Monday, October 31, 2016

Labiaplasty Might Be Considered Cosmetic, But Here’s Why It Shouldn’t Be

One of my biggest questions for society these days is, “Why is there only one standard of beauty?” It seems that with the help of my plastic surgeon colleagues, young women everywhere are morphing into doll-like clones of each other, complete with arched eyebrows, a ski jump nose and plump Kylie Jenner lips from the neck up.

Neck down equals augmented breasts, a whittled waist and a big ol’ booty. As a girl who has always had much back, I appreciate that ’90s heroin chic made its way out, but at the same time I am very cognizant that God/Allah/Moses/Buddha/The Universe or who or whatever you believe in, made many more body types than just the hourglass.

There are also many different types of facial features that one can naturally have. Therefore, I am not sure why everyone is trying to look the exact same way these days. More perplexing is how acceptable an immense amount of cosmetic surgery at a very young age has become. It is completely acceptable to consider the face and the body that you are born with as a light suggestion. If you look completely different than you did say 15, 10 or five years ago, people will still comment on your Instagram selfie with, “natural beauty xoxox.”

The newest trend (and as an OB/GYN, one that I actually have some authority on) is labiaplasty. Labiaplasty is the surgical reduction of the labia minora amongst adolescents and young adults. At the time of puberty, the labia minora (inner vaginal lips) enlarge and grow to adult size. Normal labia minora can vary in size, shape and appearance. Asymmetry is common and it is also common for your labia minora (inner lips) to protrude out from your labia majora (outer lips).

The pornography industry has flooded the market with images of what they consider to be the ideal vajayjay, and since removing all of your pubic hair is in fashion, young women everywhere are starting to look down after their wax and question if they measure up to the images that they have seen on x-tube.

If a young woman decides that she does not have the new idealized image of a vagina, she is informed by the many advertisements for vaginal surgery that she may find on billboards, magazines or online that she can schedule an appointment for surgical correction.

Most of these advertisements portray the procedure as an easy quick fix. It is important to understand that labiaplasty is not a quick fix. Instead, it is a surgical procedure with risks. These risks include: the risks of anesthesia, a risk of bleeding, infection, pain, painful scarring, painful sex afterward, swelling and damage to your vulva (outer vagina).

Therefore, these risks shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I do not recommend labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons, but I do recommend it in situations when a woman has chronic physical discomfort from her labia. When this discomfort occurs with exercise, sex or tight-fitting clothing, it is something that can be considered, but only after nonsurgical measures are considered. This can include supportive underwear, arrangement of the labia during exercise, certain moisturizers and the use of formfitting clothing.

If she has pain that is persistent and not easily corrected then, and only then, should surgery be considered, but please do not consider it for cosmetic reasons.

If the man that you are sleeping with is judging you and objectifying you to that degree then it is time to change your man, not your girl. If you are having a hard time accepting the way you look down there, talk to someone about these feelings. Love your body and take time to appreciate it before putting it at risk by going under the knife.

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