Why Are Young Women Seeking Vaginal Rejuvenation & Labiaplasty?
Surgery for form or function?
Vaginal surgery has been available to women for decades. There are procedures to correct involuntary urination, restore hymens, de-hood the clitoris, tighten the canal—the last, a popular request from women who have suffered loosening after giving birth—but ABC recently reported that experts are now encountering thousands of women in search of a cosmetic procedure to reconstruct their labia minora, the inner "lips" surrounding the vulva, and enhance the appearance of their genitalia. According to one doctor, interest in labiaplasty has even peaked in girls, some as young as 11 years old.
Dr. Cheryl B. Iglesia, a reconstructive pelvic surgeon said, "It's really concerning, because [the trend] is really reaching younger ages, in their teens. It's just not right."
In the June issue of the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, Iglesia wrote, "None of these procedures have proven effectiveness, and there is potential for harm. Women are being misled or are confused about what is normal. There are great variations of 'normal.' Labia can be anywhere from 5 millimeters to 5 centimeters." In her studied opinion, women have been "duped."
[When Did Vagina Become a Bad Word?]
But who's to blame? After all, mainstream media, the usual delinquent assumed to be the catalyst behind all societal ills, doesn't make a habit of exposing "spread eagles" or full-frontal female genitalia, yet the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has reported that over 5,000 women in the United States have vaginoplasty, a "tightening" of the birth canal, annually.
"Doctors should take some responsibility for feeding this," said author Edie Raether, a psychotherapist who specializes in body image issues, specifically anorexia. "The abnormality here is much more an internal issue of self image. Women say, 'Oh, I can pay a couple thousand bucks [for the surgery]' and then a greedy doctor takes a knife to it, and takes money from these people who have a mental issue. But it's really a Band-Aid approach to some serious psychological issues of self esteem."