Vaginal rejuvenation typically involves surgery. As such, it can come with a host of side effects and potential complications. However, what type of side effects you should expect to see will depend on the exact nature of your surgery. In any case, don’t be afraid to get vaginal rejuvenation surgery because of the potential risks. The right qualified surgeon can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that your surgery is a success.
What are the Common Side Effects of Vaginal Rejuvenation?
Let’s begin by looking at symptoms that you’ll likely experience after your surgery. To be clear, these aren’t complications and they are no cause for alarm. These symptoms are just a natural part of the healing process after a surgical procedure. The following list of symptoms are common with vaginal rejuvenation. However, you may experience some, all or none of them, depending on your surgery.
- Swelling – You will experience some moderate swelling around the treated area. This can be treated with ice packs or by lying with your hips elevated to drain fluid from the surgical site. Most of the swelling should be gone within six weeks, but there could be some mild swelling for as long as six months.
- Bruising – It’s natural to bruise around a surgical site. Bruising can also lead to swelling and can be treated with ice packs or anti-inflammatories. However, it will clear up on its own as you heal.
- Bleeding – Expect some bleeding as any incisions heal. Your surgeon will tell you how much bleeding is normal for your surgery and when to call a doctor.
- Light scarring – Incisions are small so scarring should be minimal. However, it can still happen. Incisions in the labia during a labiaplasty are often obscured by the labia’s wrinkled appearance, while many scars associated with vaginoplasties are internal and therefore unnoticeable.
- Mild to moderate pain – This should go without saying, but recovery from surgery can be painful. This pain could be more localized in the case of a labiaplasty. On the other hand, pain associated with a vaginoplasty may feel like a deep ache.
All of these symptoms are normal and should resolve themselves in time provided you’ve followed your post-operative instructions.
Are There Complications I Should Look Out For?
Yes, complications can arise as a result of poor surgical technique, a lack of adherence to post-operative instructions, or just bad luck. If you experience any of the following complications, then you’ll want to contact your surgeon right away for treatment. Some rare complications could be life-threatening.
- Hematoma – Also known as a blood clot, this mass created by coagulated blood can lead to further severe health complications.
- Dehiscence – Put simply, this is when a closed incision bursts open along those same lines. It is more common if you push yourself too soon and exert your body before it is ready.
- Dryness – This can happen when too much skin is removed during the procedure (over-resection).
- Numbness – In rare cases, surgery can cause nerve damage, which in turn could lead to a loss of sensation in a certain area, affecting sexual enjoyment.
- Chronic pain – Another potential side effect of nerve damage is chronic pain or pain during intercourse.
- Urine retention – If the bladder is damaged during surgery, then a patient may not be able to urinate. This is a very rare but serious complication that needs immediate medical intervention before it leads to kidney damage.
- Skin necrosis – Some forms of vaginal rejuvenation, including certain types of labiaplasties, involve lifting and replacing skin or stretching it to cover gaps. If the skin doesn’t properly take, it can die from a lack of blood supply.
- Severe scarring – Sometimes, scarring can be severe enough as to be unsightly or physically painful.
- Severe bleeding – While bleeding is to be expected after surgery, too much bleeding can be dangerous. Talk to your surgeon about what you should expect.
- Infection – This is a common risk with any surgery. Infection may start with swelling or bleeding, making it hard to spot.
- Laser burns – This is only a concern if you receive laser vaginal rejuvenation. It’s worth noting that the FDA does not currently approve the use of lasers for cosmetic vaginal treatments.
Please don’t let this list alarm you. These complications are rare and many are easily avoidable. Still, it’s important that you understand the risks, so you can address serious complications as soon as possible.
When Should I Call a Doctor?
How can you know if you’re post-surgical bleeding is excessive? What about pain, numbness, or swelling? For starters, call your surgeon if you’re concerned at all. The worst that can happen is they tell you not to worry. In the meantime, keep an eye out for signs of infection. Severe infections can negatively impact the results of your surgery, so prompt treatment is essential.
- Bleeding – Infection can aggravate a wound and prevent it from closing, leading to excessive bleeding.
- Swelling – Blood and pus can cause severe localized swelling due to infection. This is not to be confused with the broader swelling that you’ll experience as a natural part of the healing process.
- Purulent discharge – Infected wounds become filled with pus. This milky discharge often mixes with blood, making it more difficult to spot.
- Warm to the touch – An infected wound will feel overly warm. This means your body is fighting the infection. However, blood is also likely to rush to an injured area, so it’s sometimes difficult to tell how warm is too warm.
- Red streaks – This tell-tale sign of a more advanced infection may indicate that the infection is spreading.
- Fever – If left untreated, then infections can lead to flu-like symptoms, like fevers and chills.
Infections are easiest to spot when looking at multiple signs in conjunction with one another. A simple course of antibiotics should be all you need to get your healing back on track.
What Can I Do to Prevent Complications?
For starters, do your research, and find a qualified surgeon with experience performing vaginal rejuvenation. Look to case studies, reviews, and more. Ask questions during your consultation to make sure it’s the right fit. An inexperienced surgeon might result in over-resection or under-resection. In other words, they might take too much or too little skin away during certain procedures, which can lead to problems.
It’s also up to you to follow your surgeon’s advice. Many surgeons provide instructions for what to do before and after the procedure. For example, you may be asked to quit smoking several weeks before your procedure. Smoking leads to vasoconstriction, or narrowing of blood vessels, which could increase your risk of skin necrosis after certain procedures.
When it comes to preventing infection, you’ll want to keep the area clean and dry. Follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding cleaning the surgical site and changing your bandages. Your surgeon will also provide you with antibiotics. Take the full course of these antibiotics, even if you think the area is healing well on its own.
Finally, be conservative regarding physical activity. It’s tempting to push yourself too quickly too soon, especially if you’re usually an active person. However, doing so increases your risk of reopening the wound (dehiscence). It could also lead to increased bleeding, swelling, and pain.
In short, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that you never experience a complication. However, don’t let that stop you from getting the procedure that you want. Educate yourself about the risks, find a doctor that you trust, and embark on that next journey in your life.