Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that changes the appearance, shape, or size of the inner or outer lip of the vagina. Finally, it is more comfortable to wear tight clothing. The procedure also relieves any discomfort a woman may feel during exercise or sexual intercourse.
For many women, these are worthy goals. These goals can be achieved as long as you know what to do when you recover.
This article explains how to prepare for labiaplasty and what to expect during the most important first week after surgery. It may set the tone for your recovery, which can take up to eight weeks.
Before you have surgery, consider taking some steps to make your first week easier:
- Buy a spray bottle and fill it with water. (Read on to find out why.)
- Take a few days off and/or any workout/training routine. If you are unable to do this, you may need to reconsider scheduling your surgery so you can rest afterwards.
- Get supplies of arnica and bromelain, supplements that can clear up swelling and bruising. (Consult your doctor first.)
- Remove pubic hair.
- Avoid sex.
life without sex?
If you cannot stay sex-free for six to eight weeks, you are not suitable for this procedure. Your incision needs enough time to heal, and even mild sex can interfere with the healing process.
On the first day after surgery, swelling of the inner and outer labia (labia minor and major, respectively) is expected. The skin on the clitoris may swell even if no cuts are made in the area.
Never expect them to look “normal”. Genital tissue is very pliable, which means it can stretch significantly. It looks amazingly swollen now but will soon return to normal. Applying a cold compress to the area for the first day after surgery will help relieve pain and swelling. Avoid holding the compression on the area for more than 15 minutes at a time to avoid skin damage. Otherwise, get the first week off to a positive start by:
- Take arnica and bromelain as directed by your doctor. Expect to continue taking the capsules for a few days after your surgery.
- Take pain relievers recommended by your surgeon. You can handle it just fine with acetaminophen (Tylenol), but you may need stronger medications such as anesthetics (Norco, Vicodin). Get ahead of the pain so you don’t have to “chase” it. Your surgeon may also prescribe a lidocaine ointment that you can apply directly to your incision.
- Expect some mild, bloody drainage. Friction from underwear, even when moving in a chair or walking, can cause moderate to severe discomfort as well as drainage. That’s why many women take a few days off: so they can rest and manage their symptoms.
use that spray bottle
There may be a tingling sensation when urinating. This is also normal. When urinating, spray the incision with a spray bottle filled with water. Doing this should reduce the sting. It also helps keep the genital area clean.
Swelling may increase. This is typical as it tends to get worse before it gets better. So try not to panic. Continue to use a spray bottle when going to the toilet. Once more than 24 hours have elapsed between you and the procedure, your surgeon may allow you to take a sitz bath.
Continue to take pain medication and apply ointment to the incision as directed by your surgeon. Pain and/or discomfort is normal. Bloody exudate on underwear or sanitary napkins is also normal.
If you’re sensitive to the pressure they can put on your skin, you may not be able to wear tight clothing or underwear. Continue icing if your surgeon allows it. A bout of cold should go a long way in helping with pain and swelling.
If in the first week, there will be a series of symptoms: pain, itching, drainage, and possibly a fever. Contact your doctor if you experience symptoms not listed in the personalized postoperative instructions.
Days 6 to 7
By days six and seven, the swelling should improve slightly. Pain may still be present, but should be lessened. Ointments and pain relievers should be used as directed by your surgeon. At this point, you may begin to gradually reduce your pain medication.
Some itching around the stitches is normal. You may have a post-op appointment at this time or within the next day or two.
Get ready for itching
During the first week after labiaplasty, your body goes into healing mode, so itching is normal. If itching becomes unbearable, or does not respond to cold compresses, mention it to your healthcare provider. You need to make sure you don’t have a yeast or bacterial infection, or even an allergic reaction to the medication.
Once you get past this critical first week, it should be easier for you to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to recover from labiaplasty. You have a few weeks left. While every woman’s recovery looks different, what to expect is:
- You may be able to return to your normal lifestyle and fitness routines two to four weeks after surgery.
- Dissolvable stitches should disappear within three to four weeks.
- It may take 6 to 8 weeks for the surgical scar to become firm enough to withstand intercourse. But please consult your doctor first.
- Scar tissue will harden before softening, usually after a few months.
The first day after labiaplasty may set the tone for the rest of your recovery. So make yourself a good patient by: taking arnica and bromelain (unless your doctor instructs otherwise); taking pain medication recommended by your surgeon; and expecting itching, pain, some drainage, and maybe a fever. There are remedies for all of these symptoms, so don’t try to keep fighting without them. You also need rest to heal properly. If itching and pain prevent you from resting and sleeping, you will end up depriving your body of the restorative benefits it needs.
What to expect 3 weeks after labiaplasty