We know that a woman’s body changes with age, especially after childbirth and menopause. Some time last year, I wrote about vaginal rejuvenation, an umbrella term used to describe corrective procedures that can help women with laxity in their feminine parts, or vaginal relaxation syndrome.
One of the talking points I mentioned was a reduction of quality in the bedroom—ladies who used to view sex as unpleasant or even painful are surprised to find that they start enjoying sex with their partners after starting vaginal rejuvenation treatments. Since then, I’ve received a number of enquiries on whether this treatment really can enhance sexual intimacy. It is important that I address this question for a few reasons:
- How does vaginal rejuvenation lead to ‘better sex’?
- Is it an aesthetic doctor’s (or anyone’s, really) place to promise satisfaction in something that’s subjective and dependent on many factors, including performance and mood?
Hence, in this article I will address the elephant in the room and try to provide an objective take on modern feminine rejuvenation technology based on scientific evidence and research.
First, what is a “loose vagina” or vaginal relaxation syndrome?
Vaginal relaxation syndrome is a condition generally associated with ageing and menopause in older women, but is also present in younger women with multiple childbirths or traumatic vaginal births. Patients with this condition typically experience laxity of the canal, the inability to lubricate and consequently a reduced quality in sex life. Surveys show that 95% of patients feel that vaginal laxity affects sexual function, and 57% have expressed their concerns on relationship happiness1 as a result. This often negatively impacts both partners in the relationship.
Besides sexual intimacy issues, women who suffer from vaginal laxity also tend to have a weak pelvic floor or conditions like pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and urinary incontinence. Although this laxity tends to happen after vaginal childbirth, it can also occur due to ageing and menopause. Recently, we’re seeing younger women in their 20s and 30s who have not given birth experience this issue too, due to excessive weight gain and unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Clearly, vaginal laxity is a serious and bothersome subject for many women. Yet, it is still underreported, partly due to a lack of objective data to measure vaginal laxity. Furthermore, vaginal laxity is not a disease or life-threatening illness, so there are little to no guidelines for its treatment apart from traditional non-invasive methods like physical therapy and Kegel exercises—which often have limited efficiency due to poor patient compliance.
Of course, there’s the surgical option of a vaginoplasty too, but that is rarely done due to the invasive nature of such a surgery and risks of side effects, such as bleeding, infection and even a vaginal prolapse.
Vaginal rejuvenation in Singapore—becoming mainstream, or just a dream?
The topic of a woman’s sexuality has long been regarded as taboo in Singapore, but thankfully there’s been more acceptance in recent times due to education and awareness. Locally, we’re seeing a 30% increase in women below 50 years old seeking treatment for female sexual dysfunction2.
This encouraging statistic is partly due to the advent of new energy device-based therapies in the last decade, including radiofrequency, different laser technologies and high-focused ultrasound. Compared to traditional non-invasive methods, these minimally-invasive solutions are more efficient at treating genitourinary problems.
Top of the list of minimally-invasive solutions are:
- Microablative fractional CO2 lasers, which work by creating superficial micro ablation zones on the mucosal surface, thereby triggering a healing response and resulting in new collagen formation.
- Er:YAG lasers, which work by creating rapid sequential heat pulses. These heat pulses are then compounded and transferred deeper into the mucosa, resulting in tightening of the mucosa and triggering new collagen growth without damaging the tissue surface.
At Veritas Medical Aesthetics, we use Fotona IntimaLase, a Er:YAG laser that incorporates Fotona SMOOTH technology to safely and effectively restore tissue quality in a non-ablative manner. This leaves the tissue surface intact, reducing the risk of unwanted side effects especially after multiple repeated treatments.
Additionally, because the water absorption of an Er:YAG laser is higher than a fractional CO2 laser, the chances of excess heat buildup are a lot less likely; hence unintended damage and discomfort to surrounding tissue are much lower.
The IntimaLase laser is designed with a unique 360° nature that’s non-invasive, painless and involves minimal recovery time. The procedure lasts about 15 minutes and feels similar to having a pap smear test.
But can such devices really be trusted?
