The vaginal wall is made up of very dense connective tissue, with an excellent blood supply. Many nerves link through this area. The vulva is lined by special skin cells, making the vulva more ‘skin-like’ than the vagina, with even heftier blood and nerve supply than anywhere else on the human body.
The anatomical structure of the vagina and vulva mean that like other areas on the body, both can have their collagen and elastin damaged, aged, and stretched to the point where it doesn’t bounce back. This stretching results in what we think of as a ‘loose’ vagina and saggy labia.
The vaginal delivery and your vagina and vulva
Vaginal deliveries can cause stretching of the connective tissue of the vagina and the vulva (including the labia), and as it heals, it may never recover its former elasticity and firmness. The older you are when you give birth vaginally, the less your tissue bounces back, since collagen and elastin production naturally slows down over time.
Age and hormones affect the condition of the vagina and vulva. As the vagina and other local structures are stretched out, other issues can arise like stress urinary incontinence (urine leakage when you laugh, cough or sneeze) and atrophic vaginitis (dry, irritated, easily-damaged vulvar and vaginal tissue).
One of the issues that may arise with vulvovaginal laxity is reduced sensations during sex, which can have a negative impact on relationships and self-esteem. The net effect is reduced quality of life.
The aesthetics of the vulva
An element of laxity of the vulva is its appearance, which can be displeasing to some people, leading to self-consciousness. The labia majora (outer vaginal lips) or labia minora (inner vaginal lips) can cause discomfort and irritation when wearing tight clothes and during sex.
Labia minora can droop or dangle lower than they used to, causing discomfort at times. Orgasms can slip away and become much harder to achieve due to a lack of friction caused by laxity or looseness of the vagina.
We can support rejuvenation the tissue of the vagina and vulva (surgery-free)
We have treatments that can contract vulvovaginal tissue, tightening the top few layers of the vagina and vulva, promoting new collagen formation. The old collagen may have been stretched, so the formation of new collagen is imperative when tightening and rejuvenating vaginal and vulvar tissue.
Our Intimate Program combines several effective treatments that tighten tissue, restore natural vaginal moisture, improve sexual sensitivity, and have a significant positive impact on stress urinary incontinence.
Dr Anthony Rixon talks about the ENRICH Intimate program
What devices are used in vaginal rejuvenation treatments?
We use the Juliet laser and the ThermiVa in our intimate program. These two energy-based high-tech devices work on different layers of tissue to get a deeper, more thorough treatment than just one device on its own.
The Juliet laser
Lasers always work from the outside in, and the Juliet is no different. The Juliet works on the topmost layers of vulvovaginal tissue, stimulating collagen and elastin production and tightening the existing fibres.
The effect is an immediate tightening of tissue, but the longer-term effects become apparent over the coming months. Collagen and elastin can only be produced at a certain rate by the body, so it naturally takes time for the greater effect to become apparent.
The ThermiVa is a radiofrequency device that is able to reach deeper levels of tissue than just the Juliet on its own. We use the ThermiVa and the Juliet together to reach the superficial and deeper layers of tissue in the vagina and on the vulva.
Radiofrequency waves are able to get further into tissue, so we get a dual action from both devices.
Where we treat
When we treat vulvovaginal laxity, we run the devices over the external vulvar areas, while also treating deep inside the vagina. The entire vaginal area, including as much of the urinary tract as we can access, can be successfully treated. We also access the perineal area where required. If our handpiece can get to it, we can treat it.
Laxity and sex
Stretched vulvovaginal tissue can severely impact one’s sexual satisfaction, making it difficult to become naturally lubricated and reach orgasm.
Research is discovering that nonsurgical vulvovaginal treatments are improving women’s sex lives, as well as making life more comfortable in some very personal ways. Tightening vulvovaginal tissue results in greater friction, and stimulating the cells means improved natural levels of moisture.
Laxity and incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence is a serious imposition, but tissue laxity or poor pelvic floor function is the cause. While nonsurgical treatments can’t reach the pelvic floor (yet!), they can improve tissue integrity of the urethra. One of the greatest achievements of these treatments has been the success in reducing stress urinary incontinence.
The jury is still out on just how much tightening is able to be achieved, but this is due to individual variances in tissue, and just how far energy can penetrate. No matter what, we’re onto something. These treatments are a valuable start in helping women live a life where laughing and sneezing can come and go without a mess and sex feels good again.
What the research is saying
There is emerging research into non-surgical vaginal treatments for what’s known as the genitourinary symptoms of menopause (GSM). These symptoms include vaginal dryness, atrophy, cracking and bleeding, itching, and urinary stress incontinence.
Lasers have been found to provide improvements in sexual discomfort and atrophy and reducing vulvovaginal symptoms. Lasers were found to be safe and effective in improving laxity and dryness.
Radiofrequency was found to produce statistically significant improvements in vaginal laxity, sexual satisfaction, improvements in stress urinary incontinence, vaginal atrophy and orgasms. The average reduced time in one study was 50 per cent, with improved tightness, moisture, and sensitivity. Others showed improvements in vulvar appearance and sexual function.
Want more information? Book in for a consult today.
We have the best vaginal rejuvenation program in Melbourne.