a tummy tuck. They often include a breast lift or breast augmentation as well. Vaginal rejuvenation can be a great addition to a mommy makeover.
Whatever your reasons for being curious about vaginal rejuvenation, use this guide to help answer your questions about before, during and after vaginal cosmetic surgery. Find out helpful information, from how to choose the right surgeon and things to remember as you plan your surgery to what you can expect during recovery.
Deciding Whether Labiaplasty Is Right for You
Labiaplasty can be performed on the labia minora or the labia majora.
The term labiaplasty refers to cosmetic surgery done on the labia, or lips, of the vagina. The aim of the procedure is to change the shape or size of the labia minora, labia majora or both. Each labiaplasty procedure should be carefully tailored to the woman having it. If any of the following statements is true, you may be a good candidate for labiaplasty.
- You have asymmetrical labia majora and would like a more balanced look.
- You are unhappy with large or protruding labia minora.
- Your labial folds cause you to have pain or discomfort during sex.
- The way your labia looks causes you to feel less confident in intimate situations, or even avoid them altogether.
- The shape or size of your labia interferes with activities you enjoy, such as biking or horseback riding.
- You feel physically uncomfortable and/or self-conscious when you wear tight pants.
- You feel that your vaginal anatomy is negatively affecting your sex life and want sex to be more enjoyable for you and your partner.
Labia minora reduction. The labia minora are the inner lips of the vagina. The shape or size of the labia minora are largely determined by genetics. However, they can change over time as a result of aging, hormonal changes and childbirth. The inner vaginal lips vary in size and shape from woman to woman, but those who have large or elongated labia minora can suffer from a range of issues.
The excess skin may cause pain and discomfort, and can cause a woman to feel self-conscious in tight clothing or during sexual situations. During labia minora reduction surgery, a cosmetic surgeon carefully reshapes and resizes the inner vaginal lips to increase functionality and create a more streamlined appearance.Large labia majora are usually the cause of a so-called camel toe.
Labia majora reduction. The labia majora are the outer vaginal lips and, like the labia minora, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Women with large or asymmetrical labia majora may experience discomfort and embarrassment if the labia are large enough to be visible through their clothing. During labia majora reduction, a cosmetic surgeon trims and sculpts the outer vaginal lips to give a more balanced and refined look.
Other Types of Vaginal Rejuvenation Procedures
While labiaplasty is one of the most common vaginal rejuvenation procedures, there are other treatments and operations that can help with aesthetic and functional issues.
- Clitoral Hood Reduction: For women who have an enlarged clitoral hood, sexual sensation may be diminished. Removing some of the excess tissue in this area can better expose the clitoris, enhancing a woman’s ability to feel sexual pleasure.
- Mons Pubis Liposuction: The mons pubis is the soft mound of tissue over your pubic bone that sits just above the labia. A large mons pubis generally has more to do with genetics than anything else. Having some fat removed from this area can create a smoother and more aesthetically pleasing contour. This procedure can help women to feel more comfortable in bathing suits and lingerie.
- Vaginal tightening. Many women, especially those who have had vaginal childbirths, experience increased laxity or “looseness.” This can interfere with sexual intimacy and even self-confidence. Laser vaginal rejuvenation can help tighten the tissues inside the vagina, and may even be able to decrease incidents of urinary incontinence. Laser tightening procedures such as Intima are totally non-surgical and do not require any downtime, but it may take a few sessions to achieve your optimal results.
Your Vaginal Rejuvenation Consultation
One of the first steps toward having a successful vaginal rejuvenation procedure and recovery is having a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon (or a few) you’re interested in. One of the major objectives of this meeting is to decide whether a cosmetic surgeon is a good fit for you. Another reason to have a consultation is to figure out if the procedure you’re interested in will get you the results you want. Here are some questions to ask at your consultation.
Be observant at your cosmetic surgery consultation, and take note of little details about a surgical practice.
- Am I a good candidate for vaginal rejuvenation? You must be a good candidate to have cosmetic surgery before you can proceed with planning your procedure. At your consultation, you should discuss your medical history, lifestyle and cosmetic or functionality goals with your cosmetic surgeon. These factors, along with your own unique anatomy, are part of what informs your cosmetic surgeon about whether surgery is right for you.
- May I see before and after pictures? One way to get an idea of the level of skill and experience a cosmetic surgeon has is by looking at pictures of procedures he or she has done. When you look at before and after photos, make sure the lighting is consistent in both photos and the pictures are clear. Pay attention to people whose anatomy most closely resembles your own so you can get the best idea of what is possible in your case. Make sure you understand exactly which procedures each person had.
- Are my expectations realistic? Your consultation is the time when you need to let a cosmetic surgeon know what kind of results you expect from vaginal rejuvenation. Each woman’s anatomy is unique, and there will always be some limitations in terms of what can be achieved through cosmetic surgery. Bring pictures, be descriptive and be honest about your goals and concerns.
- What will the procedure be like and where will it be done? Ask where your surgery will be done, and what kind of anesthesia will be used. Don’t be afraid to ask any other questions you may have about the procedure or about having surgery in general, such as whether your cosmetic surgeon has hospital privileges or what it will be like to go under anesthesia.
Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon
Cosmetic procedures for the vagina require both a confident hand and a delicate touch. For the most beautiful results, you will need to work with a cosmetic surgeon who has an understanding of the aesthetic and anatomical aspects of the procedure. Insist on working with a cosmetic surgeon who meets the following criteria:It’s always important to have a good rapport with your cosmetic surgeon, perhaps even more so when you are considering such an intimate and personal procedure.
