by Aesthetic Doctor, Dr. Marisa Heyns
Vaginal rejuvenation; a topic that most women shy away from. It almost seems as if we are not allowed to think of our intimate areas as something that adds to our general wellbeing. After all, it is partly what makes us women. And for us to experience the glory of female wellness, surely, we should be embracing what there is to offer, to promote better intimate wellness.
Table of contents
- WHAT IS VAGINAL REJUVENATION?
- INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FEMALE GENITALIA
- HOW DOES THE VAGINA AGE?
- NON-SURGICAL VAGINAL REJUVENATION TREATMENTS
- DOES ANYONE REALLY NEED VAGINAL REJUVENATION?
- VAGINAL REJUVENATION TREATMENT RECOVERY
- VAGINAL REJUVENATION TREATMENT RISKS
- EXPECTED TREATMENT RESULTS
- OUR APPROACH TO VAGINAL REJUVENATION
- ENJOY EVERY SINGLE PART OF YOURSELF
WHAT IS VAGINAL REJUVENATION?
Vaginal rejuvenation is a broad term for vaginal treatments focused on improving the quality, functioning, and appearance of the intimate region. These procedures can be done for cosmetic reasons or to solve age-related issues due to the decline of intimate structures.
Before we enter the wonderful world of intimate wellness treatments and what they can provide us with, it might be important to know which intimate structures are involved.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FEMALE GENITALIA
When it comes to defining the various structures that comprise the female genitalia in scientific terms, there is still, in this day and age, no clear consensus among doctors, scientists, and sexologists as to what fits where, and what we should be calling what. It is no wonder that we ourselves struggle to name our own body parts. So, what do we call what exactly?
A very important feature that relates to the future of mankind. But it is certainly not the be-all and end-all of what comprises our intimate region, as we all mistakenly refer to. The term vagina only pertains to the internal part of the female reproductive system The vaginal wall is made of muscle covered in a mucus membrane, similar to the tissue in your mouth. The wall contains layers of connective tissue with many elastic fibers.
The actual part we can see, comprising of various structures.
The Mons Pubis
Rounded area in front of the pubic bones at the lower part of the abdomen. The vulva has 2 folds of skin. The outer plump skin folds are called the labia majora. And the inner folds are called the labia minora which comprise of skin on the outside and vaginal mucosa on the inside. These skin folds protect the opening of the urethra and the vagina.
So much debate around this very important female erogenous zone still exists. Did you know that it was previously excluded in anatomy textbooks and discounted as an organ, due to its insignificant size and apparently having no function!! What we do know is that it certainly does not start nor end with the little pea-size projection we sometimes struggle to find! In fact, around 90% of the clitoris’s bulk lies beneath the surface, consisting of a network of crackling nerves and blood vessels. The shape of the clitoris is likened to a plump wishbone shape, with a head and body that encircles the vagina, with arms that flare out up to 9cm into the pelvis. And all of the parts beneath the surface are made of erectile tissue, meaning they swell with blood when aroused to become even bigger. The even more elusive G spot can be found on the inside of the vagina about 2 cm on in the inner wall behind the urethra. Again, no agreement on terms exists to define this structure, however, it is thought that the G spot forms part of the clitoral network.
At the bottom of the inner folds of the vulva is the fourchette. This is where the labia minora meet. Below the fourchette, we find the perineum (also part of the vulva) which ends at the anus.
HOW DOES THE VAGINA AGE?
With aging, just as we experience changes within the skin structures in our face, a similar event takes place down under.
Hormones play a key role in the maintenance of our intimate zones. And with the fluctuation of female sex hormones and the eventual decline in oestrogen around menopause, we notice a drastic change in all the areas of our womanhood as discussed above.
The vaginal mucosal which requires specific types of cells to maintain a healthy and intact barrier as well as pH to protect against bacteria and infections experience a decline in structure. This involves hardening of its superficial epithelial cells which leads to dryness, thinning of the cell layers, breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid and a decrease in blood supply. The progressive thinning and drying out of these tissues lead to symptoms that may include dryness, itching, burning, contact bleeding, and pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia).
Thinning vulvar tissue
Within the labia majora we notice a decrease in collagen and elastin and hyaluronic acid and thinning of the vulvar tissue along with volume loss. The labia majora starts to look a little more deflated than its youthful plumper self, and the labia minora becomes thinner and longer with time.
The Aging Clitoris
The clitoris experiences a decrease in blood supply with fewer nerve endings causing a loss of sensitivity and a slower response to stimulus. This could spell doom and gloom in the bedroom, as it may become more and more difficult to enjoy sexual intercourse and achievement of the big O!
Risk of Vaginal Infections
Other symptoms, we may not immediately consider being linked to vulvovaginal aging, include an increased risk of vaginal infections called vaginitis (due to the loss of the protective acid pH of the mucosa), a risk for urinary tract infections, continence issues due to thinning of the supportive tissue walls, even an increase in pigmentation of the vulval region.
Other triggers that contribute to changes that are not directly age-related include pregnancy, obesity, metabolic disorders, obesity, surgery, and treatments that mess with our hormones including radio or chemotherapy.
NON-SURGICAL VAGINAL REJUVENATION TREATMENTS
There is a broad spectrum of treatments that focus on vaginal and vulval rejuvenation. As we better understand what goes wrong with the tissue structures our focus turns to restoring and improving the physiological functioning of all female intimate areas.
The choice in treatments, ideally, should focus on the degree of tissue damage, which in turn relates to the degree of vulval and vaginal rejuvenation that is required.
Treatments in this category aim to improve the quality of the tissue, as well as functional improvement of symptoms.
