Vaginal rejuvenation is an umbrella term that often refers to several different types of procedures. Some of these procedures are surgical, and some are not. However, all of these procedures are meant to fix, increase the appeal of, or aid the function of the vagina in some way.
While vaginal rejuvenation procedures tend to be mostly cosmetic, they can also serve functional purposes. In this guide, our goal is to educate you about the different types of vaginal rejuvenation procedures available, what they involve, what they cost, and anything else you would want to consider before committing to surgery.
What Is Vaginal Rejuvenation?
Like we said above, vaginal rejuvenation is a term that describes several different types of cosmetic procedure meant to improve the appearance or function of the vagina. Often, these procedures are done on post-partum or menopausal women who have experienced some vaginal atrophy, but this is not a prerequisite.
Vaginal rejuvenation can cover many different areas or aspects of the vagina. For instance, labiaplasty procedures are meant to correct or reduce the size of a woman’s labia. On the other hand, vaginal rejuvenation also covers laser procedures that are intended to restore function to the vagina after menopause.
Some other procedures that fall under the umbrella of vaginal rejuvenation are:
- Radiofrequency treatments
- Platelet-rich plasma injections
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Clitoral Hood Reduction
- And many more
How Vaginal Rejuvenation Works
The way vaginal rejuvenation works varies widely based on the procedure. However, all vaginal rejuvenation procedures have the same goal: to restore function to or alter the appearance of the vagina. This can be accomplished through surgery, non-invasive treatments, injections, or even exercises.
Surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures typically proceed similarly to any other surgical procedure. Labiaplasty, which we mentioned above, involves removing part of the labia and allowing the wound to heal, often with sutures. However, non-invasive or less-invasive procedures such as Radiofrequency therapy and injections are different processes.
Types of Vaginal Rejuvenation
Vaginal rejuvenation covers many different procedures. We mentioned a few names of these procedures earlier, but we will go over several of them in more detail in this section.
Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation
Surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures are the most well-known of all the methods mentioned here. Women have been choosing to get these procedures done for many years and for many reasons. There are many different types of vaginal rejuvenation surgeries and each surgery focuses on different areas of the vagina, but all of these treatments have surgery in common.
Vaginoplasty is a general procedure that involves restoring the vagina to an un-atrophied physical state. Typically, doctors do this by reconnecting muscles that may have separated during childbirth or removing excess skin in the back of the vagina. Doing this tightens the vagina itself and restores its function, and it can sometimes increase sensation and sexual pleasure.
Vaginoplasty also covers the procedure where a biological man is given a vagina by inverting the penis. However, predictably, this procedure is far more involved than a female vaginoplasty.
Labiaplasty involves shortening or aligning the labia minora within a patient’s vagina. The labia minora typically extend past the labia majora and hang down from the vagina, but the amount that they hang varies by individual. Some reasons for patients to receive a vaginoplasty include:
- To improve vaginal function
- To improve vaginal aesthetics
- To keep labia from becoming irritated or getting caught while exercising, sitting, or otherwise
- To erase or remedy defects of the labia, such as uneven lengths or sizes
Labia majoraplasty is similar to labiaplasty, but as the name implies, it focuses on the labia majora instead of the labia minora. The labia majora can be prone to the same issues with length as the labia minora, and as such, some patients elect to get them shortened or realigned.
Clitoral Hood Reduction
Clitoral hood reduction involves reducing the size of the skin that hangs over the clitoris in women. Some women have excess skin or fat deposits here, but typically, a clitoral hood reduction is done in conjunction with a labiaplasty to lessen the profile of the vagina.
If a labiaplasty is done without a clitoral hood reduction, the clitoris and clitoral hood can sometimes look unbalanced compared to the trim look of post-operation labia.
Monsplasty involves removing excess skin or fat found around the mons area. Skin and fat can accumulate here in some women, especially with age. In particular, women who have undergone significant weight loss can benefit significantly from monsplasty.
Women with excess fat in the mons area can also elect to receive liposuction alone instead of surgery during a monsplasty procedure. While liposuction will correct the look of excess fat, it cannot shrink excess skin, so it is not for everyone. However, it is less invasive than a typical surgical procedure, and recovery time and difficulty are also less.
Hymenoplasty is a controversial procedure that involves restoring a woman’s hymen to a pre-intercourse state. While hymenoplasty serves no functional purpose, an intact hymen can be very important in certain cultures. Hymenoplasty can also provide relief and closure to women who have been abused or raped, restoring their hymen to the state that it was at before said abuse happened.
Non-Invasive Vaginal Rejuvenation
Non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation procedures involve physical changes to the vagina that do not break the skin. These procedures are relatively new and have been on the rise for some time. However, the long-term safety of these procedures is hotly debated by health professionals. For these procedures, the doctor exposes the vagina to radiation from an RF device or a laser to heat the skin.
Radiofrequency vaginal rejuvenation uses a device that emits waves to heat up the skin of the vagina. This process is painless and is thought to damage the cells very slightly, resulting in a renewed healing process and release of new collagen.
