The growing pornography industry is having staggering affects on the number of women opting for genital cosmetic surgery – or so called designer vaginas
More than 2,000 women had genital cosmetic surgery on the NHS last year – a rise of five-fold in a decade – even though most women don’t need it. Genital mutilation of women who do not need the treatment is outlawed in the UK.
Researchers believe the rise in women seeking the cosmetic operation to reduce the size of the labia at the entrance to the vagina, is being driven by pornographic images of women on the Internet and in the media.
‘It’s shocking,’ says Dr Sarah Creighton. ‘Particularly because we are seeing girls who are really young asking for surgery that is irreversible and we do not know what the long term risks of the procedure might be.’
Researchers from University College London’s Women’s Health Institute says the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons helps determine whether a problem exists or whether an alternative solution may be preferable, but offers no advice on how to judge the problem.
Worryingly, most women seeking surgery are concerned about appearance, with the Harley Medical Group reporting a 36 per cent increase year-on-year of women booking in for vaginal surgeries.
But Lisa Littlehales, Regional Nurse Manager at The Harley Medical Group, reassures Marie Claire that, for her patients, genital cosmetic surgery is about feeling body confident.
‘Some women are very self-conscious about the way they look and this has a huge psychological impact on the individual,’ she says. ‘Labia reduction and vaginal surgery gives women the power to make a change.’
But she insists: ‘We would never refer a patient without confirming that the surgery was for personal benefit and dispelling any unrealistic expectations.’