More than 2,200 women every year are having cosmetic surgery to give them the “perfect vagina” in a procedure known as labiaplasty. Many women (including 250 girls under the age of 14) are having this operation on the NHS. This is a 500% increase on ten years ago. These figures do not include private surgery where a large number of cosmetic procedures happen.
The most common type of labiaplasty is where the labia minora is reduced. There can be clinical grounds for this, if it causes difficulties during sex, exercise or hygiene concerns. However Dame Suzi Leather, Chairman of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said that the recent sharp rise was “fueled in part by the mass media and inaccurate advertising… women are requesting [the operation] solely for cosmetic reasons and the decisions are not always being made on informed understanding of the normal variations that exist.”
Complications from surgery can include ruptures of the vagina, bleeding and wound infection, and in the long-term there are risks including not being able to have as much variety of sexual activity and discomfort when wearing tight clothes.
As with all bodily parts there is a wide variety of differences between people and there is no such things as “perfect” or “normal”. Enjoying your body as it is for the majority of men and women is not a problem, but various alternatives should be considered before surgery.