Childbirth changes the body, there’s no way around it. If you’ve ever read a mommy blog or visited a moms-only forum, then you know that some of those changes are hot topics in parenting magazines and women’s lifestyle guides. Some subjects are a little more sensitive, though. One common change that usually isn’t discussed affects the labia, the skin in the area around the vaginal opening.
Vaginal delivery can often cause the labia to stretch out, leading to excess skin. That excess skin can be a source of embarrassment and can also cause physical discomfort. Excess labial tissue can also change how undergarments and clothing fit.
A labia reduction, also called a labiaplasty, removes the excess skin from the area and restores the labia to how it looked before childbirth. Most women feel more comfortable and confident after the surgery, and it can be a great way to boost self-esteem. Although a labia reduction is a relatively short and simple procedure, it does require some downtime afterward. If you think you might be a candidate, here’s what you can expect during recovery from a labiaplasty.
How Long to Take Off From Work After Labia Reduction
Initial recovery from a labiaplasty usually takes between one and two weeks. When you’ll be able to return to work after the surgery depends on a variety of factors. If you have a relatively relaxed job that doesn’t require a lot of movement and you feel up to it, you might be able to return to the office the day after your surgery.
Usually, though, women want to take a bit more time off from work to really give their bodies time to rest and heal after the procedure. If you can, it might be worth taking a full two weeks off from your job. You can always go back early if you feel ready. But taking two weeks off really gives you a chance to relax and rest after surgery. If you’re not up to going back to work after a few days or a week, you have the cushion of a full extra week off to heal.
Even once you’re able to go back to work after your surgery, it’s likely that you’ll want to go easy on other activities during the first month or so. For example, it’s usually recommended that you wait at least four weeks before you try any sort of physically strenuous activity, like working out at the gym or going for a bike ride. Light activities, like walking, are usually OK within a day or two of the surgery.
How Long You Should Wait to Have Sex After Labia Reduction
It’s usually recommended that you hold off on having sex for a few weeks after any type of plastic surgery. That’s particularly true after labiaplasty since the surgery affects a part of your sexual organs. Usually, it’s a good idea to wait about six weeks after the surgery before you try having sexual intercourse again.
The same timeframe applies to anything that would require insertion into the vagina. For example, if you usually use tampons, you’ll want to switch to pads or period underwear during the first month after your surgery. Your surgeon will give you the all-clear when it’s OK to start using tampons again.
How to Manage Discomfort After Labia Reduction
Some swelling, bruising and general discomfort is to be expected after a labia reduction. The good news is that the discomfort is usually manageable. Your surgeon might prescribe a pain reliever to manage any soreness or might recommend an over-the-counter product.
One sensation many women experience after labiaplasty is itchiness in the surgical area. Cooling compresses and witch hazel pads might help to reduce the feeling of itchiness. But if it persists, it’s a good idea to speak with your surgeon, as the itchiness could be a sign of a yeast infection or another issue.
How the Area Will Heal
When closing the incisions, it’s very likely that your surgeon will use dissolvable stitches. Dissolvable stitches eliminate the need to remove sutures and usually fade away on their own after a few weeks.
As the area heals, a scar will form. Fortunately, the positioning of the incisions means that the scar won’t be noticeable when you’re fully clothed. The shape of the labia and the natural texture of the area can make it difficult even for medical professionals, such as your OB/GYN to notice the scar once it’s fully healed.
In some cases, labiaplasty is combined with other surgeries, such as vaginoplasty, to completely rejuvenate the area. Combining surgeries can affect the recovery process. A plastic surgeon can give you a better idea of what to expect. In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas has nearly 30 years of experience as a board-certified plastic surgeon. To schedule a consultation at Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery, call 281-484-0088 today.