Vagina | Vaginal Laxity
According to statistics reported in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (1), the current prevalence of vaginal laxity is 5.2%. Berman (2) suggested that about 76% females are at risk of developing vaginal laxity at some point of their life.
Vaginal skin is comprised largely of collagen tissue that has the ability to expand, contract and return to its original size, however, after childbirth a lot of females experience vaginal laxity (a reduction in the resilience, strength and contractility of vaginal tissue) that may interfere with quality of sexual life by reducing the sensation and sensitivity during intercourse.
What Are the Primary Causes of Vaginal Laxity?
Some Potential Causes Why Some Women Develop Vaginal Laxity Are:
- History of multiple vaginal births (risk is exceptionally higher in women with unsupervised deliveries).
- History of instrumental deliveries.
- Advancing age (when all muscles of the body get lax due to physiological changes in the metabolism of collagen).
- Almost 50 to 75% women experience significant vaginal laxity after menopause due to loss of protective effect of estrogen on vaginal muscles.
- In the setting of certain genetic disorders of collagen metabolism, females may experience vaginal laxity at a younger age.
- History of significant trauma to vagina (e.g. in women who inert large foreign objects in vagina). If trauma is severe or recurrent, vagina’s tissue may become lax and incompetent.
- Excessive sexual activity (risk factors include early age at first intercourse, sex workers etc).
- Kegel exercises are usually recommended to women with vaginal laxity. A fair percentage of females also experience some degree of urinary incontinence and can significantly benefit from Kegel exercises.
- Certain formulations like virgin herbal spray or virgin herbal creams are also used by a lot of females who don’t want to undergo surgical intervention or other costly procedures. The key is to use only ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic’ products.
Various surgical and cosmetic procedures are also utilized to improve the strength and resilience of vaginal tissue (and are collectively referred to as Female Genital Cosmetic Surgeries or FGCS). This includes:
- Vaginoplasty: A procedure that involves and is considered fairly helpful in restoring the tightness of vagina.
- Labiaplasty: It is a common cosmetic procedure that is performed to improve the aesthetic appearance of labia majora and minora.
Few potential hazard of surgical interventions for the management of vaginal laxity include risk of infection, scar tissue formation and painful intercourse that compromise the quality of results. Researchers believe that bilateral colporrhaphies (mucosal vaginal tightening) deliver desirable results in 95% cases (3) and reduces the risk of infection and other complications as well. Other surgical procedures include:
Research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (4) suggested that combining multiple genital cosmetic surgeries, the efficacy of results can be increased up to 91.2% (even in severe cases).
Innovative Procedures/Techniques For Vaginal Laxity:
Recently another innovative procedure has been developed that helps in restoration of vaginal tissue tightness by inducing collagen tissue remodeling and rebuilding at cellular level. Radio frequency treatment employs heat or thermal energy that reduces the pain or discomfort associated with surgical intervention. Since the number and strength of active collagen fibers is increased by low heat, most females report promising results (in terms of sensitivity and tightness).
Research article compiled by Millheiser (5) reported the results of an interventional study conducted on 24 females with complaints of vaginal laxity (in the age range of 25 to 44 years). Investigators identified that even after 6 months of Radiofrequency treatment, all study participants reported significant improvement in sexual distress, vaginal tightness and sexual function.
1. MacLennan, A. H., Taylor, A. W., Wilson, D. H., & Wilson, D. (2000).The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders and their relationship to gender, age, parity and mode of delivery. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 107(12), 1460-1470.
2. Berman JR, Berman LA, Werbin TJ, Goldstein I. Female sexual dysfunction: Anatomy, physiology, evaluation and treatment options. Curr Opin Urol. 1999;9:563-568.
3. Adamo, C., & Corvi, M. (2009). Cosmetic mucosal vaginal tightening (lateral colporrhaphy): improving sexual sensitivity in women with a sensation of wide vagina. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 123(6), 212e-213e.
4. Goodman, M. P., Placik, O. J., Benson III, R. H., Miklos, J. R., Moore, R. D., Jason, R. A., … & Gonzalez, F. (2010). A large multicenter outcome study of female genital plastic surgery. The journal of sexual medicine, 7(4 pt 1), 1565-1577.
5. Millheiser, L. S., Pauls, R. N., Herbst, S. J., & Chen, B. H. (2010). Radiofrequency treatment of vaginal laxity after vaginal delivery: nonsurgical vaginal tightening. The journal of sexual medicine, 7(9), 3088-3095.