Girls younger than 15 are undergoing designer vagina procedures, alarming statistics reveal.
Between 2015 and 2016, more than 200 girls under 18 had a labiaplasty, of which over 150 were under 15, according to NHS figures. This is likely an underestimate as it does not include those who have had the procedure privately.
According to statistics from cosmetic surgeons, the ever-growing desire for a ‘designer vagina’ has soared by almost 50 per cent in a year, according to figures released in February from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Leading names in cosmetic procedures have said the vaginal surgery is officially the ‘fastest growing procedure’ as females desire to look ‘like Barbie’ down below.
In an attempt to stem the alarming trend, GPs will now hand out a leaflet, titled ‘So What Is a Vulva Anyway?’, which will be available to help girls and women requesting labiaplasties.
The booklet, which was put together by The British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology (BritsPAG), uses illustrations to demonstrate normal changes in the appearance of different women’s vaginas.
Consultant gynaecologist Dr Naomi Crouch, who chairs BritsPAG, said: ‘There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the practice of labiaplasty and the risk of harm is significant, particularly for teenagers who are still in stages of development both physically and psychologically.
‘We hope this resource will provide information for girls and young women that their vulva is unique and will change throughout their life, and that this is entirely normal and healthy.’
GPs will give out leaflets on what ‘normal’ genitalia looks like to stem ‘designer vaginas’
WHAT IS LABIAPLASTY?
Labiaplasty is surgery to reduce the size of the labia minora – the flaps of skin either side of the vaginal opening.
Between 2015 and 2016, more than 200 girls under 18 had a labiaplasty, of which over 150 were under 15, according to NHS figures. Around 12,000 operations occur annually in the US.
The procedure involves shortening or reshaping the vaginal lips. The unwanted tissue is then cut away and the loose edge may be stitched up.
Soreness, bruising and swelling is likely to occur for up to two weeks.
Some women consider surgery as they dislike their vagina’s appearance or find it uncomfortable.
It is natural and normal for a woman to have noticeable skin folds around her vaginal opening and, in most cases, this should not cause any problems.
In the UK, a labiaplasty costs around £1,000-to-£3,000, as well as the cost of any consultations or follow-up care that may not be included in the price.
The procedure may be carried out on the NHS if the lips are severely abnormal or causing the woman distress.
A labiaplasty should not be performed on girls younger than 18 as their labia may continue to grow and develop well beyond puberty.
Source: NHS Choices
‘Vulvas come in a variety of shapes and sizes’
Project leader Louise Williams, who is also a clinical nurse specialist at University College Hospital, said: ‘We see many patients in our paediatric and adolescent gynaecology clinic who have a poor understanding of the function of parts of the anatomy and also of normal genital variation.
‘This educational resource will help young people to understand their vulva and how it develops during puberty, particularly if they are worried about how they look or feel.
‘We hope it will reassure young people that vulvas come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and if they need advice and support, they can know where to go.’
The girls added such topics are not taught in schools and they are therefore forced to research them online.
Illustrations demonstrate normal changes in the appearance of different women’s vaginas
Girls as young as 11 are seeking designer vaginas to look ‘like a Barbie’
This comes after a GP claimed last July girls as young as 11 are seeking surgery on their vagina to make it look ‘like a Barbie’.
Young girls are expressing disgust at their genitalia, believing it to be the wrong shape or size, which London-based Dr Paquita de Zuluet believes is driven by pornography and social media.
She even claims girls exaggerate the physical or emotional distress their vaginas are causing them in order to make themselves eligible for surgery.
Yet, cosmetic surgeon Miles Berry defended the procedure in adults, arguing it can boost women’s self-esteem and confidence.
WHAT ARE THE RULES AND REGULATIONS ON A LABIAPLASTY?
A labiaplasty should not be performed on girls under 18, according to UK and US laws.
Exceptions may be made if the genitalia of younger girls is causing them emotional or physical distress.
If adult women are considering the procedure, they should ensure the following:
- Clinics and hospitals that provide cosmetic surgery in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission, which publishes inspection reports to help people choose care.
- All doctors must, as a minimum, be registered with the General Medical Council.
- It may also be worth finding out how many times the doctor has performed the operation, their patient satisfaction rate and their follow-up procedures.
Source: NHS Choices