ASHM Report Back
Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.
labioplasty: factors influencing women's choice
This presentation was a summary of the results of a survey undertaken by a group of GP's , following an increase in requests for labioplasty.
The procedure of labioplasty can vary but in general, involves trimming of the labia minora and possibly trimming of the clitoral hood.
Long term research has not yet been achieved in terms of the long terms effects of this procedure, particularly in relation to post menopausal women.
The presenter indicated that in many women, the labia minora extended beyond the labia majora and was therefore normal but women who sought this surgery believed that they were abnormal. What was often unknown by the women seeking the surgery is that 'more tissue=more sensory availability' .
Psychological drivers for seeking the surgery have often been overlooked, hence the GP survey that was undertaken, with 443 GP completing the survey. Alarmingly 35% of the GP's had experience of this request from women/ girls less than 18 years of age.
Factors that were useful to consider in talking to patients about their concerns were various and included perception of normal versus desirable /influence of pornography/ choice of underwear I.e. G strings and their comfort level and so on.
The take home message is that this surgery appears to be unnecessary for physical reasons in many cases and that the long term effects are unknown.