As women grow older, hormonal changes can lead to changes in their genitalia that can negatively impact quality of life. Vaginal laxity and loss of muscle tone, urinary incontinence, reduced lubrication, and a loss of sensation can all happen with age. Childbearing also causes dramatic changes to the vaginal area that may not resolve themselves on their own.
One of the latest trends in the field of genital rejuvenation is non-surgical treatments. As women, their doctors, and the media become more open to discussing the issue of genital change, the field of non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation continues to grow. Women have access to effective, noninvasive treatments designed to help reverse changes in genitalia caused by age, hormones, or childbearing.
Types of Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation Treatments
Instead of resorting to surgery, there are several noninvasive treatment options for women who are interested in rejuvenating, tightening, and beautifying the genital area.
How Do Radiofrequency Treatments Work?
Energy-based devices produce gentle heat, which is then applied to tissues around the vaginal area. This heat energy helps to encourage collagen production, tightening muscles both internally and externally. The process is easy, painless, and requires little recovery time. Radiofrequency treatments can be performed in a simple clinic setting, whether by a plastic surgeon or a nurse or physician’s assistant operating under their instruction.
Benefits of Radiofrequency
Certain radiofrequency treatments available today are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective. Using radiofrequency is thought to help address several different issues that are common amongst aging women or those who have given birth:
- Sexual dysfunction and lack of arousal
- The inability to orgasm
- Vaginismus and painful muscle contractions
- Vaginal laxity, or looseness of the muscles
- Lichen sclerosus, causing patches of thin, white skin
- Urinary incontinence, or the inability to control urine flow
- Vulvar vestibulitis, or irritation of vulva tissue
Often, radiofrequency treatments offer immediate results. Patients notice tighter, firmer muscles from day one, and the results can last for a long time.
Risks of Radiofrequency
While radiofrequency treatments are FDA approved, the organization only recognizes the procedure to treat abnormal or precancerous cervical or vaginal tissue and general warts. The FDA hasn’t approved radiofrequency to treat issues such as vaginal laxity, urinary incontinence, or reduced sexual function, all of which are often issues addressed by this treatment option. The body even warns that certain devices can do more harm than good, including:
- Vaginal burns
- Pain during or after sex
- Recurring discomfort in the genital region
Recovery for Radiofrequency Treatments
Radiofrequency treatments are typically done without anesthesia and are relatively painless. After being treated, most women experience little to no tenderness in the genital area, and patients typically don’t need post-treatment painkillers or other medications
That being said, it’s a good idea to use pads instead of tampons if necessary in the days following the procedure. Women should also avoid sexual intercourse for a few days, as it may lead to soreness and irritation.
Cost of Radiofrequency
Popular radiofrequency treatments such as ThermiVa tend to be relatively expensive, considering the simplicity of the procedure. A session can run patients as much as $3,500 on the high end.
How Do Laser Treatments Work?
Also known as laser labiaplasty, this treatment uses lasers to treat a number of cosmetic and medical health concerns involving the genital region. A CO2 fractional laser targets the vaginal walls, creating tiny lesions that help to stimulate collagen production and restore equilibrium to the mucosa. It typically takes around three sessions, spaced four to six weeks apart to achieve the desired results. A touch-up appointment after a year helps to ensure that the effects of the treatment last.
Benefits of Using Lasers
Women turn to laser treatments for a number of different issues that affect their quality of life. As a noninvasive rejuvenation option, the procedure is often quicker, more convenient, and safer than surgery. There are several benefits that laser treatment has to offer, including:
- Improvements to the appearance of the genital area
- Tightening the vaginal wall muscles
- Helping to enhance sexual enjoyment
- Reducing the risk of urinary incontinence
- Re-establishing vaginal Ph
- Nourishing and hydrates the vaginal mucosa
- Thickening the genital epithelium
Risks of Laser Treatments
Like radiofrequency treatments, laser treatments haven’t been approved by the FDA for procedures meant to treat conditions such as sexual dysfunction and vaginal laxity. For most women, however, there are few to no negative side effects after undergoing laser treatment. Those who do experience discomfort usually find that the pain is temporary. The majority of complaints are no more serious than slight redness or swelling.
