According to reports, some women are getting their labias tightened for a better look in their yoga pants. Ouch! (Getty Images)
Activewear isn’t what it used to be. No longer just for the gym, workout clothes have become a trendy fashion statement for people on the go – especially for women. Maybe you’ve read about the“athleisure” trend?According to a recent article in the New York Post, women are willing to go the extra mile to look hot in their yoga pants…by electing to undergo surgery on their va-jay-jay to permanently remove the dreaded “camel toe.”
The latest statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) state that below-the-belt procedures have been on the rise. Labiaplasty—a surgery that involves reshaping and trimming the excess labia minora—increased by 44 percent and the number of surgeons who are performing labiaplasties increased by 8 percent (from 21 percent to 29 percent) in 2013.
“The reality is that women have been grooming themselves differently for about the past ten years, with many eliminating pubic hair altogether, and consequently, they are noticing what things look like in that region as a result,” said Christine Hamori, MD, an ASAPS member specializing in labiaplasty, in a formal press release. “Many of my patients want to achieve a clean, smooth look as they would with their face and underarms.”
“Yes, our office has heard of the ‘Yoga Pants trend’ being one cause of the problem,” James C. Grotting, MD, FACS, President of The American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and a board-certified plastic surgeon at Grotting & Cohn Plastic Surgery in Alabama, tells Yahoo Health.
But doctors are also seeing an increase in newly divorced female patients who are looking to nip and tuck their nether regions. “They have usually had their children, and the changes that occur in the labia become a source of embarrassment,” he explains. “When the labia minora are contoured back inside through the surgery, they feel better about getting out there and dating again.”
Aside from feeling self-conscious, Dr. Grotting says the more common reasons for undergoing labiaplasty stem from pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), chaffing in the area or the presence of clitoral hooding “which can cause a woman to lack the ability to reach orgasm during sex.”
The surgery, which can be done under local anesthesia, IV sedation or “twilight” anesthesia or general anesthesia, has about a seven- to 10-day recovery period, where typical side effects include tenderness in the area. Sexual activity can usually resume approximately six to eight weeks later. And getting this look doesn’t come cheap. Since labiaplasty isn’t usually covered by insurance (imagine that!), Dr. Grotting says it can cost between $6,000 and $9,000.
So would a plastic surgeon ever discourage a woman from having this procedure? “One reason would be if the request is coming from someone other than the patient, i.e. a spouse or sexual partner,” says Dr. Grotting. “It is a personal decision which carries some risk (possible infection, bleeding, or prolonged pain—all of which are unusual) and should only be done if the woman herself desires it.”
The second reason would be is she was suffering from any medical problems that could interfere with the healing process. “Also, if a patient has other symptoms, such as urinary incontinence, an evaluation by a gynecologist or urologist prior to proceeding is advisable.”