2017 looks set to see a huge spike in the number of us seeking surgery to ‘tidy up’ down below.
But just what drives so many of us towards this cosmetic enhancement.
Labiaplasty is a procedure where surgeons remove excess tissue from the labia to address the effects of natural ageing or any physical concerns.
Now, in a new study, researchers have assessed reasons why women wish to have the procedure.
Conducting interviews with 14 patients who had labiaplasty, the team asked why they had it and how the cosmetic treatment changed their lives.
Media exposure to the treatment and insulting sexual comments about the look of their vaginal area were major drivers for most of the women.
Discomfort can also be a cause.
Extra folds, recesses and creases of the labia can lead to infections so that may be another reason to seek cosmetic surgery.
Additionally, you may not feel that the size or shape of your labia is not to your liking.
If this is the case, speak to your GP about any concerns, although may plastic surgeons have noted a misconception among patients of what’s normal and what’s not.
US plastic surgeon Dr Richard Buckley, who carried out the survey, suggests women of all ages have concerns about the look and function of their labia for a variety of reasons – often caused by pregnancy, childbirth, weight loss or menopause, or there may be an issue with symmetry.
He also highlighted a new device, ThermiVa, which uses radiofrequency to gently heat and tighten internal and external vaginal tissue.
But recent studies suggest that expectations need to be managed should any woman believe that the procedure is going to boost confidence or even improve sex life.
Although many may be delighted with the aesthetic results, self-esteem and general sexual confidence do not improve – and this information is key to help women decide if the procedure is right for them.
It is likely that your plastic surgeon will go through your motivation thoroughly before agreeing to perform the procedure.
This is with a view to offering women the best and relevant treatment that will best address any worries about their genital appearance.
Cosmetic surgeon Angelica Kavouni is comparethetreatment.com’s expert. She’s noticed that the number of women consulting her for advice about labia surgery, which has increased 20% year on year.
And she believes sports and hobbies are other drivers for women seeking the procedure.
She comments: ‘The underlying trends are very interesting – before the Olympics, in 2012 the majority of women I saw for labiaplasty were post pregnant or menopausal women seeking help for misshapen or enlarged genitals. Since 2012, I have noted that the majority are now women who enjoy physical sporting hobbies – most markedly cycling.’
Individual needs and expectations will be discussed during the consultation with Ms Kavouni in absolute confidentiality.
Before undergoing any surgery, it is important to consider what your priorities are and whether cosmetic procedures will meet your expectations.
Plastic surgeons also have a duty of care to provide women with information about the varied appearance of female genitals and experts suggest there may be straightforward solutions to get rid of any discomfort where no underlying health condition can be identified.
SO, be truthful with your plastic surgeon about your motivation and don’t forget that there may be an answer to your problems that may not necessarily involve surgery.
If, for example, you are uncomfortable cycling, you may wish to consider changing the make and shape of the saddle.
Never rush into having plastic surgery. All surgeons will offer you a ‘cooling off’ period once you’ve made a decision to consent to any aesthetic procedure.
Do your research and think it all through before settling on surgeon and surgery; ‘think carefully’ before undergoing procedures.
Check with the Royal College of Surgeons or the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons to match practitioner and procedure.