Recovery for Laser Treatments
Like radiofrequency options, laser treatments can be done without anesthesia. However, for external treatments around the labia majora area, physicians typically use localized, topical anesthesia, which is safer than IV anesthesia or sedation.
Patients generally don’t experience any pain or discomfort following a laser labiaplasty, and most don’t require post-op medications. However, laser treatments can cause damage to the epithelium. While there may be no tenderness, it can still take several days for patients to heal fully. After the procedure, it’s best to avoid sexual intercourse for up to a week.
Cost of Laser Treatments
Laser treatments tend to be about on par with the cost of radiofrequency options. Each of the three sessions typically cost around $1,000 each, and there may be additional fees to consider. It’s a good idea to have enough money set aside for treatments before attending your first session, as laser rejuvenation is time-sensitive.
How Does PRP Therapy Work?
PRP stands for Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy. Instead of using heat or other external factors to treat genital issues, this type of treatment relies on naturally derived growth factors from your own blood. These hormones help to repair damaged cells and reverse aging, creating stronger, more elastic skin. One of the most popular PRP options is the O-Shot, or Orgasm Shot, though as the procedure gains popularity, more treatments are becoming available.
Benefits of PRP Therapy
PRP therapy is quickly becoming a popular vaginal rejuvenation method for women looking to enhance sexual pleasure. Some of the other benefits that the treatment has to offer include:
- Reducing vaginal dryness and pain during sex
- Eliminating scars and stretch marks for smoother-looking skin
- Helping to tighten both skin and muscles
- Reducing the risk of urinary incontinence
- Hypoallergenic and minimally invasive
Risks of PRP Therapy
While many women attest to the healing powers of PRP rejuvenation therapy, it’s not yet officially recognized by the FDA. However, the risk of a negative reaction to the procedure is minimal. Since it uses blood derived from a patient’s own system, there’s little risk of rejection of a dangerous allergic reaction. The chief complaints that patients report include:
- Tenderness, irritation, and bleeding the injection site
- Temporary dizziness
- Slight nausea
Recovery for PRP Therapy
PRP therapy has a fast recovery process. In most cases, patients can return to work immediately after treatment. If you experience temporary pain or tenderness, your doctor may prescribe painkillers or a balm to ease discomfort.
Cost of PRP Therapy
PRP therapy isn’t exactly cheap, but it can be more cost-effective than other non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation options. At most, it typically runs patients $1,500 for a treatment. For the most part, insurance won’t cover the cost of PRP therapy, as it’s considered a voluntary, cosmetic procedure.
How Do Vaginal Fillers Work?
Vaginal fillers work much like the temporary fillers used to enhance facial features and eliminate wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid fillers are injected into the genital region to add volume and tighten skin. One of the most popular vaginal filler options is known as the G-Shot, where fillers are injected into the G-spot region. Another widely-used filler treatment known as Desirial is used to shape the labia.
Benefits of Vaginal Fillers
Vaginal fillers can help to tighten the vaginal area by adding volume to the labia, helping to address issues such as vaginal laxity and even incontinence. Filler treatments that shape the genital region can also help to improve lubrication in the area, creating healthier microflora and enhancing sexual pleasure. Options such as the G-shot are specifically designed to improve a patient’s sex life by making the G-spot more prominent to increase the likelihood of stimulation.
Risks of Vaginal Fillers
While hyaluronic acid is a natural compound, injecting fillers can still pose a risk to sensitive individuals. Some of the biggest dangers associated with hyaluronic acid dermal fillers include:
- Redness and irritation
- Allergic reaction
- Urinary tract infections
- Damage to the skin and scarring
- Bruising and bleeding
Recovery for Vaginal Fillers
Fillers are typically delivered under the influence of a local anesthetic, but patients are awake during the procedure. Once the anesthetic wears off, most women experience little discomfort and can return to their daily lives immediately.
Cost of Vaginal Fillers
Most vaginal filler options cost patients around $1,000 per treatment session, making it cheaper than other comparable rejuvenation options. Hyaluronic acid fillers dissolve relatively quickly, lasting just four months at most before needing replacement.