Women are at the stage now where we can talk openly about aesthetic procedures. Get a group of middle-aged pals together and it’s a topic that’s bound to come up: who’s had Botox; who’s considered a facelift; and who steers well clear of cosmetic tweaks.
But for many reasons – be that embarrassment or the fact it’s just not the “done thing” – we avoid discussing those more intimate ageing issues. Post childbirth and into the menopause, the changes that happen to women and their vaginas can have a severe impact on their lives.
From stress incontinence and weakened pelvic floors through to painful sex and laxity, there are many issues associated with feminine health that we just seem to steer well clear of. And it’s not just the physical aspect; the psychological side affects can have a devastating affect too.
I know women, for example, who simply stop having sex with their partners when they reach their 40s because it’s just too uncomfortable; while others have to plan any event they are attending around the nearest toilet in case they’re caught short.
WHAT CAUSES VAGINAL AGEING?
There are key life events at play here – giving birth, peri-menopause and menopause – and each of these will cause significant changes to our vaginal tissue.
During childbirth, the tissue can stretch up to three times its usual size and while it’s resilience means for many it will return to its original shape, for others it equals painful intercourse and endless trips to the loo for many years to come. And then, as we hit menopause, we experience a dramatic decline in hormones leading to a thinning of the vaginal walls, loss of muscle strength and lubrication, as well as changes to the outer appearance.
Added to this, our collagen levels fall (yes, it’s not just on our face that this happens). In fact, research shows that women lose around 30% of their collagen during the first five years of menopause, resulting in laxity and aesthetic changes to the vulva and labia. You may also find it difficult to orgasm and withdraw from intimate contact, alongside bladder leakage when you cough or exercise.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS?
So none of that sounds like much fun does it? And the problem is, because we don’t talk about these issues far too many women just get on with it, opting instead to suffer in silence for years.
Until recently, the only options were deal with it or opt for painful surgery … and let’s face it, neither of these are the ideal answer. Thankfully, advancements in aesthetics over recent years means non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation has moved on apace and can now be used treat many of the issues without having to go under the knife.
At Dr Julia Sen, we are one of the few clinics in the UK to offer the state-of-the-art Votiva, an effective women’s health procedure designed to give you back your quality of life. It targets a whole host of issues, including vaginal and vulva tightening, and improved tissue quality. By treating these, clients have experienced a decrease in stress continence and itching, while also seeing an increase in natural lubrication and more pleasurable sex. Win win!