Let’s first talk about the results before we delve into safety. In a 2020 study, participants who underwent a Fotona IntimaLase treatment session reported greater satisfaction and overall significant improvement in their sex life.
What does it mean to have ‘better sex’? Most can agree it means more pleasure (more orgasms) and connection.
In the study, 95% experienced more sensation during sex, 57% experienced better orgasms and 14% experienced more orgasms3.
80% described their vaginal canal as tight or very tight at their second follow-up 12 months post-treatment, when before treatment 36.4% reported their vagina to be very loose and 45.5% reported their vagina as loose.
After a 3 year follow-up, patients on average enjoyed benefits that lasted up to 16 months and many still described their vaginal canal as no longer as loose as before. From this observation, we can suggest that for most people, one treatment is sufficient to obtain long-lasting improvement, though individual results may vary.
Personally, I recommend 2 sessions with a maintenance session 6-8 months later for mild to moderate laxity. For more severe cases, 3 sessions may be recommended with subsequent maintenance sessions.
Now let’s talk about safety.
Historically, there has been some criticisms regarding vaginal rejuvenation, especially since the FDA sent a warning letter in July 2018 to 7 energy-based device manufacturers that market lasers for vaginal rejuvenation. This letter came after several reported cases of pain and burning sensation after fractional CO2 laser treatment, which resulted in skepticism for such treatments—even in countries where they have been approved for clinical use.
While FDA’s warning is not entirely unwarranted, I have to humbly disagree due to its broad generalisation on all vaginal laser procedures. Different lasers come with different mechanisms of action and risk profiles. In contrast to the fractional CO2 laser, an ablative laser that prompted the FDA warning, the laser used in Fotona IntimaLase is a non-ablative one that does not physically harm the tissue surface or create overheating due to optimal spacing between SMOOTH micropulses. As such, there are little to no risks connected to tissue ablation, including scarring and infection. Out of the options available, Fotona IntimaLase has the highest safety profile.
What else can vaginal rejuvenation with Fotona IntimaLase do for me?
Apart from increased sexual pleasure, vaginal rejuvenation also brings a slew of personal and health benefits, such as:
- Vaginal tightening
- Improve symptoms of urinary stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse
- Increase vaginal lubrication
- Repair scarring and trauma in vagina from childbirth
I personally perform all Fotona IntimaLase treatments as most patients are more comfortable with a female doctor.
Can vaginal rejuvenation really improve my sex life?
We have the statistics to prove that Fotona IntimaLase leads to more sensation and more and better orgasms during sex— but do these really apply to everyone across the board? Keep in mind that these are just physical advantages that may or may not happen due to a variety of reasons.
Sexual performance and satisfaction is multidimensional; there are many factors like family problems, stress and a faltering relationship that can affect the quality of your sex life. In those instances, perhaps it is better to seek other forms of therapy to treat the root of the issue.
I must also add that vaginal rejuvenation may not be suitable for those who want to treat painful sex as that is usually a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
Patients with the following conditions are not suitable candidates for vaginal tightening treatment:
- Severe prolapse
- Vaginal lesions
- Libido dysfunctions
- Genitourinary tract infections
- Autoimmune diseases
Ultimately, there are many aspects to motivate sexual satisfaction. As a medical professional, it is my responsibility to educate and advise on the most appropriate treatment for you.
However, if you feel that treating your vaginal laxity will improve your sex life with better and more orgasms, or if you simply wish to improve other symptoms associated with vaginal laxity, I highly encourage you to give this treatment a try with us at $1,000 onwards per session.
Do you have a question for me?
I am more than happy to answer them at email@example.com and +65 6283 3885.
- Lee M. S. (2014). Treatment of Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome with an Erbium:YAG Laser Using 90° and 360° Scanning Scopes: A Pilot Study & Short-term Results. Laser therapy, 23(2), 129–138. https://doi.org/10.5978/islsm.14-OR-11
- Mitsuyuki, M., Štok, U., Hreljac, I., Yoda, K., & Vižintin, Z. (2020). Treating Vaginal Laxity Using Nonablative Er:YAG Laser: A Retrospective Case Series of Patients From 2.5 Years of Clinical Practice. Sexual medicine, 8(2), 265–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2020.01.001