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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Are there other cosmetic surgery procedures for the vaginal area?

There are other various procedures designed to enhance the vaginal region. Here is a brief listing of some of the more common vaginal rejuvenation procedures:

Clitoral hood reduction - Some surgeons reduce the width and/or length of the clitoral hood depending on the anatomy and wishes of the patient.

Hymenoplasty - This involves the reconstruction of the hymen to restore it to a virginal state. This is usually performed for cultural, social, or religious reasons.

Vaginoplasty - Also known as vaginal rejuvenation, this is a procedure designed to correct stretched vaginal muscles resulting from childbirth.

Vulvar Lipoplasty - During this procedure, the unwanted fatty tissue covering the pubic area (also called mons pubis) is removed.

If you are considering vaginal rejuvenation and would like to know which procedure would work best for you, please consult your surgeon.

Ten Questions Patients Undergoing Labiaplasty Should Ask Their Surgeon

To better educate the patient about labiaplasty, as well as assisting in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient look at before and after photographs, speak with previous patients, (you are always welcome to ask your doctor for referrals to previous patients and where to contact them) and get answers to the following questions:

* Are the desired results I described realistic?
* Where is the labiaplasty minora performed and how long will it take?
* In my case, which labia minora technique is most appropriate?
* What kind of anesthesia will the surgeon use during the surgery?
* How much does labiaplasty cost and what other elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
* What is the surgeon's level of experience in performing labiaplasty?
* What percentage of patients experience complications with the labiaplasty?
* What is the surgeon's policy in regard to correcting or repeating the procedure if the labiaplasty does not meet agreed upon goals?
* What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level and so on?
* Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?

However, don't limit yourself to these questions. If there is something you do not understand about labiaplasty, do not hesitate in asking the doctor any questions you might have.

In addition, it is important that patients undergoing labia minora reduction relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.

This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice -- the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

Playboy Magazine as the Norm For Female Beauty

Playboy publishes two types of magazines. There is the regular monthly magazine and there are the lesser known Special Editions (see further below). Undeniably, all models are very attractive and to many they have become the norm for female beauty.

The fact that the regular magazine hardly shows models with protruding labia minora has caused women to believe that large labia are considered unattractive. Hey, if it's not in Playboy then it must be because men don't like it, right? However, it's not that simple.

Part of a scan of the Centerfold in Playboy, April 2005
Playboy is not porn, it's a booby magazine. To comply with the rule of discreet genital detail it will only show full frontal nudity if the model has a vulva with small or tucked in labia minora. Showing protruding labia is considered too explicit.

Besides having great articles, Playboy is a booby magazine, not a porn magazine. It has hardly any pictures that show naked vulvas. Instead, it wants to tease and tickle your senses by displaying female curves and by being suggestive about women's genital areas.

For instance, the current Playboy (April 2005) has about 40 pictures of nude women. Only six of these show the girl's vulva, like the image above. The rest of the pictures show their naked boobs, or a combination of boobs and glutes or concealed pussy.

There is no question that the people at Playboy also handle some set of "beauty-criteria" that must be met before a girl is accepted as a photo model. General appearance, skin complexion, body fat, hip-to-waist ratio, breast size, facial features, body proportions, etc. are for sure some of them.

And yes, it seems that for their regular magazine they do consider labia size and prefer girls with small or invisible inner labia. If a girl has long labia then she is portrayed in a pose that hides them. But is it because they believe they're ugly? Not at all! They do it because showing labia minora that extend beyond the outer lips is considered too sexually explicit, in other words too sexy!
There Are Rules About the Display of Genital Detail:
Long Inner Labia are Too Explicit!

There are unwritten rules in the world of publication that specify what is allowed in magazines (or on TV) and what is not. A major one is about the display of genitals. No doubt they vary some from country to country. But in general it seems that for a publication to be classified as mild eroticism, penises can only be shown flaccid or in very light state of arousal and inner labia shouldn't be exposed. In terms of sexual explicitness long inner labia are the equivalent of an erected penis.

Those countries with a long history of Victorian prudishness have been among the most conservative in this regard. Until recently British broadcasters had to follow the ILOOLI rule — inner labia are out (not allowed), outer labia are in (allowed). In Australia a magazine is deemed porn if it shows an image of a woman with protruding inner labia. The size and shape of her labia is a decisive factor in their rule of "discreet genital detail".

Penthouse versus Playboy

Penthouse Magazine, which considers itself hard-core porn, shows women's protruding inner labia all the time and so do numerous other sex magazines. Labia size doesn't matter to them since they are not restricted by rules about sexual explicitness.

