You’ve probably heard of vaginal rejuvenation and might even have a vague idea what it involves. But do you know why it’s offered, what it costs and what it is, exactly? Allow us to enlighten you…
What is vaginal rejuvenation?
Vaginal rejuvenation is also known as vaginoplasty – that is, plastic surgery on the vagina. A surgeon removes part of the vaginal lining and sews together muscles at the back of the vagina with the goal of making it narrower and tighter.
It sometimes also involves perineoplasty (tightening the area that surrounds the vagina and butt), or labiaplasty, where the labia are made smaller on one or both sides.
Why do people have it done?
Here are some reasons:
- Sometimes it’s needed after a vaginal labor, especially if there’s been a prolapse of the bladder, bowel, or uterus.
- It can be an option after cancerous lumps or other growths have been removed from the vagina or vulva, and it’s also a treatment for urinary incontinence – whether you can’t hold it in or you’re peeing when you sneeze.
- Doctors who recommend it say that it increases friction during sex, making it more pleasurable for people who’ve lost sensation due to age or childbirth, and that it can make orgasms more intense.
- Other people choose it because they’re unhappy with the look or feel of their genitals.
How long does it take?
The surgery takes a couple of hours, and you can usually leave the same day. Recovery takes a little longer: there’s discomfort for the first 48 hours and then swelling and bruising for another week or so. You can’t have sex or masturbate for six weeks.
How much does it cost?
It costs between $4000 and $10,000 depending on a range of factors, including what the specific surgery will involve, and which doctor performs it. It always takes place at a surgery center rather than a hospital and no, it’s not covered by insurance.
How many people have the surgery every year?
There aren’t exact records because the procedure is performed at surgery centers which don’t have to release that information. But the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates that 5000 women in the U.S had vaginal rejuvenation surgery in 2013. Given that requests for labiaplasty alone increased by 45% between 2015 and 2016, the number is likely to have risen.
What are the downsides?
Apart from the cost and recovery time, some surgeries don’t go to plan. Complications can include infection, scarring, and a change in sensation for the worse, including the vagina becoming so tight that sex is painful. In 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists expressed concern over the safety of vaginal rejuvenation surgeries and emphasized that in most cases, they’re not medically necessary.
If it’s something you’re thinking about, make sure to do a lot of research on the clinic and doctor you’re considering using – check out before and after photos, online forums, and Yelp, and speak to former patients if possible.
Are there any non-surgical options?
Yes: there’s also laser vaginal rejuvenation. Different clinics offer different types, but the basic idea is that a laser uses heat to shrink vaginal tissue, so that surgery isn’t necessary.
It’s spaced out over at least three treatments, each a couple of months apart, so there’s less chance of pain and swelling, plus it’s cheaper – around $2000-$3000. But it’s still a heated laser aimed at your most sensitive areas, so it’s not without risk.
Anything else I need to know?
If you suspect your health, sex life, or confidence would be vastly improved by vaginal rejuvenation, find an experienced practitioner and have a no-pressure consultation.
But remember that what you see in porn isn’t the standard, it’s just one variation. Unless you’re told it’s medically necessary, you never need to put yourself through pain and expense just because your vagina, vulva or labia look different than someone else’s. And if anyone you sleep with expresses unhappiness about what’s between your legs, it will be a lot easier and cheaper to dump them than change yourself.