The PRP O-Shot
PRP treatments aim to improve tissue structure through its stimulation by powerful growth factors found in our very own platelets. Once injected into the affected tissue, the growth factors activate fibroblasts to initiate the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin to ensure plumper more hydrated vaginal mucosa.
Just as PRP treatments can activate the production of the structural elements in various tissues, they can also feed and promote neuronal tissue production along with improved blood supply. When the treatment is applied to the clitoris head, body, and roots including the G-spot (as with the O-Shot), noticeable improvement in sensation can be expected after 2-3 weeks, and often after a single treatment!
Nowadays we see a similar improvement in clitoral stimulation with the use of specific hyaluronic acid fillers! This is an ideal option for those who choose not to or will not benefit from using their own PRP.
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Devices
Where PRP treatments feed the skin with growth factors, laser and radiofrequency devices aim to stimulate better collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production by creating controlled micro-injuries to the tissue. These injuries activate a powerful wound healing response that can tighten lax tissue whilst creating plumper and a more hydrated mucosal surface. These devices have shown to improve the condition of the vaginal walls, especially the tissues around the urethral opening to even improve mild stress incontinence! Here, the CO2RE Intima Laser treatment remains the gold standard for vaginal tightening as well as vaginal bleaching.
Labia Majora Augmentation
As mentioned before the labia majora loses volume over time, and for aesthetic reasons, many women prefer a little extra volume to restore their confidence in the bedroom. With Labia Majora Augmentation we can inject micro fat (harvested from your own resistant fatty flank pockets) to restore a little volume. The added benefit of using your own fat, is the stem cells that are contained within the fat tissue, to not only plump but also rejuvenate the skin and tissue structures similar to how growth factors work.
Again, for those who want to stick to less invasive options, the use of dermal hyaluronic acid fillers, can achieve similar volumizing results.
Treatments for Intimate Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation can be a worrisome condition and due to the increased amount of pigment-making cells, the vulva may experience increased pigmentation due to a surge in hormones, friction due to clothes, and post-inflammatory pigmentation due to waxing, laser hair removal, and shaving. Thankfully there are topical depigmentation treatments available (such as Dermamelan Intimate used at our clinic) to reduce current pigmentation, leaving the skin of the labia majora, mons pubis, perineum, and the inner thighs looking brighter and healthier.
Treatment for Painful Intercourse/Vaginismus
This condition, not necessarily linked to a decline in functioning, occurs due to the uncontrolled tightening and spasm of the vaginal muscles, making intercourse very difficult, even impossible. The treatment and management of vaginismus are tricky and a multi-disciplinary approach may be warranted. However, we do find that the use of a small dose of botulinum toxin (injected in three separate areas of the vaginal circumference) can bring about much-needed vaginal muscle relaxation around the vaginal opening to facilitate better sexual functioning.
DOES ANYONE REALLY NEED VAGINAL REJUVENATION?
Any woman who suffers from any of the above-mentioned symptoms or anyone who feels they have lost their confidence within their intimate relationships can benefit from a non-invasive vulvovaginal rejuvenation treatment. We all deserve healthy functioning intimate organs, and who is going to say no to a little extra pleasure in the bedroom. There is no wrong or right age. It should be a decision that depends on the individual and their own needs, and really should be free of judgment from others.
VAGINAL REJUVENATION TREATMENT RECOVERY
Minimally invasive vaginal/vulval rejuvenation treatments usually carry little to no downtime. Treatments that focus on vaginal tightening tend to sit with very little discomfort if any, but due to the invasiveness of the treatments, we suggest you keep a low sexual profile for about 7 -10 days. When it comes to injectables (PRP and filler) there should be no downtime at all, and clients can resume all sorts of activities within 24 – 72 hours.
THE RISKS OF NON-SURGICAL VAGINAL REJUVENATION TREATMENTS
Generally, minimally invasive treatments carry no to very minimal risks. When using your own cells whether it be PRP or stem cells, there are no risks of adverse events. With vaginal tightening treatments, the energies used to stimulate tissues are generally very low and carry a low risk of damage to tissues. Having said that, treatments are operator-dependent, and hence choosing a qualified doctor with experience in intimate wellness treatments is crucial.
NON-SURGICAL VAGINAL TREATMENT RESULTS
Rejuvenation does not happen overnight. Your body generally recovers or upregulates its function between 2 to 6 weeks. To maintain results for longer periods the idea is to boost the initial treatment generally with 2 additional treatments 4- 6 weeks apart. And it is important to note that no result is permanent as the body’s functioning declines as we get older. So, top-up treatments are necessary.
OUR APPROACH TO VAGINAL REJUVENATION
At Dr. Nerina Wilkinson + Associates we believe that intimate wellness plays a big role in general female wellness. We offer intimate wellness consultations to assess and better understand each client’s individual intimate wellness need as well as their expectations. In this way, we can then offer the best treatment for your particular concern. We also strive to give you the best treatment experience along your female wellness journey. Our treatment strategies are focused around the latest technology and evidence-based methods and we package our treatments called Signature treatments in such a way to give you the best results in the shortest time.
IT’S TIME TO ENJOY EVERY SINGLE PART OF YOURSELF
Intimate wellness is not something we should feel shy about pursuing. Female wellness is not just about feeling confident about ourselves in our most intimate and vulnerable moments. Just as we take great care looking after our skin and our appearance, so we should when it comes to looking after our intimate zones. Non-surgical vaginal and vulval rejuvenation treatments, at the end of the day, aim to improve the quality and the physiological functioning of the intimate structures, in order for us to love and enjoy every part of ourselves.
Written by Dr. Marisa Heyns