For instance, the big lipped Victoria Knight, one of the internet's most popular porn stars, was Penthouse's cover-girl a few years ago (under the name Leah Maree Willis). Inside she was posing spread-eagle with her large hanging labia shown in all their glory. If anything, she got the job because of her big pussy lips!

Victoria Knight (aka Leah Maree Willis) showing her large labia in Penthouse Magazine

Playboy on the other hand can't display women's protruding labia so clearly. Although it wants to appeal to the sexual senses of horny men, it also wants to be tame enough for the mainstream population. (It is one of the few erotic publications that women will allow their husband to come home with!) So, for the time being, they censor inner labia and compensate by maximizing the exposure of that other big eye-catcher: large breasts.

Vulvar Cancer

What is vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer is a malignancy that can occur on any part of the external organs, but most often affects the labia majora or labia minora. According the American Cancer Society, about 3,490 cases of cancer of the vulva will be diagnosed in the US in 2007. Cancer of the vulva is a rare disease, which accounts for 0.6 percent of all cancers in women, and may form slowly over many years. Nearly 90 percent of vulvar cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Melanoma is the second most common type of vulvar cancer, usually found in the labia minora or clitoris. Other types of vulvar cancer include:

* adenocarcinoma
* Paget's disease
* sarcomas
* verrucous carcinoma
* basal cell carcinoma

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases, including cancers, have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop cancer, while others develop cancer and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.
What are risk factors for vulvar cancer?

The following have been suggested as risk factors for vulvar cancer:

* age - of the women who develop vulvar cancer, three-fourths are over age 50, and half are over age 70
* chronic vulvar inflammation
* infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV)
* human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
* lichen sclerosus - can cause the vulval skin to become very itchy and may slightly increase the possibility of vulvar cancer
* melanoma or atypical moles on non-vulvar skin - a family history of melanoma and dysplastic nevi anywhere on the body may increase the risk of vulvar cancer
* low socioeconomic status
* vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) - there is an increased risk for vulvar cancer in women with VIN, although most cases do not progress to cancer
* other genital cancers
* smoking

What are the symptoms of vulvar cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of vulvar cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

* constant itching
* changes in the color and the way the vulva looks
* bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation
* severe burning/itching or pain
* skin of the vulva looks white and feels rough

The symptoms of vulvar cancer may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.
How can vulvar cancer be prevented?

The cause of vulvar cancer is not known at this time, however, certain risk factors are suspected as contributors to the development of the disease. Suggestions for prevention include:

* Avoid known risk factors when possible.
* Delay onset of sexual activity.
* Use condoms.
* Do not smoke.
* Have regular physical checkups.
* Have routine Pap tests and pelvic examinations.
* Routinely check entire body for irregular growth of moles.

How is vulvar cancer diagnosed?

Vulvar cancer is diagnosed by biopsy, removing a section of tissue for examination in a laboratory by a pathologist.
Treatment for vulvar cancer:

Specific treatment for vulvar cancer will be determined by your physician(s) based on:

* your overall health and medical history
* extent of the disease
* your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
* expectations for the course of the disease
* your opinion or preference

Treatment for patients with cancer of the vulva may include:

* surgery, including:
o laser surgery - use of a powerful beam of light, which can be directed to specific parts of the body without making a large incision, to destroy abnormal cells
o excision - the cancer cells and a margin of normal appearing skin around the cancer is removed
o vulvectomy - surgical removal of part of all of the tissues of the vulvar
* radiation therapy
* chemotherapy

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Washing Your Vulva & Vagina: Soap Isn't A Friend.

Written by Louise Laws Monday, 06 September 2004 19:00

This article and its contents may not necessarily apply to your own body. We believe that a quick wipe over your vagina with a sponge that has body wash or soap or whatever won't be washing away too much of the "helper bacteria" but a more thorough wash using body wash or soap might present a problem. If the soap irritates your skin, you should use a soap without perfume.

For many, washing our vulva with our favourite shower gel or soap is a regular part of our daily routine. We grew up knowing our mothers, sisters, and friends did this and many of us were told that washing themselves with soap is necessary to stay clean and avoid unpleasant odor. How many of us ever stopped to think whether this is what we should be doing or was it just what we were told to do. There are a plethora of products aimed specifically for 'intimate freshness' for women, playing on an idea that we will smell unless we wash with fragranced cleaning products. What's worse is that more than half of the women do not even know that this can be potentially harmful to them and their bodies.

