The majority of women that obtain labiaplasty do it for sexual reasons and aesthetics. Women who undergo this procedure have an enlarged labia minora (vaginal lips) due to age, hormones, sexual intercourse, or childbirth.
Labial hypertrophy, an enlargement of the labia, has various symptoms which include pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, pain while wearing form fitting clothing, and interference with exercise, and normal daily activities.
The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) states 1,030 vaginal rejuvenation procedures were performed in 2006- the last year statistics for this surgery were collected. However, the United States, United Kingdom, and other developed nations, state that the procedure appears to be growing exponentially in popularity.
Females contemplating the procedure are most concerned about the waiting period before they can engage in sexual intercourse. Most doctors require patients to wait at least 6 weeks before engaging in coitus. Since each surgery is different, there are variations in healing time, from 3 weeks to 3 months.
An adequate wait time is essential to prevent disruption of the suture lines (the seams), which can cause separation of the edges and wide scars. Vaginal pain can occur during and after sex if patients’ do not wait for ample healing.
In general, most wounds need approximately 6 weeks of healing to achieve satisfactory wound strength, to tolerate stress forces and avoid wound separation. There are a number of precautions one can take when returning to sexual activities. These include a brief massage to the labia to encourage scar maturation and diminish hypersensitivity; a generous usage of lubrication to minimize vaginal friction; gentle, slow, and manually guided penetration to lessen labial tension; and other forms of sexual pleasure that do not require penetration.
Overall, pain is one of the best indicators of your ability to return to normal sexual activities.
Depending on your own unique wound healing status, sexual activities prior to 6 weeks may either go smoothly, with minimal pain, or have dire results such as wound separation or hematoma. If this is a concern, women should return to their plastic surgeon prior to resuming sexual activities, and inquire about the condition of their labia.
Most importantly, when women decide to engage in sexual activity, after labioplasty, it’s important that they do it slowly. It’s necessary to take notice if you are getting outside of the comfort zone. Women must pay attention to the signals their body is sending and take time to experiment gently.