However, as stated above, the long-term safety of RF (and laser) procedures is questionable. The FDA itself has denounced these procedures, saying that there is not enough evidence that they actually help the patient enough to outweigh the potential dangers.
Vaginal rejuvenation using a laser works the same way as RF rejuvenation, but it is conducted with a different tool. However, the baseline concept remains the same: a laser device is used to heat and abrade the vaginal skin slightly, resulting in cell healing and collagen production.
Some vaginal rejuvenation techniques do not fall into either of the above categories. These techniques are listed below. While they tend to be less powerful and slower to start than the above, they can be just as useful to the right patient.
Kegel exercises are a type of vaginal rejuvenation therapy that can be done at home with little or no assistance. Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, involve tightening and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor to tone and strengthen them. It may take time to see the full results of these exercises, but these results often include:
- Increased bladder control
- Increased sexual stimulation and vaginal tightness
- Increased gastrointestinal control
Men can also do Kegel exercises to experience some of the same effects.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is a strategy created with the help of your doctor that can slow or mitigate the effects of menopause. During menopause, women produce less estrogen, resulting in drier, less satisfying intercourse and other symptoms of vaginal atrophy.
Hormone replacement products require a prescription from a doctor, and they can come in several types, such as creams or pills. Your doctor may prescribe one or more products together that work well for you to combat your symptoms.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection (PRP)
Platelet-rich plasma injections, or PRP injections, involve drawing blood, removing the plasma from it, and re-injecting that plasma into various areas of the body. For vaginal rejuvenation, though, these injections are typically done in the clitoris and the Gräfenberg spot.
Injecting plasma into these areas is thought to promote sexual stimulation, satisfaction, and feelings of orgasm. As such, this is purely an aesthetic luxury procedure.
Preparing for Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
There is little actual preparation for the patient to do before vaginal rejuvenation surgery. However, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking certain medications several days before your surgery is scheduled to take place. NSAIDs and other blood thinners are a common recommendation for this, and some doctors may request that you stop taking contraceptive pills, vitamins, or supplements, too.
Doctors will also often request that patients refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol before their procedure. However, this advice can vary depending on the doctor. Some Surgical procedures will require stool softeners or bowel preparation before surgery as well.
Non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation requires even less preparation. For most non-invasive techniques, your doctor will make no special requests from you before your procedure. Some vaginal rejuvenation techniques, like Kegel exercises, will not even require the help of a professional to complete. The only preparation this technique requires is personal research.
Recovering from Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
Vaginal rejuvenation surgery typically involves the same basic recovery strategy as any other surgical procedure. After surgery, patients will be required to take several days of downtime off work. This period of downtime may vary depending on the procedure; for example, a female vaginoplasty may only require one week of downtime, but a male-to-female vaginoplasty may require significantly more.
After the patient’s recommended downtime is met, they should be able to return to work and perform mild activities. However, stressful or strenuous activities and exercise should be avoided for several more weeks. Additionally, sexual intercourse and tampon use are both banned for the full six weeks of healing after a vaginoplasty surgery.
If your vaginal rejuvenation treatment did not involve surgery, your downtime will be significantly less. However, even with non-invasive procedures, doctors sometimes encourage their patients to rest for short periods of time. Intercourse for these procedures may also be banned for days or weeks to allow any treatment areas to heal or fortify.
Reasons to Get Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
The choice to pursue vaginal rejuvenation is deeply personal. Most often, women desire vaginal rejuvenation after childbirth or through menopause. This is because the vagina loses some of its function through both of these events. Many vaginal rejuvenation procedures promise to restore lost function to the vagina.
Overall, the vast majority of women decide to pursue vaginal rejuvenation to restore function or change the vagina’s appearance. However, other reasons that women seek out vaginal rejuvenation include:
- To increase sensation or sexual pleasure
- Cultural or personal beliefs
- To correct defects or perceived ugliness
- For health or cleanliness reasons
Hymenoplasty, for example – the rebuilding of the hymen in women through surgery – is often tied to cultural beliefs or traditions. As we mentioned, some women decide to pursue hymenoplasty to find closure from past abuse or rape by “undoing” the damage that their abuser did to them. However, this is just one example of a reason to receive vaginal rejuvenation.
Risks of Getting Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
The risks of vaginal rejuvenation surgery align with risks found in many other surgical procedures. Some of these risks include:
- Complications with anesthesia
- Suture rupture
However, each vaginal rejuvenation procedure carries different risks with it. For example, laser vaginal rejuvenation carries the risk of laser burns or scarring. Kegel exercises, on the other hand, carry the risk of long-term kidney damage if not practiced correctly. Your doctor will be able to tell you more about the specific risks involved with the vaginal rejuvenation procedure you’re most interested in.
Costs of Vaginal Rejuvenation
Depending on the procedure that is done, vaginal rejuvenation can range from free (Kegel exercises) to $20,000 or more (male-to-female vaginoplasty). However, most vaginal rejuvenation procedures tend to cost between $4,000 and $8,000. Keep in mind that surgical procedures will generally be the most expensive, but non-invasive procedures will get more expensive the more treatments you receive.