Many women will say soap is fine, even those who know the potential risks will say that a mild soap is still suitable, that they themselves use this without having any problems occurring. However, as true as this may be for those individuals, for a large number of women this can cause problems that can go on without the knowledge of the cause. Regardless of how fine cleaning with soap may feel, it still remains bad for vaginal health; an unnecessary act which is often seen as a necessity.

Women who use soap often do not know any different. It has been ingrained in our mind that to be clean one must use cleaning products but it is often a surprise to women to finally know how harmful this can be. Truthfully women's vaginas and vulvas are not as dirty as some people seem to think, certainly the smell of the vagina is not one that should be removed or covered up. It is not a foul smell and far from something that should repel men as it is a natural sexual attractant.

We as women are supposed to have a smell, we are supposed to have bacteria (both good and bad), we are supposed to have yeast and we are supposed to have fluids leaving our vagina both during menstruation and as everyday discharge. Left to it's own devices the vagina is a self-contained environment, it keeps itself healthy and is self-cleaning so needs little help from us unless an infection occurs, and then it is up to your friendly gynecologist to prescribe just what we need.

That is not to say women cannot take an active role in their vaginal health. Many doctors will support the use of natural remedies to help aid in vaginal health such as the use of yogurt or tea tree oil to treat infection rather than using medical treatments for infection, the more natural things used to treat this delicate environment the better.

For the vulva, soap can be quite traumatic. Firstly, for girls pre-teen and early teens, this can be the first warning sign for soap vaginitis and UTI's. Before puberty, the mucosa can be very sensitive, and it can easily become irritated when it comes in contact with soaps. Many women have sensitive mucosa that can often become inflamed and irritated by the presence of soap. Much like soap can remove oils from your skin and cause irritation and dryness, soap can strip the vulva of it's natural oils as the vulva is naturally moist. This can cause significant irritation and it should also be noted that soaps can cause vaginal dryness which may become an issue if one is sexually active.

For the vagina more problems can occur. Soap can cause irritation and inflammation of the mucosa much in the same way as it would cause irritation of the vulva. This not only causes discomfort but can also leave women more susceptible to STD's. The vagina has a very delicate bacterial and PH balance and with the effect of soaps having differing PH levels, it can affect the normal vaginal PH level and may lead to imbalances in the bacteria levels.

Bacteria are naturally occurring in the vagina however when the anaerobic bacteria, genital mycoplasmas and gardnerella vaginalis overgrow or lactobacilli are reduced, then this can cause bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection that is common in many women, most commonly caused by this PH imbalance. The symptoms are not always present however when they are women will experience excessive discharge and a foul 'fish' type smell. This infection is not necessarily serious, unless the women has a IUD or the infection progresses further into the vagina, however this infection can be very stubborn to get rid of and modern medicine cannot always guarantee successful treatment. The PH imbalance can also affect the naturally occurring yeast in the vagina, again leading to infection and further irritation through yeast infections.

It may be tempting to use soaps, douches or feminine sprays if an infection is already present, however these will only complicate existing infections. Douching can have these negative effects, as it pushes harmful bacteria farther up into the reproductive system as well as using soap which removes all vaginal bacteria. For women who do not experience infection through use of soap they may well still wish to use soap, however this remains completely unnecessary as your body knows best.

There are also unseen risks, that of synthetic chemicals, many soaps and cleaning product contain synthetic chemicals as a way to improve the shelf life of the product. The majority of modern cosmetics are constructed from complex mixtures of synthetic chemicals. Alone these chemicals pose little risk, however, combined with other products, they can create a cause for concern, particularly if exposed to the delicate mucosa of the vagina and vulva.

Many commonly used chemicals cannot only cause allergic reactions but are suspected hormone disrupters and so are potentially harmful. The skin on our bodies absorbs chemicals in cosmetics but because it has keratinized squamous epithelium, which is the protective outer layer, it is largely protected. However, as the vaginal/vulva mucosa does not have this protective layer, its absorbency is higher. Fragranced soaps alone can contain between 50-100 different fragrances, many of which are potentially harmful. The United Kingdom currently only requires manufacturers to label 'parfum' or in the US 'fragrance' so it is hard to tell the exact chemicals used in specific products.

Triclosan is another concern; a chlorophenol commonly used in soaps and vaginal washes. This kills any type of bacteria it comes across. It cannot tell the difference between what is good and what is bad so it can remove beneficial bacteria. This too can be converted into dioxin with exposure to sunlight in water. Many potentially harmful synthetic chemicals can be found in soaps and washes, it is therefore unwise to use these around an area where absorption rate is high, such as with vaginal mucosa.

