health

'Why I support my friend - who wants 'better looking' genitals.'

Hey ladies, guess what? Vulvas and labias don’t all look the same.

I’m often shocked women know so little about what is considered ‘normal’ down there.

Yet the number of women going to their GP to ask about cosmetic genital surgery has increased so dramatically, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has introduced world-first guidelines to help doctors navigate women’s concerns about their genital appearance.

Personally I’m not against plastic surgery.  Genital – or anywhere – for that matter. I figure if it makes you feel better and improves your self-esteem, go for it.

So when I had a girlfriend confide in me that she’d had an appointment with a plastic surgeon to have labiaplasty, I was not going to judge. After three natural childbirths, her vulva ‘innie’ was now an ‘outie’ and she hated it.

Thanks to the tearing, her labia minora was frilled and extended, she said.  As she bluntly put it: “It looks like sea anemone”.

It was upsetting her so much she wouldn’t let her husband go down on her and didn’t even want to have sex with the lights on.

What? It's just a Helmut Lang purse. Or as I like to call it "the Vulva bag".

She hasn't had the snip yet - but she has my full support.

Dr Ginni Mansberg disagrees and applauds the guidelines.

"I'm not opposed to plastic surgery, but I am opposed to women not being happy with body parts that are completely normal," she says.

"Vulvas are like faces - there are no two the same and we need to show women the variance. A lot of things are different after a baby. Maybe she needs some counselling about her body image ... but she doesn't need a surgeon.  Doctors need to be strong and tell women they don't need it," she says.
Watch my interview with Dr Ginni below. Post continues after video.

As you can see from the video, I only started educating myself recently.  After filming I crouched over a mirror in the bathroom.

Just like bellybuttons, some people have 'innies' and some have 'outies' - and both are completely normal.

Dr Ginni says there are a number of reason in that women don't know what 'normal' is.

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"Firstly, it's due to the rise in access to pornography. Women in pornos tend to vary little in the way of labia minor. If you compare yourself to a porn star - and your labia is more than a couple of millimeters long - you will feel inferior or abnormal and worried you are going be unattractive to the opposite sex," she says.

"Secondly, women don't see each other's vulvas very often unless they are in a gay relationship," she says. "You literally have to lie with your legs open and women just don't do that."
 "And finally, we don't cope with imperfection any more. We're in a society where you surgically fix what you don't like."
This vulva looking mouse is reminding you to do some research at www.labialibrary.org.au.
The number of women seeking Medicare rebates for medically necessary genital surgery doubled in the decade between 2003 and 2013 without a corresponding increase in medical conditions that could explain why.
"There is a very small number of women who's labia minor are so large they stick out past labia major and rub on clothes. I know these women exist, and yet in the countless number of pap tests I've done in my career I have never seen one," she says.
She says women are disregarding surgery side effects to a quest for their version of perfection.
"Scar tissue happens in response to surgery and some women will scar no matter the skill of the surgeon. You don't know how you'll scar it may look worse. You also run the risk of chronic nerve pain and you could lose the ability to orgasm," she says.
Vulvas come in all shapes and sizes. Image: Tumblr.

Dr Ginni suggests all women use the internet for good rather than evil, and do a bit of research.

"I highly recommend www.labialibrary.org.au as it's classy without being pornographical and scientific without being ugly.  Go on that site and see how different normal vulvas can be," she says.

I'll send this to my friend - but I'm not sure if it will change her mind.

Click through the gallery below for things that look like vulvas.
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The awkward things I want my teenager to know about porn.

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