Did you know that vaginal laxity is actually more common than you think?
A recent clinical study by a group of doctors in Shanghai found that 48 per cent of patients who experienced vaginal delivery reported vaginal laxity. However, 62 per cent of these women have never discussed vaginal laxity with anyone.
Not surprising as it’s not a topic that makes for easy conversation, and can be embarrassing for many. However, if you find yourself experiencing urine leaks while sneezing, coughing or laughing, or feel a loss of sexual satisfaction, it could most likely be caused by vaginal laxity.
According to Dr Sue Ho, executive doctor at SL Aesthetic Clinic, vaginal laxity can lead to issues such as urinary incontinence, vaginal wind (also known as the audible passing of odourless gas from the vagina or queefing), urinary tract infection and even nocturia – excessive urination at night. And when this happens, it can lead to a decrease in self-confidence and libido in women, resulting in poor sexual interaction with their partners.
Why does vaginal laxity happen?
Before we dive into why vaginal laxity happens, we need to first understand what it is. Simply put, vaginal laxity refers to the looseness of the vagina.
So why does this happen? The vaginal walls, much like the rest of a woman’s skin, are made up of collagen and fibres, which gives it strength and elasticity. When a woman gives birth naturally, the vaginal walls are stretched to accommodate the baby as it makes its way through the birth canal. This puts immense stress on the vaginal walls, and may lead to a loss of sensitivity and tightness in the area.
But childbirth isn’t the only reason for vaginal laxity. Age is also a contributing factor, especially after menopause, when the estrogen levels in a woman drop drastically. This can cause the vaginal lining to become drier and less elastic.
In short, age and/or multiple natural childbirths can cause women to “lose the integrity and the elasticity of the vaginal wall, which results in the vaginal wall becoming weakened,” says Dr Ho, who is also a mother of one.
Other factors that can also cause vaginal laxity include trauma via injury or accident, sexual abuse or even genetic disorders. And while many might think that excessive sexual activity might also be a factor, that actually does not have a lasting impact on vaginal tension, says Dr Ho.
But there is good news. Although vaginal laxity cannot be reversed, vaginal walls can be strengthened with the help of invasive (surgical) or minimally-invasive procedures, such as Fotona IntimaLase.
Fotona IntimaLase is a minimally-invasive treatment which uses an Er:YAG laser technology to deliver specially-composed laser energy pulses to the mucous membrane of the vaginal wall. Dr Ho elaborates, “The heat from these energy pulses stimulates the production of new collagen and remodels existing collagen fibres, which in turn tightens the vaginal walls.”
More importantly, the treatment is fast – lasting about 20 minutes, with minimal discomfort, and is required only once a year.
According to Dr Ho, this treatment is suitable for any healthy female adult who might suffer from vaginal laxity, with women with mild to moderate vaginal laxity seeing the best results. However, that is not to say that women with moderate to severe vaginal laxity will not benefit from it. Dr Ho says, “For these women, the treatment would have to be done more than once a year, with the frequency based on a doctor’s assessment.”
Although still an invasive treatment, Dr Ho assures that Fotona IntimaLase is a more comfortable alternative to the surgical route.
Other ways to improve feminine health
If you’re not quite ready to consult a doctor or if you’d like to complement the results from the treatment, Dr Ho recommends the following steps:
- Do regular pelvic floor exercises and Kegel exercises to strengthen your vaginal walls and muscles.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. Try to include the following:
– Cranberry juice and yoghurt: These boost good bacteria and help reduce the risk of yeast infection and urinary tract infections.
– Sweet potatoes: These contain beta carotene and vitamin A, which can help strengthen the uterine wall.
– Soy-based foods: Rich in plant-derived phyto-estrogen, they are said to benefit women with decreased estrogen levels.
– Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale: These are said to be able to help increase blood circulation to naturally enhance sensitivity.
While many women might feel uncomfortable broaching this topic, Dr Ho wants to encourage them to take control of their feminine health and wellbeing.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about as this goes beyond making physical improvements to the vagina. It is also about improving a woman’s mental wellbeing, self-confidence as well as the intimacy and sexual relationship [she shares] with her husband.”
To learn more about Fotona IntimaLase, visit www.slclinic.com.sg or WhatsApp 9850 7112.