Correct bathing would be to avoid allowing chemicals around the vagina and vulva area, such as avoiding bubble baths, or other bathing products containing chemicals which may disturb natural vaginal health. Sometimes we cannot help but get soap in the vulva when showering, and washing the outer labia with soap is perfectly safe, however, using soap specifically to clean the vagina or vulva should be avoided. Although many feminine washes, sprays or talc's may claim to be safe to use these are not needed and more often than not, they are no better than soap.

To clean the vulva gently spread the inner and outer labia to wash between them with your hands while in the bath or shower, wash forwards towards your clitoral head being careful not to clean too harshly or excessively. While cleaning be sure to use your fingers to gently wash away any dead skin within the inner labia and clean away any discharge. The vulva should be dried gently with a towel - remember detergents used on your flannels and towels can also cause irritation and harbour bacteria. An even better method is to avoid friction which causes the spread of bacteria. This can be done by setting a hairdryer on it's cool setting, or better yet, run around the house free and naked.

When drying avoid talc's, these have been linked to numerous cancers, including vulva, vaginal, cervical, uterine and ovarian. Also avoid using sprays. Again, even if advertised as feminine hygiene sprays these too can have a similar effect as soaps.

As tempting as it is if you suffer from infections or feel uneasy about your natural smell it is in your best interests to learn to wash and care for your vagina without the use of soaps, douches, talc's, sprays, wipes or coloured/scented toilet paper.

How Does a Genital Piercing Affect Sex?

By Jillian Hahn

You have a piercing where?
1. Genital piercings--although still fairly uncommon--are on the rise. There are many reasons someone may choose to get a genital piercing. Some people want more sexual stimulation and some people prefer the way they look. While very sensitive, the genitals are areas of the body that heal very quickly compared to many other areas. And while there is still a healing time associated with genital piercings in which you should be very careful, it is much shorter than with most other piercings.
Many people report that genital piercings give them an added air of confidence and an aura of mystery when people find out. People are naturally curious about something that is seen so little. For both males and females, genital piercing increases stimulation during intercourse and provides a more pleasurable experience.
Male Genital Piercings
2. Male genital piercings can include piercing of the tip of the penis, the scrotum or the shaft. The most common type of piercing is the Prince Albert, at the head of the penis, followed by a frenum piercing on the underside of the shaft. For many men, genital piercings increase sexual satisfaction and provide better orgasms.

The main benefit of male genital piercings, however, is for the female partner. The barbell of almost any type of male piercing is positioned to rub along the inside of the vaginal wall during intercourse, providing extra stimulation. Scrotum piercings can provide extra stimulation by hitting the labia during intercourse. While men do receive further stimulation from piercings, it is the female that takes advantage of the added pleasure.
Female Genital Piercings
3. Female genital piercings are more common than their male counterparts. They are also known to be more sexually stimulating. There are many different areas of the genitalia that a female can get pierced. This includes the clitoral hood, labia or the clitoris itself. The most common type of piercing is the clitoral hood piercing, which is the loose flap of skin directly over the clitoris. This allows for stimulation of the clitoris, without actually piercing the clitoris. A clitoral piercing is painful and is physically impossible for many women.

During intercourse, the piercing rubs against the clitoris for extra stimulation. While some women may find this overwhelming, a majority of women welcome the extra sensation. It also allows clitoral stimulation in positions where it may otherwise be impossible, allowing for more experimentation in the bedroom.

How to Care for a Genital Piercing

A genital piercing is the term typically used to describe when a female decides to get her labia or clitoris pierced. A male genital piercing is instead referred to as a "Prince Albert." If you are brave enough to get a genital piercing, then you will want to know how to properly care for it.

Step 1

Wash your hands before cleaning a genital piercing. Any type of dirt or bacteria found on your hands can lead to an infection.

Step 2

Use a mild anti-bacterial soap to clean the piercing. The easiest way to clean the genital piercing is while taking a shower.

Step 3

Soak the piercing in water and soap for a few minutes. Rinse away all soap and make sure that you leave no residue behind.

Step 4

Pat the piercing dry. Never rub the piercing dry with a towel because it could irritate the area.

Step 5

Remove any crust with a cotton swab. Rotate the jewelry around to ensure that you remove all the build up.

Step 6

Wear clothing items that have been washed in a fragrance and dye free detergent. This will protect any irritants from getting into the genital piercing site.