In the U.S. alone, approximately 24% of women are diagnosed with pelvic floor issues each year. Given these statistics, it's no wonder that vulvar and vaginal rejuvenation procedures are among the most requested cosmetic treatments.
You may pursue these treatments for cosmetic reasons or as a response to issues like bladder leakage, which tends to develop after childbirth or menopause.
If you’ve considered vaginal rejuvenation, you’ve likely come across a few questionable and sometimes scary remedies from vaginal tightening surgery to pills. There are considerations for each option like: Is it effective? Is it worth the cost and pain? For example, vaginal tightening surgery often comes with a massive price tag.
Whether you are exploring your options due to the effects of childbirth, menopause, or the desire to feel comfortable in your own skin, we'll walk you through your options step-by-step.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is vaginal rejuvenation?
- Why do people seek vaginal rejuvenation?
- The history of vaginal rejuvenation surgery
- Vaginal rejuvenation 101: surgery, laser treatment, and other options
- How much does vaginal tightening surgery cost?
- Vaginal tightening surgery alternatives
What is vaginal rejuvenation?
Vaginal rejuvenation refers to techniques, operations, and treatments to improve vaginal tightness, appearance, and/or function. However, the phrase has been misused in the past, making it confusing for anyone researching their options.
In 2018, the FDA issued a statement that many in-office devices were marketed as vaginal rejuvenation without appropriate clearances. Consumers were confused about claims companies were making about the potential outcomes and results of using these devices.
The FDA issued the statement because the phrase “vaginal rejuvenation” doesn’t really mean anything. Regardless of what you’d like to call the process, it’s a fact that many women experience physical changes to their intimate areas that may compel them to seek solutions.
Why do people seek vaginal rejuvenation?
The first time women experience significant vaginal changes post-puberty is after vaginal childbirth. The vaginal muscles are incredibly elastic. This allows the pelvic floor to stretch and expand (and sometimes tear) in order to push a fully formed human through the opening.
Our bodies are capable of remarkable and extraordinary things. However, even for women who don't have vaginal deliveries, the natural aging process can cause your vagina to lose its elasticity and natural lubrication. As a result, you may have difficulty enjoying life and sex as you used to.
Due to the natural aging process and the trauma that occurs during childbirth, the vagina and labia (exterior tissue) never quite return to their initial starting place. Some of these changes are inevitable. Other changes that women notice are:
- Labia becomes darker
- Vulva and labia have less volume and plumpness
- Labia minora is longer
The changes mentioned above are completely normal in the context of childbirth and age. Looks aside, more serious complications can occur when the pelvic floor weakens.
Pelvic floor dysfunction
The pelvic floor functions like a hammock that holds organs, including the uterus, cervix, bladder, and rectum, in place.
In some cases, the pelvic floor muscles may weaken so much that they no longer support these organs. As a result, women may develop pelvic floor dysfunction. This can result in urinary or fecal incontinence and what’s known as pelvic prolapse. Pelvic prolapse, or simply prolapse, happens when one or more pelvic organs drop down into the vagina.
Many of these changes also happen as women enter perimenopause and menopause. On average, women go through menopause around age 51. However, perimenopause (when ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen) can begin in a woman's 40s, and as early as her 30s.
Women may also experience atrophy, causing intense pain and discomfort during sex and a greater risk for vaginal and urinary infections. As estrogen levels drop, the body produces less collagen. This causes thinness in the vaginal walls, loss of volume in the labia and clitoris, and loss of lubrication.
As you can see, the vagina is a complicated yet beautiful marvel. Vaginal rejuvenation holds so much promise for many women looking to restore vaginal health.
However, not all procedures are created equal. Unfortunately, “vaginal rejuvenation” has become a vague, catch-all term. But, we’ll dive into what it really means and highlight alternatives to improve vaginal health and sexual function.
The history of vaginal rejuvenation surgery
Vaginal rejuvenation procedures have changed over time. Early procedures in the 2000s focused on giving women a cosmetically pleasing “Barbie” vagina.
The trend raised concerns in the medical world. In 2007, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) published a scathing report questioning if the procedures were necessary, effective, and worth the risks and safety concerns they created. The report claimed that cosmetic vaginal rejuvenation procedures were not standard treatments.
Their concerns were, and continue to be, very real. However, the demand for vaginal rejuvenation procedures still exists. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the worldwide vaginal rejuvenation industry was valued at $4.4 billion in 2018.
