As moms we know that our bodies go through many changes to get those precious little ones here. Our tummy’s stretch, we lose our hair, boobs change shape and size about a bazillion times, and everything just feels ‘different’.
Those are just some of the things that we talk about openly at book club, play dates, and girls night outs. But did you know that more and more women each year are heading into the operating room to fix something other than a tummy pooch or less than perky boobs?
More and more women are heading into the operating room to get vaginal or labial cosmetic surgery.
In fact, one leading plastic surgery group says labiaplasty in particular was up a whopping 48.6% from 2013 to 2014.
Unlike a lot of elective procedures, the decision to undergo this surgery is very rarely about vanity. Most women have a more complex story to tell. Here are some of the common reasons women really get cosmetic vaginal surgery:
Those of us who have had a kid or multiple kids know that sometimes things ‘down there’ can be a bit different. After giving birth there can be damage and stretched tissues that can cause sex to be less enjoyable, uncomfortable, and even painful for some.
Surgery can restore tightness and sensation to the vagina, making sex much more enjoyable. This kind of cosmetic surgery for this area of the body is called vaginoplasty (or vaginal reconstruction), and it tightens and repairs the vaginal canal, usually after childbirth. This is one of the most common reasons women get elective surgery for this area of the body.
Good news for mama’s who might not be feeling it anymore!
For many women, labiaplasty is a solution for discomfort. Labiaplasty is just one form of elective surgery on this area of the body, and it reduces the size of the labia minora, or the inner flaps of skin surrounding the vagina. In some women, these inner labia are larger than the outer labia, or labia majora, that are supposed to enclose them. The inner labia are very sensitive, so activities that are simple for most women, such as wearing snug jeans and swimsuits, exercising, and riding a bike, are downright painful if those inner labia are exposed. Ouch!
That was the case for one young woman who wrote an xoJane post about her decision to get labiaplasty when she was college-aged. “I thought about the procedure as a major solution to discomfort and a minor aesthetic improvement,” she wrote.
Other ladies may seek these procedures more for reasons of emotional discomfort than physical pain. Many women get embarrassed and self-conscious in sexual situations because of their labia. After undergoing a procedure, they often find a new sense of confidence and develop a healthier attitude towards sex.
You might be thinking about how sensations might be affected negatively by the surgery, which trims away excess skin. In fact, the results are quite the opposite. Board-certified plastic surgeons are very careful to preserve nerve sensation, and “most women find their sexual satisfaction is actually enhanced after labiaplasty or vaginal rejuvenation as they feel more comfortable and confident,” according to the website of plastic surgeon Dr. Brian C. Reuben in Midvale, Utah.
Although all of these procedures are considered “cosmetic,” because they aren’t medically necessary, appearance has little to do with the patient’s decision in most cases. Just as each woman’s body is unique, so are her motivations.
I think the most important thing is to be grateful and proud of our bodies for all the amazing things that they can do, especially for growing, housing, and nourishing our precious kids. We go through lots of changes in our lives and even if we want to change, enhance, or improve certain areas of our bodies we can still be proud of and respect our bodies for the amazing bodies that they are.