“The earliest known methods of vaginal rejuvenation can date back to 1050 AD, when the world’s first known gynecologist, Trota of Salerno, performed surgical repair of vaginal lacerations post-delivery,” says Monica Grover, OBGYN and chief medical officer at VSPOT. Of course, science has come a long way since then, as have people’s perceptions of vaginal wellness. We talked with experts about all the ways to refresh the “downstairs,” from workouts and at-home products to lasers and surgery—take your pick.
Products to use at home
Before jumping to in-office and surgical procedures, peruse the topical options. CO2Lift, used in-office on the face by Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD can also be used in the comfort of your home for the vaginal area. CEO of CO2Lift, Lana Kerr, says the regenerating CO2LiftV ($600) treatment is ideal for new mothers, cancer patients, (peri)menopausal women and those on medications. This carboxy therapy produces natural lubrication, improves sexual pleasure, tightens and lifts. You simply insert a mixture of the gel, packed with ceramides, squalane, collagen and more, into your vagina and leave a little extra for the vulva. Women report experiencing results in as little as three applications, but 10 to 15 is recommended.
Beri Ridgeway, OBGYN and cofounder of Ina recommends the Hydrating Serum ($38) “especially if one experiences dryness or loss of elasticity due to aging or grooming habits.” She adds that “for the vagina (the canal that connects the vulva to the uterus) itself, over-the-counter moisturizers can help.”
Carolyn DeLucia, OBGYN suggests Revaree ($60), “twice a week to bring natural moisture to the tissues.” Cindy Barshop, founder of VSPOT, which just opened a new location in Flatiron, New York, suggests Good Sex ($125). It’s “clinically proven to increase secretion and lubrication and promote collagen production. It’s a medical-grade moisturizer that hydrates the vaginal walls while restoring your vaginal tissue health, allowing enjoyable intimacy and sexual pleasure,” explains Dr. Grover.
“As muscle tone and strength may decrease after childbirth and as we age, I recommend daily pelvic floor exercises,” advises Dr. Ridgeway. Barshop notes that Kegels can help prevent urinary leakage and improve orgasms. Dr. Ridgeway says consulting a pelvic floor physical therapist can do wonders when it comes to strengthening.
The Emsella chair by BTL is a non-invasive, painless technology that helps those suffering from incontinence. It utilizes electromagnetic energy to evoke thousands of pelvic floor muscle contractions in a single session. Dr. DeLucia explains that these contractions will help retrain the pelvic floor. It “increases muscle tone, blood supply and sensitivity,” explains Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD. According to Emsella, 95 percent of people report improvement in their quality of life following treatments.
Hormone replacement therapy is a potential solution for vaginal rejuvenation. “When prescribed responsibly, many women that are candidates will benefit from increased vaginal lubrication, enhanced orgasms and increased libido, all contributing to an overall sense of well-being and sexuality,” says Dr. Grover.
“Estrogen can be a game changer to improve dryness, elasticity, improve sexual function, and prevent UTIs,” says Dr. Ridgeway. Dr. DeLucia adds that DHEA may also be prescribed to treat dryness if women are open to using hormones.
Laser treatments and radiofrequency devices
“Sophisticated lasers and devices can utilize sources of energy from CO2 gas or radio frequency,” explains Dr. Grover. The Mona Lisa Touch and Femilift are safe and efficacious examples of CO2 modalities, which use lasers to solve for incontinence, vaginal dryness and laxity.
EMFemme 360 and ThermiVa are effective radiofrequency treatments that use heat to tighten tissues and stimulate collagen. Through this collagen stimulation, vaginal lubrication will improve, explains Dr. Grover. Dr. DeLucia feels laser or radiofrequency treatment are ideal options for returning to your “natural lubrication with a quick, painless in-office treatment.” Dr. Grover agrees that these procedures are perfect for those looking for a non-surgical alternative to a labiaplasty.
This recently FDA-approved, non-invasive treatment uses “technology for modern laser plasma remodeling, which shrinks tissue versus surgically removing it. It eliminates the highest risk factors, shortens recovery time and decreases the complications of a traditional labiaplasty that is purely cosmetic,” explains Dr. Grover. She is one of only two doctors currently executing this treatment.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments come in handy for quite a few cosmetic procedures, and that doesn’t end at the belt. “PRP can result in plumping of the labia majora, in addition to increased sensitivity of the clitoris and the G-area to enhance orgasms,” explains Dr. Grover. “PRP helps to bulk these highly responsive areas that will result in heightened neuronal sensitivity, vascularity and libido.”
Threads and meshes
Dr. Grover says some experts use threads and meshes to help give the vaginal area a boost. Silicone threads are inserted under the vaginal submucosa to help with friction, she explains. “Poly-tetrafluoroethylene meshes are also being utilized as an alternative.”
Female cosmetic genital surgery
“Female cosmetic genital surgery can refer to treatments to address concerns of vulvovaginal appearance, in addition to sexuality and function,” says Dr. Grover. “Surgical interventions can address vaginal laxity, labia majora and minora plasty, clitoral hood reduction or unhooding and hymen reconstruction.” Dr. Ridgeway suggests consulting a urogynecologist for possible surgical intervention if bulging or laxity doesn’t improve with exercise.