Vaginal Rejuvenation: Is it Effective for Incontinence?

Vaginal rejuvenation, also known as “vaginal cosmetic surgery” has been in the news recently for its rapid rise in popularity. Invested in by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, having a “designer vagina” is the new cosmetic trend.

The cost of vaginal rejuvenation can be up to £12,000. Although many women have them done for cosmetic reasons, they can also be conducted for health reasons. This includes improving vaginal tightness and improving incontinence. Lakhani, a former GP, explains that the main problems she encounters are incontinence and vaginal atrophy, a thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that affects one in seven post-menopausal women. This condition can also cause a lot of pain. She asserts, “most people need relief from damaged vaginal tissue or a weak pelvic floor, caused by the menopause or childbirth”. The two main types of women who seek this treatment are postpartum women and post menopausal women. 

Increasingly Popular: Over 100,000 women across the globe are making the decision to change the appearance of their vagina every year

How does Menopause Cause Incontinence in Women? Read about the link between Lack of Oestrogen and Incontinence

What Occurs During Vaginal Rejuvenation?

Vaginal rejuvenation is surgery designed to reshape the vaginal area,  tightening vaginal muscles that have become lax and weaker. Childbirth is the most common culprit of this. The surgery can consist of vaginoplasty, labioplasty, or both. Depending on the requirements, either traditional surgical techniques or laser-based procedures are used.

The vaginoplasty is a type of surgery designed to tighten the vagina. This surgery is particularly ideal for women who have given birth, and have stretching of tissues and muscles. This method is designed to bring the separated muscles together. It also removes additional mucosa skin from the back side of the vagina. A labioplasty, on the other hand, reduces the size of the labio minora, the flaps of skin either side of the vaginal opening. Women often choose this either because they don’t like the appearance of their labia, or it causes discomfort.

Have you had vaginal rejuvenation? Post on our Forum and Share Your Experience

Vaginal Rejuvenation and Incontinence

Vaginal rejuvenation has a high success rate in treating incontinence, due to the tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. This means women have better control over their bladder, as their pelvic support structure is stronger. Recent studies have shown a 90% satisfaction rate in women who had the surgery for stress incontinence. However, the surgery has a number of risks and has been subject to a lot of controversy.

Complications and Controversy

The ACOG lists the following to be complications from the surgery:

  • Infections
  • Altered sensation
  • Scarring
  • Pain During Intercourse
  • Adhesions and fistulas

ACOG remains sceptical about cosmetic vaginal surgery, due to its risks and lack of scientific data on safety. The FDA (US Food and Drink Administration) found cases of scarring, vaginal burns and chronic pain caused by the treatments” A number of women have also reported health problems post-surgery. In September 2017, Aisling Ozdemir noticed a strange growth after the surgery that wasn’t there prior. Writing for The Sun, she explains “there was a fleshy bulge in my vaginal area that had never been there before. It felt and looked like a testicle. I was so shocked, I burst into tears”.

Dr Lakhani, experienced in conducting the procedure, admits “of course, I'm incredibly sceptical about all of this. There is no medical reason to undergo these treatments." He goes on to admit, "offering them perpetuates myths that the way women's bodies look naturally is, somehow wrong.” Health professionals from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recently began alerting women to the lack of evidence to support the safety of vaginal rejuvenation. Last August, Paul Banwell, a member of BAAPS, asserted “the whole area of vaginal rejuvenation practice needs to be carefully examined. This includes the efficacy and safety of such treatments”.

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