Let’s Talk Intimate Wellness – Written By Dr. Marisa Heyns MBChB (UCT), MSc Aesthetic Medicine and Therapeutics
So, how is your sex life?
I am sure that is the last thing you expect to read off an aesthetic blog.
Perhaps you have asked that question or answered it only in the confines of a close relationship with a friend after a couple of glasses of wine.
Why are we so shy to talk about it? Yes, it should perhaps be one of the most pleasurable intimate experiences you can share with your significant other, and it is fine to keep these things private. However, where do you go when things are not going so well in the bedroom department? And what can you do to improve things when all is going down south?
I am no sex expert, nor do I pretend to be able to solve the intricacies related to poor sexual function, but I can give you my perspective from an aesthetic practitioner’s point of view.
Firstly, let’s debunk the whole vagina vanity myth. Let’s for one moment take off our judging caps and try to understand what role aesthetic medicine can play in your daily vagina monologues.
Did you know that the true philosophy of aesthetic medicine is not the aim to drastically change one’s look? It is not having the perfect body (or in this case, vagina). It actually has nothing to do with trying to look different or supporting this ridiculous notion that we should all look perfect in a porn star moment.
Aesthetic medicine is about maintaining the positive balance between your neurocognitive (your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours), your endocrine balances (happy hormones vs stress hormones) and your immune system (happy thoughts lead to the release of happy hormones which boost your immune system ) Keep the cycle positive and we would have a lot more smiles around.
Let’s simplify it further: when you look in the mirror, you either have a positive or negative feeling about yourself. That forms happy or sad thoughts and may even lead to positive or negative behaviours. What you see will make you feel a certain way, and the cascade of hormonal events and immune response are set in motion. Aesthetic methods and treatments (whether it is a facelift or botox) aim to improve the way you feel about yourself, not necessarily the way you look to others. It really has nothing to do with what others think. It is what you think of yourself, and how you go about embracing this beautiful body, mind and soul that we each have.
Now let’s take it downstairs. I am always amazed at how men NEVER complain about their penises. It is never too big or too small or too crooked, it is always just right!. Why on earth do we as women worry what men think of OUR vaginas? In a recent poll, men were asked to pick out a normal vagina out of a selection of 50 weird and wonderful shapes and sizes. Guess what the answer was? THEY ALL LOOKED NORMAL. Men do not really care. What they do care about is your confidence and how you embrace your intimate beauty.
So let’s move on from that motivational speech to something I know a little more about.
As we age (nothing we can do about that), just as the skin and tissues in our face change and deteriorate, the same process happens within and around the vagina walls. Typical changes that most women complain about include dryness (decrease in the functioning of the lubricating glands), thinning of the vaginal and mucosal tissue (inside and outside), and laxity in the vaginal wall (worsened due to multiple vaginal births). And don’t forget that with ageing the nerve tissue in our brain is also decreasing, and unfortunately so is the nerve tissue in the clitoris, and hence the decrease in pleasurable sensations. This unfortunate process accelerates downhill when we hit menopause and the sudden decrease in the plumping and moisturising effects of oestrogen and progesterone leaves us all dried up like a dying lily. (You can imagine what that would look like if you already have been blessed with what resembles a dying daffodil!) No wonder we feel insecure and shy to talk about these issues.
So what can we do about it?
We actually apply the exact same regenerative aesthetic approach to intimate treatments as we do to the face! The aim remains to rejuvenate, tighten and plump up tissue.
Our Intima laser machine has a customised tip that can be inserted into the vagina to tighten up lax tissues deep within. This is especially a winner among those clients that are suffering post-menopause or have endured multiple vaginal births, resulting in drying, thinning and lax vaginal tissues.
Intima works on the principle of controlled tissue injury through the use of a fractional laser. Think of tissue as a piece of meat – when you grill your steak, the protein fibres immediately firm up and tighten. Now I know we do not want to think of our lady-bits as a piece of meat, but it is comforting to know that we can do something about it using the tightening and firming action a laser can have. When the laser is activated, it selectively burns tiny segments of tissue whilst sparing the surrounding areas in a grid-like pattern. This mechanism of injury allows much faster healing rates with less chance of complications because the damaged areas that are surrounded by healthy tissues can heal faster. The beauty of this treatment is that apart from its tightening properties it also has been shown to strengthen and actually plump tissue, along with improved moisture – more like a medium to rare juicy fillet! This is the wonder of tissue rejuvenation.
The best thing about this treatment: it is virtually pain-free! We recommend a course of three treatments spaced every 4-6 weeks for best results.
Intima can also be applied to the labia majora to brighten and rejuvenate the skin that tends to darken over time.
PLATELET REJUVENATION TREATMENTS
Remember the Vampire Facelift? The same growth factors that can transform dull, lacklustre skin into a healthy, radiant looking appearance will do the same for the skin and mucosa of your intimate areas. Not only will the skin and mucosa look younger and healthier, but will also function better. This means plumper tissue with better moisture and improved lubrication. Not only good in the bedroom but also less chance of trauma and infection due to the drying and thinning vaginal mucosa when the oestrogen and progestogen fountains of youth dry up around menopause.
Let us not forget the amazing ability of the ‘O’ Shot to restore sensation and re-activate one’s pleasure centres. The principle is simple: the clitoris is like the tip of the penis (glans). It consists of a cluster of densely packed nerve fibres responsible for reaching that climactic ‘’O’’. With age, these nerve fibres become numb. Again our own growth factors come to our rescue, by rejuvenating the nerve tissue function, in order for us to enjoy the tantalising pleasure of a climax.
The procedure involves a little bit of topical numbing solution, and two tiny injections: one into the clitoris (it really just feels like a chilli pepper burn – don’t ask me how I know) and the second one into the elusive G spot. If you have never been able to locate this added centre of delight – it sits about 2 cm into the anterior part of the vagina (just behind the urethral opening).
It takes about 3 weeks for these growth factors to restore functions and feelings you thought you have lost forever, turning that half-hearted O moment back into an AHA!
We recommend a series of 3 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart to maintain your results.
In another recent study testing the efficacy of PRP treatments on a group of women aged between 35-90, the majority reported a moderate to significant improvement in function, lubrication, improvement in tissue structure, and yes, more orgasms!
Sometimes when the change one wants to achieve is simply not achievable in three to four treatments, there is always a surgical solution.
We also offer you some home care products aimed at maintaining and enhancing your results. This comes in the form of a topical growth factor gel that you would apply to the vaginal mucosa.
Coming full circle:
So whether you aim to transform your St Joseph lily into a budding rosebud, or you are just wanting to add some fertilising growth factors to revive and restore function and structure, in the end, it is not just about the look. Intimate wellness needs to be addressed from a holistic point of view. It really starts with regaining that inner confidence that I think a lot of us struggle with. When we feel good in our most intimate and vulnerable moments, we can allow ourselves to relax. To let go of all the negative feelings we may have about ourselves and fully enjoy sexual pleasures the way we were intended to.
Please feel free to come and chat to us about our intimate wellness treatment options. It really may be just the spark you need to reignite your own intimate desires.