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The loose vagina and saggy labia – why it happens and what to do about it

The vaginal wall is made up of very dense connective tissue, with an excellent blood supply, with a great many nerves that link through this area. The vulva is lined by special skin cells, making the vulva more ‘skin-like’ than the vagina, with an even heftier blood and nerve supply than anywhere else on the human body.

This anatomical structure means that like other areas on the body, the vulva and vagina can both have their collagen and elastin damaged, aged, or 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 (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 (a bit of urine coming out when you laugh, cough or sneeze) and atrophic vaginitis (dry, irritated, easily-damaged vulvar and vaginal tissue).

One of the issues that can 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 vagina and vulva is its appearance, which can be displeasing to some women, leading to self-consciousness. Labia majora (outer vaginal lips) can cause discomfort and irritation when wearing tight clothes and during sex. Labia minora (inner vaginal lips) can droop or dangle lower than they used to, also 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).

We can rejuvenate the tissue of the vagina and vulva (surgery-free)

We have treatments that can contract vulvovaginal tissues, 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

Our Doctors

Dr Anthony Rixon and Dr Sandy Fieldhouse both specialise in vaginal rejuvenation. Having performed many of the Juilet procedures, they are both passionate about improving these symptoms in women.

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

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 layers of tissue in the vagina and on the vulva, while also penetrating deeper.

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 your external areas, while also being able to treat deep inside the vagina. The whole vaginal area, including as much of the urinary tract as we can access, is able to be treated successfully. We can also access the perineal area where required. If our handpiece can get to it, we can treat it.

Laxity and sex

Stretched tissue severely impacts a woman’s sexual satisfaction, making it difficult to become naturally lubricated and to reach orgasm.

What research is discovering is 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 in women.

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 the device energy is able to 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.

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, easy cracking and bleeding, itching, and urinary stress incontinence.

Lasers have been found 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.
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