Labiaplasty: What need to know about Labiaplasty
Why labiaplasty? Why now?
“I want mine to look like that” is a cry that consultant gynaecological surgeon, Dr. Mike Bowen, hears all too often - accompanied by women pointing at airbrushed vaginas in porn mags.
The “I want that one” mentality of many a patient is often the first alarm bell that makes Dr. Bowen question if they want labiaplasty for the right reasons.
Clinically speaking, labia come in all shapes and sizes and larger labia in themselves are not a medical “problem”. Dr Sarah Creighton, a consultant gynaecologist at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women's Health in London told the Guardian: "almost all of the women seeking surgery do not have a medical under-lying condition."
Unsurprisingly, the NHS will only perform a labiaplasty if there are sufficient grounds, such as repeated infection or painful discomfort. Nevertheless, many women with normal, large, healthy labia end up in cosmetic surgeries, because of a lack of body confidence.
Perhaps this can be understood by the rise of the porn industry where the trend for Hollywood waxes and smaller labia is most prevalent. The prepubescent-looking vaginas that dominate porn are quite different from the real variety of women’s vagina
’s, leading some women to think they’re abnormal.
A quick glance at body image forums reveals teenage girls lamenting about their labia, saying: "I'm a freak" when really they are utterly normal.
Increasingly, rather than thinking in terms of what's normal, women are asking "am I 'porn-mal'?" And Dr. Stern of LabiaplastySurgeon.com
agrees: “with the advent of more sexually permissive magazines and videos, images of female genitalia are much more prevalent.” And if there's one thing women are adept at, it's criticising themselves in relation to glossy media images - and that includes porn.
After all, even the porn stars are at it. One of the most high profile labiaplasty's was performed on Houston, an American porn star, in 1999. When asked why, she told the New York Observer: “I wanted smaller pussy lips” to have a better “look” in her intimate shots.
But porn stars aside, why are more ‘real' women having this operation?
Image © iStockphoto