The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued recommendations for dealing with an increase in demand for labiaplasty amongst teens, the New York Times reports.
Gynecologists are reportedly receiving requests every week from teenage patients interested in surgically trimming their labia minora, mostly for cosmetic reasons. Physicians are “sort of baffled” by the increase in demand, Dr. Julie Strickland, the chairwoman of A.C.O.G.’s committee on adolescent health care, told the Times; the newly released guideline points to “increasing trends in pubic hair removal, exposure to idealized images of genital anatomy, and increasing awareness of cosmetic vaginal surgery” as possible catalysts.
It’s astounding how no matter how suffocating life is for teenage girls, things can always get just a little bit shittier! The guideline emphasizes the potential risks of a labiaplasty—including pain, painful scarring, dyspareunia, hematoma, edema, and infection—and Strickland told the Times that the procedure “should not be entertained until growth and development is complete.”
Although some adolescents may be seeking treatment for non-cosmetic reasons for which surgery might be an appropriate action—for example, chafing, itching, or swelling in the labia that prevents participation in certain sports and activities—doctors are coached to screen adolescents seeking labial surgery for body dysmorphic disorder, and to assess their emotional maturity.
In 2014, the A.C.O.G. re-upped a critical 2007 committee opinion on labiaplasty, stating that there is a “lack of data supporting the efficacy of these procedures and their potential complications”:
It is deceptive to give the impression that vaginal rejuvenation, designer vaginoplasty, revirgination, G-spot amplification, or any such procedures are accepted and routine surgical practices. Absence of data supporting the safety and efficacy of these procedures makes their recommendation untenable. Patients who are anxious or insecure about their genital appearance or sexual function may be further traumatized by undergoing an unproven surgical procedure with obvious risks.
Despite this, labiaplasty is on the rise, with the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery group reporting a 49 percent increase from 5,070 in 2013 to 7,535 in 2014. Some doctors have suggested that this increase was spurred by the popularity of “athleisure wear” and specifically tight yoga pants, a suggestion that makes me personally want to throw myself into the sea.
But anyway, yes, things are really looking up for women!
Image via Shutterstock