Women’s health is a topic often underappreciated and not talked about enough. There are a lot of common misperceptions about it, in fact. I definitely think that if you are feeling uncertain about a specific procedure or surgery that you should probably consult with a gynecologist first to see if it is something worthwhile for you.
That being said, there seems to be a lot of press about surgical vaginoplasty, often referred to as vaginal tightening. I know a lot of people have questioned whether it is a valid surgery or a necessary one, as it is based on a bit of outdated slang regarding women’s bodies. In this article, I would like to cover some of these misconceptions and explain what this procedure is really about.
What is it?
I figure this is likely the best place to start. To understand what vaginoplasty is, one must first turn their attention to some of the motivating factors behind it. Did you know that the muscles in our pelvic floor tend to lose their strength over time? This is especially true if we have given birth.
Now, it a procedure that helps to repair any damage done to a vagina. However, it can also construct one, so it is a common part of gender affirming surgeries. Many trans women undergo this procedure for this reason, making it something valuable to educate about in my book!
Who is Eligible to Receive it, and Why Would They?
Something to keep in mind about this surgery is that it looks different for every individual who decides to undergo it. That is because we each have our own unique health needs, so it is hard to specifically tell you what to expect from it. Now, bearing that information, let me explain a bit further.
The first reason that people tend to get it is that somehow their muscles or tissue have been injured, torn, or faced other traumas. This is quite common during childbirth, particularly for mothers who do not end up having a c-section. If you are noticing that you have increased incontinence or intercourse is painful, it may be something to consider or at least check on.
Anyone who has needed to have radiation treatments in their vaginal area are also usually candidates for a procedure like this one. You can click here to learn more about how that works if it is something you want to know. It could also be applicable for anyone who has had an excision in that region for a variety of reasons.
As you can probably imagine, another factor could be for anyone who has experienced an abnormality from birth, sometimes referred to as a birth defect. They are commonly referred to as congenital abnormalities. If they are impacting your vaginal health, it may be time to think about this type of procedure.
Finally, they can be used to construct a new vagina for anyone seeking gender affirmation surgery. It has previously been referred to in other ways, but in the interest of retaining sensitivity, I will call it this. It can be a bit of a tenuous subject, but I just wanted to touch upon it briefly as I do think it is a valuable resource for this.
What Happens Before?
The preparation phase can be a bit intimidating. However, thanks to resources like this one, https://www.childrenshospital.org/treatments/vaginoplasty, there are few reasons that we need to just suffer in our anxiety before our appointments. There is a lot more information out there today than ever in the past.
First, you will probably have some sort of physical evaluation. Prepare to discuss your medical history, as certain factors could put you at higher risk for complications. It might spark some uncomfortable conversations, but it will be worth the discomfort in the long run.
After that, your doctor will most likely educate you on some of those potential risks. Of course, some information about the benefits is also pertinent. They should also inform you of some of the care that should happen after the surgery and what the plan for that care is. At least, they can help you with the latter, especially if you are lacking support at home.
Finally, if you are getting it as a gender affirming procedure, there are a few additional guidelines that might need to be followed. Sometimes, hair in that area needs to be removed, for example. Three are more details with some of the national institutes, so you might be pointed in that direction.
What are Some Possibilities to Expect?
As I mentioned earlier, there is no set of specific step-by-step procedures you can expect as each operation will be very personal to the person receiving it. However, as far as childbirth injuries go, there are a few things that you can expect to happen if they are applicable for you. Often, repair starts with tissue.
One of the first things done might be the removal of extra skin. You may also get stitches that will help secure any loose tissue that is in your vaginal walls. Depending on the injuries, your surgeon may even make the entrance smaller. Often, that is where the misconception about making a woman “tighter” for intercourse comes into play.
Just know that there are additional health benefits beyond that. Likely, your doctor will remove any other excess tissue and help to prevent any blood pooling that could occur during menstruation. Those are just some of the aspects, though, and this list is not comprehensive.
Other than that, are there more considerations here before you make a firm decision? I think many of those who are eligible do often question whether it is worth it. If it will result in you feeling more confident with your body and having less issues during intercourse, I will say the answer is probably yes.
Naturally, it is up to your discretion in the end. However, I think there are certainly times where it is valuable.