The vagina is an amazing organ, formed by highly elastic muscles. It has the ability to stretch during sex and childbirth, returning to its original size after sex and childbirth. However, sometimes the muscles and the surrounding tissues lose their tightness and sensitivity, resulting in a condition known as vaginal laxity.
Why does vaginal laxity happen?
Vaginal tissue relies on collagen – which acts as scaffolding, providing strength and structure – and keeps the vagina and surrounding area firm and plump. As we age, collagen depletes, and as a result, the tissue can become looser and laxer. Childbirth also causes the vagina to become stretched, leading to a loss of sensation during intercourse, an inability to orgasm and even urinary incontinence. Women often report that the vaginal opening looks wider, looser and more open following childbirth. For many women this issue resolves, but if it doesn’t, it can be a visible sign of vaginal laxity.
What are the symptoms of vaginal laxity?
A feeling of looseness is the main symptom. If you’re still menstruating, you may notice tampons slip down. Vaginal laxity also leads to less sensation during sex. It can also make it more difficult to reach orgasm for many women. This leads to diminished libido and can cause issues with a loss of intimacy in relationships and confidence.
How common is vaginal laxity?
Around 50% of women may find they experience vaginal laxity during the onset of menopause, when oestrogen levels naturally start to fall. This can begin in the lead-up to menopause, called peri-menopause, which usually happens when a woman is in their mid to late 40s. Vaginal laxity can also be caused by pregnancy and vaginal delivery which can result in loss of vaginal tightness. Bearing more than one child, delivery of a large baby, and undergoing a forceps delivery are also risk factors. Vaginal laxity can also occur as a result of excess weight or genetic issues.
How can I treat vaginal laxity?
Women who have been pregnant are often advised to practice regular Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic-floor exercise. These involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. These exercises strengthen and tone, but women who experience more pronounced laxity may require further intervention with either minimally invasive laser or radiofrequency treatments, or surgical intervention.
These may include:
- MonaLisa Touch® Laser Therapy
- The Emsella Chair
- Surgical vaginal rejuvenation to help tighten the vaginal walls and surrounding muscle
What is MonaLisa Touch® Laser Therapy?
MonaLisa Touch (MLT) is gentle laser energy which is applied to the vaginal walls and surrounding tissue. The specialist laser delivers fractional carbon dioxide laser energy to the vaginal wall tissue, which causes the production of new collagen and rehydrates and tightens the membrane lining the vaginal wall. Read more here.
What is the Emsella Chair?
The Emsella Chair, also known as BTL Emsella, uses High Intensity Focused ElectroMagnetic Energy (HIFEM) to stimulate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The procedure is non-invasive, and you remain fully clothed throughout. Read more here.
What does surgical vaginal rejuvenation entail?
In some cases, women may wish to consider surgery such as labiaplasty, vaginoplasty, hymenoplasty, or perineoplasty to tighten the structure of the vagina and surrounding organs. Returning to work, exercise, and sexual activities can take up to six weeks.