A new cosmetic surgery procedure could eliminate dyspareunia for some women, and prevent serious problems like vaginal atrophy. The laser augmentation of the vaginal area (LAVA) surgery reshapes the outer later of the vagina, creating a wider opening to allow for sexual penetration.
The LAVA surgery
The LAVA surgery is only being conducted in New York, California and Canada by a few specially-trained physicians, but it could spread elsewhere in the future. But why would women want their vaginas widened?
It’s a common belief that the vagina gets wider with use and age, when in fact the opposite is often true. As the estrogen levels in your body change and the muscles around the vagina begin to weaken with wear and time, the walls of the vagina actually begin to shrink, not widen. Dyspareunia is a common complaint for menopausal and post-menopausal women. Female dryness may be to blame, but in some cases the pain is associated more with vaginal shrinkage than lubrication.
Vaginal dilators that help to stretch out the vaginal cavity can provide some relief and help to fix this problem, but using them is a long-term commitment. The new LAVA procedure opens up new options for women who are experiencing this problem. Potentially, the surgery could benefit millions. So far, 80 different women have had the LAVA surgery — it takes about two hours. Women report that total recovery time is “a few weeks,” but soreness lasts only “a few days.”
However, not everyone who experiences dyspareunia is a candidate for vaginal augmentation. As always, surgery should be considered a last resort.
Because the procedure is relatively new, the LAVA surgery has been met with some controversy. Some physicians in the medical community have taken a stand against it, saying that the best way to cure dyspareunia is vaginal estrogen cream. Topical estrogen, placed right where the body needs it, helps to improve lubrication and elasticity. The procedure is also expensive — around $5,000 — and not covered by insurance. Women who suffer with female dryness may not find the LAVA surgery helpful at all, because it only widens and does not affect the body’s lubrication.
Surgery is a major step, and should only be performed when all other options have been exhausted. It is possible for some women to stretch out their vaginas through intercourse, vibrator use or dilators that are designed to do exactly that. Female dryness is an easy enough problem to overcome if this is contributing to dyspareunia. Vaginal lubricants are sold over the counter, and they are very simple to use. The lubricants supplement your natural lubrication, acting as a substitute when your body isn’t producing enough.