As demand for cosmetic vaginal procedures increases, so are the controversies associated with these options, according to plastic surgeon Jennifer L. Walden, M.D., of the Walden Cosmetic Surgery Center, Austin, Texas, who presented “Controversies in female genital rejuvenation,” yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) in Las Vegas.
Dr. Walden shared these three common myths and the realities of what she sees in practice.
There is a trend in beautification of the female genitalia that has been brought about because men in our culture have unrealistic expectations about the appearance of the female body.
Truth: Cosmetic vaginal procedures are on the rise in a big way, and the emergence of noninvasive vaginal rejuvenation and tightening treatments has only added to that, according to Dr. Walden.
“This is a movement, I believe, that is overwhelmingly female-centric and not generated by men. Women want to look great ‘down there’ as they do ‘up here,’ and there's nothing wrong with that!” she says. “The noninvasive radiofrequency procedure, ThermiVa [Thermi Aesthetics], also helps with functional female issues, like mild urinary leakage with coughing or jumping and vaginal dryness due to menopause.”
NEXT: Myth 2: Vanity
Women are now “vain" about a body part that should be left alone and wasn't meant to be cosmetically enhanced.
Truth: “Women can now see their private parts, as laser hair removal and Brazilian bikini waxes are more common,” Dr. Walden says. “Because of this, many women seek surgical labiaplasty to reduce the size of their inner lips as their enlargement can be irritating in clothing and interfere with sexual intercourse. These are real functional problems that are also embarrassing, so it is nice that women now have options in treating the labia and vagina. These treatments also have the added benefit of cosmetic enhancement.”
Labiaplasty (excluding vaginal rejuvenation) ranked 21st among the top 22 cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2015. Surgeons performed 8,745 labiaplasties in 2015, which was a 16.1% increase compared to the previous year, according to the ASAPS Cosmetic Surgery National Databank Statistics 2015.
Women don't care about vaginal tightness or orgasmic ability during sex and men are the ones obsessed with it.
Truth: “Women are as interested in their sexual health as men are, we just don't talk about it as much!” Dr. Walden says. “Many women come to me for ThermiVa radiofrequency treatments to help with tightening of the vagina after childbirth, and to augment lubrication and orgasmic ability due to all of the positive changes from the procedure. It is great that women concerned with these issues now have access to treatment for them, and a noninvasive solution for things, like stress incontinence and vaginal tightening, that don't involve major pelvic floor surgery.”
Disclosure: Dr. Walden is an advisory board, luminary, for Sciton and Thermi Aesthetics. She is a luminary for Venus Concept and a stockholder and media advisory board member for Ideal Implant. She also receives textbook royalties from Elsevier.