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.

Psychological motivations and outcomes of Labiaplasty

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Gemma Sharp from the School of Psychology, Flinders University,S.A talked to us about the project she's involved in looking at Labiaplasty. I found this really interesting but results were pretty predictable.

She told us it's the most popular form of genital cosmetic surgery and Australia has seen a 3-fold increase from 2000-2014. It involves the reduction of the labia minora.

She was looking at the factors that motivate women to undergo labiaplasty and the psychological outcomes using two studies.

In study 1 (qualitative study) She interviewed 14 Australian women 5-16 months post surgery and identified five themes:

1 Media influence - comparing themselves with online genital images

2 Negative comments about genital appearance

3 Physical discomfort over aesthetic concerns

4 Satisfaction with surgery

5 Sexual wellbeing

86% of the women expressed concerns with labial appearance, large labia impacting their sex lives and feeling ashamed about how their labia looks.

After labiaplasty 71% of the women stated an improvement in self- consciousness, feeling more comfortable having sex and feeling more free. But 29% still had concerns after labiaplasty. 

She concluded that psychosexual counselling might be an option for these women.

In study 2 (quantitative study) she looked at the effects on intimate relationships and psychological well being, using 29 labiaplasty patients compared to 22 general gyne patients.

She found that overall the labiaplasty patients were satisfied >80% and only 35% reported complications (infections/severe discomfort) but there were no significant changes in relationship quality, sexual confidence, psychological distress, self-esteem or life satisfaction.

She concluded that although labiaplasty improves genital appearance, it has no effect on psychological factors and preoperative relationship status and psychological distress predict dissatisfaction with outcomes.

Again she thought it was important to think about psychological treatment.

 

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