- Board certified: Always choose a cosmetic surgeon certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). Board certified cosmetic surgeons have more in-depth experience and education, as well as advanced aesthetic training. They also maintain the highest quality and safety standards.
- Experienced: Don’t choose a cosmetic surgeon who seems to have just jumped on the vaginal rejuvenation bandwagon. Since these procedures are growing in popularity, the number of surgeons offering them has also increased. Make sure to choose someone who has been doing vaginal rejuvenation procedures for a while and who does them on a regular basis.
- Good reputation: Do some research on a cosmetic surgeon you’re considering to see what past patients have to say. It’s normal for any practice or surgeon to have the occasional negative review, but watch out for anyone who has several 1-star ratings or patient complaints. Look for a practice that has lots of positive ratings and good feedback from people who have had work done there. Pay particular attention to the ratings and comments from women who had vaginal rejuvenation done there.
- Good bedside manner: Any good cosmetic surgeon should be personable, and should make you feel comfortable and safe. You and your cosmetic surgeon must form an honest and mutually respectful relationship.
Preparing for Your Labiaplasty Procedure
After you find your cosmetic surgeon and schedule your labiaplasty or other vaginal rejuvenation procedure, your work is still not over. To be an excellent patient and get your body ready for surgery, you should be disciplined in the weeks leading up to your surgery.
- Don’t smoke: smoking and surgery don’t go together, and it’s likely that your plastic surgeon will require you to quit smoking for several weeks prior to your surgery date. Nicotine causes blood vessel restriction, which increases your risk of surgical complications.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Try to stay away from sugary soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Being well-hydrated is a key component of good health.
- Eat a healthy diet: Taking good care of yourself in the weeks before surgery includes eating a balanced, nutritious diet. Cut out sweets and salty fare. Instead, fill your kitchen with healthy snacks and real food.
- Get your supplies together: Gather bandages, medications, ice packs and any other medical supplies you’ll need ahead of time. Prepare your recovery space with fresh bedding and make sure you have plenty of entertainment supplies on hand. Movies, books and magazines will come in handy as you recuperate.
- Delegate your responsibilities: Call in some relief to help with your usual responsibilities, such as household duties and childcare, while you recover. Make arrangements well ahead of time so you’re not stressing yourself out right before surgery.
Recovering from Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
The exact amount of time it takes to recover from vaginal rejuvenation surgery varies from person to person, and depends on things like which procedures you had done. Here are a few guidelines to help you get an idea of what to expect.
- In general, labiaplasty and other vaginal rejuvenation procedures are done on an outpatient basis. You’ll need to have someone to drive you home after surgery, and to help take care of you once you get home.
- You’ll probably need to take a few days off work, maybe more, depending on what kind of job you do. Your cosmetic surgeon will help you decide how much time you will likely need to stay home.
- You will experience some pain and discomfort after your procedure, and your cosmetic surgeon may prescribe medications to help you stay comfortable.
- Some swelling and bruising is normal, and may persist for a few weeks after surgery. Resting and using ice packs can help minimize swelling.
- You won’t be able to use tampons or have sex for several weeks after your procedure. Your cosmetic surgeon can give you an exact timeframe. Be sure to follow his or her instructions carefully.
- Your final results may not be visible for up to 6 months, once the delicate tissue has completely healed.
Taking Care of Yourself after Vaginal Rejuvenation
Once you’ve recovered from surgery, keep your results — and the rest of your body — looking great for many years to come by investing in your health, well-being and appearance. Here are some ways you can enhance your results, your sex life and your confidence after having vaginal rejuvenation.
- Keep up on the healthy lifestyle choices. Keep eating right, drinking plenty of water and making healthy decisions in your daily life. You’ll look and feel better all over as a result. Women who had issues wearing tight clothing or doing certain activities may find it much easier to embrace a fitness routine after vaginal surgery.
- Leave bad habits in the past. If you smoked before surgery, don’t go back to the habit afterward. By quitting, you’ll be decreasing your chances of developing a number of diseases and health issues. You’ll also look younger, longer. Another thing to ditch along with smoking: staying up all night. Whether you’re partying the night away or trying to catch up on work, regular sleep deprivation takes a toll on your health, happiness and appearance.
- Reach out to your cosmetic surgeon if you have concerns. A good cosmetic surgeon will support you before, during and after your procedure. If you have concerns or questions at any point along the way, even if it’s several months (or years) after your surgery, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Other Things You Should Know about Vaginal Rejuvenation
If you’re considering having a labiaplasty procedure or other vaginal rejuvenation surgery, be exhaustive in your research and discerning about where you get your information. An educated patient is one who is most likely to end up with results they love. Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
- There is no “normal” shape or size for a woman’s genitals: The American College of Gynecology (ACOG) says there is no particular way a healthy vagina should look. You should never have vaginal surgery to live up to some beauty standard or to please someone else.
- Use caution if you’re thinking about traveling to a different country for cosmetic surgery. You may not have the same protections or assurances of safety you would have in the United States. Be sure to do lots of research and don’t rush into anything.
- Vaginal rejuvenation is not just for older women. Many young women are unhappy with their vaginal anatomy and may wish to reshape, beautify or correct asymmetry through cosmetic surgery. This can help them to feel more self-confident, to correct functionality concerns and to be more comfortable wearing certain clothes or doing activities they enjoy.
- Watch out for pseudoscience. As you research vaginal rejuvenation and other women’s health and beauty issues, you may come across claims that are far from scientific. Any publication telling you that essential oils or positive thinking will help to change the way your vagina looks and functions is probably not a credible source of information.