Vaginoplasty was the most common procedure, followed very closely by labiaplasty.
Vaginal rejuvenation 101: surgery, laser treatment, and other options
Although many still use the term “vaginal rejuvenation”, female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) is the more scientifically accurate term. FGCS describes several surgical and non-surgical vaginal corrective treatments. These procedures include:
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure to tighten the vagina. It is a vaginal reconstruction or repair treatment sought for various reasons, from improved sexual health to gender reassignment.
Undergoing vaginoplasty may require multiple appointments. Because it is a vaginal tightening surgery, there is a considerable risk of infection or bleeding. There has also not been a significant number of studies on the long-term effects and complications of vaginoplasty.
A labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the labia minora, which are the skin flaps on the sides of the vaginal canal. It is not considered a necessary procedure. Most of the time, women seek a labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons. The surgery is performed while under anesthesia, but it also has risks.
Side effects may include blood clots, bleeding, infection, and decreased sensitivity. Based on the most recent estimates, the average cost of labiaplasty is more than $3,000. The cost doesn't include anesthesia and other expenses. In reality, it can be up to $6,000 or more.
A labia majoraplasty is a type of labiaplasty. It focuses on the labia majora the vulva's outer, hair-bearing lips. The procedure either reduces or reshapes the majora. The risks and costs are comparable to those associated with labiaplasty.
Hymenoplasty is a surgical procedure to repair or replace a torn hymen. There are several methods for doing so, but the most common one uses dissolvable sutures to stitch the tattered edges of the hymen together. Because the "replaced" hymen is a new barrier, it may cause sexual discomfort during intercourse.
Clitoral hood reduction
To reduce excess folds in the skin above the clitoris, some women may seek a clitoral hood reduction. Specialists usually do the surgery when they do a labiaplasty.
Monsplasty is a procedure to reduce the mons, fatty tissue in the pubic area. The area can be described as the upside-down triangle from the top of the pubic area to the genitals.
Monsplasty recovery can take a few weeks, and physical activity is usually restricted for up to six weeks after.
Non-surgical radiofrequency and laser vaginal tightening
These are devices that use radiofrequency or laser energy to induce collagen production. If you don’t want to undergo painful or expensive surgeries, laser vaginal devices may be an option for vaginal tightening. Some studies have found laser-based devices effective for vaginal tightening, but like many others on this list, more research is needed.
O-Shot and G-Shot
O-shots, also called G-shots, are non-surgical injections into the clitoris and G-spot. They use platelet-rich plasma or fillers. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is injected directly into the clitoris and vaginal walls in the region of the Grafenburg spot, or "G-Spot." The injections claim to improve sexual arousal and orgasm. Some claim it can help with urinary incontinence, but so far the evidence seems anecdotal.
Compared to surgical options, the side effects are minor. You may experience some bleeding, bruising, and swelling, which typically stops after a few minutes. However, the shots are not long-term solutions. Most are effective for three years, sometimes longer, before another visit.
Despite a growing number of practices offering these procedures, the medical community remains skeptical. For one, the costs can be astronomical. In many cases, the procedures are done for aesthetic reasons, so they may not be necessary or effective in improving your health.
How much does vaginal tightening surgery cost?
Vaginal tightening surgery costs range, but most fall on the expensive end. A surgical vaginoplasty can cost upward of $10,000 to $20,000 dollars. Even minor procedures like the O-Shot can set women back a cool $1,800.
Still, for some women in search of better sex, lubrication, and a leak-free lifestyle, no cost is too high.
For others, the hefty price tag of vaginal rejuvenation, coupled with the often invasive procedures and large time commitment, is enough to steer them away. That’s why many women seek natural or home-based alternatives to restore sexual health and personal confidence.
Vaginal tightening surgery alternatives
Even though an estimated 30 million women in the US suffer from pelvic floor issues, it is not always easy to talk about intimate health in the doctors’ office or at home.
Many women feel too embarrassed to seek medical advice and treatment, while others don’t have the financial means for expensive procedures.
Luckily, intimate wellness companies like Joylux are working to change this. Joylux products were created to help women overcome intimate wellness issues—from pelvic floor weakness to sexual wellness.
If you are considering vaginal tightening surgery, it is not the only option available to you. There are other options like the vFit device that may help address your concerns, without the high price tag, recovery time, or pain that comes with surgery.
Your decision on which option to pursue is ultimately up to you. If you decide to take any of the remedies described above, consult a trusted physician to find the best and safest treatment for you.