What is Feminine Rejuvenation?
Female rejuvenation, commonly referred to as vaginal rejuvenation, encompasses several procedures. In the past, physicians like plastic surgeons and even OB/GYNs used procedures including labia tightening, labiaplasty, and other surgical procedures for female rejuvenation.
Now we have less invasive, energy-based procedures available that don’t require surgery and require less downtime for recovery. These include the use of fractional CO2 lasers, radiofrequency devices, and injectables as means of vaginal rejuvenation.
What Issues Can Be Treated by Feminine Rejuvenation?
While early vaginal rejuvenation surgical procedures were designed primarily to treat a widened vaginal diameter, modern procedures have evolved to focus on addressing the vaginal discomforts women experience.
Vaginal rejuvenation can be a solution to several issues for premenopausal women of any age or for women who have completed menopause.
Vaginal rejuvenation works to address incontinence issues related to:
- weakened pelvic floor muscles from childbirth
- weight fluctuations
- hormonal changes
Vaginal rejuvenation works to tighten these muscles again and decrease incontinence. Feminine rejuvenation treatments can also be a solution for patients experiencing vaginal atrophy, dryness, or physiological stress such as pain with intercourse.
How Does the C02 Laser Work?
The fractional CO2 laser for vaginal rejuvenation is similar to the laser we use for CO2 laser resurfacing of the face, chest, and neck. This type of CO2 laser is also used for scar therapy and other aesthetic resurfacing procedures that result in healthier skin.
The goal of CO2 laser resurfacing is to create superficial damage to the top layer of skin (epidermis) and even slightly damage the layer underneath (superficial dermis) to stimulate remodeling of that skin. As the body heals after this procedure, collagen regenerates and the elastic fibers in the skin contract causing a tightening of vaginal tissue.
What Should You Expect Before Treatment?
Before we can evaluate if a patient is ready to begin vaginal rejuvenation, we make sure they’ve visited the OB/GYN within the last six months and have a healthy exam and pap smear results.
Dermatologists are not experts in vaginal health. Before we begin treatment, we want to make sure there’s not an underlying pathology that needs to be treated by a gynecologist. Once a patient is healthy, we evaluate the best treatment option for the patient’s concerns.
What Should You Expect During and After Treatment?
CO2 laser resurfacing uses a CO2 laser probe with a sterile covering to treat the vaginal area. The probe is inserted into the vagina, and then the laser is turned on. As we slowly remove this probe, it resurfaces the inside of the skin. Healing happens over days. Overall, patients tolerate this procedure well, even without anesthesia. The only minor complaint is a warm feeling generated from the laser.
The procedure only lasts for 10-20 minutes and is considered very safe. While some studies say there’s no downtime for vaginal rejuvenation, we recommend three days of vaginal rest prior and an additional three days following the procedures. This means no sexual activity within this six-day period. There is no other downtime from work or exercise required.
We recommend a series of three treatments, usually 4-6 weeks apart. These visits are relatively quick and easy. As long as the patient is comfortable enough not to have anesthesia (and the large majority are), it’s a simple appointment.
After these treatments, women report significant improvement in vaginal burning, vaginal itching, dyspareunia (pain with sexual contact), and dysuria (pain with urination or incontinence).
Again, it’s important to make sure you see your OBGYN within 6 months prior to your consultation.
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