As women go through childbearing, hormonal changes and aging, they can experience changes in their genitilia. Vaginal rejuvenation and labiaplasty procedures aim to restore the vaginal health back to normal. Changes that can impact a woman’s quality of life include vaginal laxity, stress urinary incontinence, loss of vaginal lubrication, a decrease in erotic sensation and loss of tone of the labia majora (outer lips of the vagina). As women are finally beginning to talk about these issues, the number of treatments available is increasing.
Devices that have been developed to treat some or all of these changes use radiofrequency or laser energy to induce collagen tightening. Fillers and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) are also sometimes used to inject in the clitoris and/or “G-spot”. These form important components of vaginal rejuvenation therapy.
What is Vaginal Rejuvenation?
Vaginal rejuvenation is a broad term for vaginal corrective treatments. These procedures are done for cosmetic purposes or to solve age-related problems, like vaginal looseness and urinary incontinence. This field of female genital rejuvenation is growing as the changes women experience are receiving more importance. Energy-based treatments provide such an option.
Energy-based treatments are nonsurgical procedures that use heat. The treatments are done with a device that focuses the energy and heats the tissue. Energy-based devices are used for skin treatments, and more recently, for vaginal rejuvenation. When used in the vagina, the goal is to enhance collagen, blood vessels, tightness and lubrication.There are two types of energy-based treatments for vaginal rejuvenation. Both treatments use heat.The device uses the energy to heat up the top layers of the tissue. When the tissue is heated, the underlying layers of tissue create extra collagen to help heal the area. By damaging the top layers of tissue, the lower layers make new and firmer tissue. These can be done as Out-Patient-Based procedure and there is no need for patient to stay in the hospital for long. Patients can typically continue with their day without needing recovery time. During the procedure, patient may typically feel a little irritation. The area being treated may feel warm during the procedure. A topical anesthetic agent may be used if there is discomfort.
- Radiofrequency (RF) treatments:Electromagnetic waves are used in RF devices. Similar to the waves used in a microwave – but to a lesser extent – the energy is focused to heat the tissue. Brand names of RF devices include Geneveve by Viveve and ThermiVa.
- CO2 laser treatment:The laser heats up the upper layers of the tissue, causing the tissue in the lower layers to make more collagen. This makes the skin firmer and tighter. Brand names of laser devices include MonaLisa Touch®, FemTouch™ and FemiLift.
Other treatment options for vaginal rejuvenation can include:
- Kegel and pelvic floor exercises:These exercises are meant to strengthen the muscles in and around the vagina.
- Vaginoplasty:This surgical procedure tightens the vagina.
Does Vaginal Rejuvenation have side effects?
Usually, there are no complications with these energy based devices.
- There is risk of bleeding or infection, but the risk is low.
- In rare circumstances, vaginal or vulvar scarring may result from energy-based treatments.
A patient should wait two to three days to have intercourse after an energy-based treatment. Obviously, if there are signs of vaginal or bladder infection or significant bright red bleeding, the patient should be re-evaluated.
Are Vaginal Rejuvenation procedures permanent?
It should be noted here that energy-based treatments for vaginal rejuvenation are not permanent. For the best results, the treatments will need to be done over several sessions at a time. In my experience, 3 sessions done at monthly intervals give satisfactory results.
Changes in Female Genitals warranting the need for Vaginal Rejuvenation
Pregnancy and vaginal delivery can lead to injury and stretching, which can result in loss of vaginal tightness. Vaginal laxity is more likely to occur when bearing more than one child, having a large baby, undergoing a forceps delivery and as a part of normal aging.
Problems due to lack of vaginal laxity:
- loss of sensation with intercourse and decreased sexual satisfaction.
- Vaginal laxity can lead to a negative impact on female sexual function, body image and quality of life.
The condition is poorly recognized and frequently under-reported.
Both laser and Radiofrequency (RF) heat up the tissues, resulting in increased collagen formation. Although the technology is new for vaginal treatment, one study looked at RF treatment with surface cooling to protect the vaginal skin and was found to improve vaginal tightening and female sexual function when compared with a sham group.
As with most nonsurgical procedures, the treatment doesn’t replace surgery. RF and laser rely on tightening through collagen remodelling, whereas surgery results in closing the gap where the vaginal muscles have stretched apart. While the results from RF and laser may be limited, a surgical vaginoplasty carries the risks of surgery, so many may prefer the non-invasive options.
With age, hormonal changes or radiation treatment for cancer, patients may notice a loss of vaginal lubrication, when can result in
Problems caused due to lack of vaginal lubrication:Painful intercourse.
Solution: Vaginal lubrication has been reported to improve with both laser and RF treatments. The improvement is felt to be the result of improved blood flow.
‘O’ and ‘G’ shots
The term “O-Shot” is a registered trademark that is short for “Orgasm” shot. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which is taken from your own blood, is injected in the clitoris and in the vagina in the area of the Grafenburg spot, or “G-Spot”. Though not all investigators agree that the G-spot exists, it’s described to be an erotic area just inside the front wall of the vagina in the proximity of the urethra, which has many nerves.
It is repeated annually. The “G-Shot” is another trademarked term that refers to the injection of filler into the G-Spot, repeated every three to five months. Ideally, usage of the names of these treatments is restricted, physicians may refer to these or similar treatments under different terminology.
These shots do not require heavy dose of anaesthesia. Topical anaesthesia and ice are typically used to numb the area, and injections can contain local anaesthesia or Eutectic Mixture of Local anaesthesia (EMLA) may be applied and left for 10 minutes.
Consulting a Cosmetic Gynaecologist for Vaginal Rejuvenation
Before embarking on any nonsurgical vaginal rejuvenation treatment, establish your goals and review them at the time of consultation itself. The RF and the laser procedures may be performed by a nurse or physician’s assistant, but always under supervision.
As a routine practice, the cosmetic gynaecologist:
- Evaluates the general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Takes photographs
- Discusses options
- Recommends a course of treatment
- Discusses likely outcomes of nonsurgical vaginal rejuvenation and any risks or potential complications
- Discusses the use of anaesthesia during the procedure.
Contact an expert Cosmetic Gynaecologist for Vaginal Rejuvenation.!