As a mom, you can expect your 16-year old to worry about her appearance. She may complain about acne or her height. What you may not expect is to hear your young daughter struggling with the look of her lady parts. Today’s teens are very aware of their own bodies, and the cultural ‘norms’ for how each part is expected to look, even their vagina. Size, shape, and color of the labia is on the mind of many women, even those still in junior high or high school.
The idea of teens and plastic surgery is a hotly debated topic; some parents are against the idea, no matter what; while others may be on board to help with their child’s appearance and self-esteem. A recent spike in the number of teens requesting labiaplasty procedures has prompted the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to release a set of physician guidelines on how to handle this delicate issue.
Labiaplasty Rates Rising Among Teens
The teenage body goes through rapid changes over a relatively short period of time. For this reason, many kids coming out of puberty have a hard time understanding what is ‘normal’ for their new, adult body. They compare their features with those of their peers, some of whom have not yet reached the same state of maturation. The overwhelming desire to fit in, coupled with a powerful social media presence, gives teens a skewed message of the ‘ideal’ female body. This can drive a girl’s dissatisfaction in her appearance.
The labiaplasty can be a vital tool for adult women, used to correct common changes seen in the labia after childbirth or with age, or to improve other uncomfortable abnormalities. However, the process can send a confusing message to young people. Images of idealized female genitalia can easily be found online, and thus, if the teen does not meet up to these standards, they feel like they, too, need a labiaplasty.
Vagina Rejuvenation in Your Teens Is Just Not A Good Idea:
Throughout a woman’s life, her labia majora and labia minor will change. This begins in puberty and goes though old age. A variation in size or symmetry are normal; these odd shapes rarely indicate a problem in teens.
Cosmetic surgery performed on a body that is still in a state of transition is discouraged. As the body will continue to change, there is a significant chance a second aesthetic surgery will be needed. This is the reason patients are told to wait from 6-12 months after a dramatic weight loss before having a body contouring procedure, patients must want for at least 6 months after surgery before scheduling any revision procedures, and women must wait for 6 months or longer after having a baby to have a Mommy Makeover. Adolescents are developing both physically and emotionally, therefore a cosmetic procedure is not necessary. The body will continue maturing into the early 20s. At this point, especially with the labiaplasty, the tissue may no longer cause any distress.
Another reason to stay away from the labiaplasty for teens is the risk that surgery will alter the natural growth of tissues. There is a chance the young lady will be unhappy with the appearance of her vagina when she reaches adulthood. Other complications include unexpected scarring, a loss of sensations, and painful intercourse. Most teens are not emotionally ready to understand the realistic results of a labiaplasty or the risk for complications.
What to Do If Your Teenager Asks About Labiaplasty.
If your teen is persistent in her desire for a labiaplasty, or is experiencing physical discomfort from misshapen labia, a visit with an experienced, board certified cosmetic surgeon is warranted. He/she can discuss her unique situation and help to explain the normal physiology for her age. The surgeon will also examine the tissues to make a determination as to if (and when) surgical intervention may be necessary. During the consultation, all of your questions can be answered, setting you and your teen’s mind at ease.