Entries in Vaginas (2)


Women Are 'Duped' in Quest for Perfect Vagina, Says Doctor

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Corrective gynecological surgery has been available for decades to help women with incontinence or sagging of the vaginal canal after childbirth.

But experts say thousands of women, especially younger ones, now seek such procedures as vaginoplasty and labiaplasty, which can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 and are not covered by insurance, to enhance the appearance of their genitalia or to achieve some sort of sexual ideal.

The American College of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reports 2,140 women elected such surgeries in 2010.  The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says twice as many have been performed in the U.S. annually -- nearly 5,200.

But these numbers might be on the low side.

"We don't know the exact number, because a lot are done at surgery centers and it's hard to keep track," said Dr. Cheryl B. Iglesia, a reconstructive pelvic surgeon and director of the female program at the National Center for Advanced Pelvic Surgery in Washington, D.C.  "There isn't a code that we have.  And people are paying cash up front."

"It's really concerning, because [the trend] is really reaching younger ages, in their teens," Iglesia said.  "I heard of a mother taking in a 16-year-old and 11-year-old wanting to get it done.  It's just not right."

In an editorial in the June issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, Iglesia said women were being "misled or confused about what is 'normal.'"

"There are great variations of normal," Iglesia said.  "Labia can be anywhere from 5 millimeters to 5 centimeters."

Iglesia believes women have been "duped" by an entire culture that is oversexualized.

She said that Internet pornography and removing pubic hair through Brazilian waxing or shaving give women unrealistic expectations about their bodies -- or what they believe men like or want -- and goes as far as to compare vaginal rejuvenation procedures to "new age female circumcision."

In 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned about vaginoplasties and labiaplasties that were not medically indicated, questioning their safety and effectiveness.

The biggest risks in such procedures are infection, altered sensation, dyspareunia (painful contractions of the vagina), adhesions and scarring, according to ACOG, which says women need to be informed about the lack of data on these procedures and their "potential complications."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Born with Two Vaginas: Not So Rare

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- When British television aired a story about a woman who had been born with double the equipment --  two vaginas, two cervixes and two uteruses -- Internet commenters piped in and said, “Me, too!”

Hazel Jones, a 27-year-old from High Wycombe, has a rare, but not unheard of condition called uterus didelphys, which is not easily diagnosed until a woman’s sex organs develop as she enters puberty.

Jones, who got her diagnosis at 18 after suffering for years from severe menstrual cramps, shared her story this week with ITV’s show This Morning.

Jones has a septum or dividing wall between her two vaginas, which occurred during her own development in the womb, say her doctors. The condition occurs in about one in 3,000 women, according to the World Health Organization. Women can have children, although they are more apt to require a C-section section, as babies are often born breech.

A variety of uterine or mullerian anomalies occur in about 1 in 200 births, according to Vincenzo Berghella, director of maternal fetal medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “You do the math: probably more than 100 million women in the world have it.”

“The reproductive tract is made of two tubes next to each other all the way from the vagina to the fallopian tubes,” he said. “They are supposed to fuse at the level of the vagina so they are only one. For whatever reason -- it’s unknown -- the two tubes don’t fuse and you have double. There are more than 10 variations and sometimes you have two uteruses.”

Often it is diagnosed when women have reproductive or infertility problems, but some women may go on to have children and never know they had the condition, said Berghella. Surgery can also repair a vagina with a septum, though scarring or perforation can occur.

Jones first suspected something was wrong when her boyfriend told her that her genitals were “different.” She also found sex uncomfortable and wondered why her girlfriends were baffled when she asked “which hole” to use with tampons.

Others who read the online story this week said they also had the condition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio