24 years of discomfort. Long healing process, but worthwhile!

Like so many women here, I have been aware I...

Like so many women here, I have been aware I looked different down there since I was maybe sixteen or seventeen. I thought for so long that I would never be able to do this because of the cost, but during this past year I have realized that I can make this a reality, that there are financing options and that it truly was something that I felt would make me feel immensely more physically comfortable and confident. The "tipping point" for having this surgery was actually telling my mom about it this past summer. I was so afraid she wouldn't understand my desire to have this procedure, but she really surprised me in her support. I started looking into doctors on Real Self and found a younger surgeon who has just opened his own practice in the past year. Reputable ratings on RealSelf (although still a new profile), board certified, and has lots of experience in a teaching hospital. Plus, he studied surgery at Emory and Yale so I imagine he's brilliant. I met with him for a free consultation, which was super, since it was my first consult and I was still unsure if I even wanted to do this at this point. After our meeting it was a crazy feeling knowing that I was finally going to make this happen! I contacted him when they were doing a labiaplasty special, so I am getting to take advantage of this fantastic deal. I was in the midst of my final semester of college when I met with him, so it was absolutely crazy for a few months and I had to put it on the back burner. Met with him again in February for a second consult, and was nervous but he really made me feel better and showed me some great before and after photos he had taken of several labiaplasty patients since I'd last seen him.

Yesterday I booked the procedure for March 19. My mom is flying from my home state to come stay with me for several days to drive me to/from the surgery and to help me recover. I am so grateful for her support. I dont think I would be able to handle this alone.

I am so excited but also incredibly anxious. I know most people seem to have really great and easy recoveries, but I am concerned about something going wrong during surgery, like bleeding out during or after. I have a very enlarged labia, larger than most people on this site. (The labia hang down easily 2 1/4-2.5 inches, more like 3" if i stretch them.) Does anyone know if swelling will be greater depending on how much tissue is removed? Since I will likely have a lot of tissue removed I am concerned my recovery will be awful.

I am generally wary of pharmaceuticals and the idea of general anesthesia makes me so anxious, so I am having it done locally. Dr. says I will have an "extended wedge" labiaplasty. This will decrease the size overall and also narrow the bulk that is around my clitoral hood (but is not a hoodectomy).

Since I am having this done in about 2 weeks, I am starting to prep my body for surgery.
No alcohol, eating as clean as I can manage, lots of veggies and tea and water.

I normally take a lot of vitamins and supplements, but a lot of these are known to thin the blood (like ginger, garlic, and vitamin E) so I am going to start taking only vitamin C, and a "super antioxidant blend" by NOW foods which has turmeric and some other anti inflammatory healthful things in it.

I am about to buy a bunch of stuff on amazon for my recovery. this includes: arnica tablets, arnica gel (for topical bruising), bromelian and quercitin (to start after surgery), perineal irrigation bottle for washing after urinating, dermoplast spray (for a few days after to help with pain), and these postpartum ice pack pads that are self-cooling when you activate them.

Does anyone have any tips or comments to ease my anxiety about excessive bleeding? Trying not to fixate on that since I truly will be so so so so happy once I am healed.

Sorry for the novel of a post! Its a surreal feeling writing one of these after only reading others' reviews for so long and wondering if I would ever be at this point.

Before photos

These are so hard for me to share but here are my before's. 10 days til surgery! Going grocery shopping today and only going to eat whole, unprocessed foods the next 10 days to nourish my body before surgery.

Only a few days now!

Got my period yesterday, thank god, I'll just have finished it the day we have surgery. Great timing.

Got my prescriptions called in. Antibiotic and diflucan in case of yeast infection, Tramadol for pain, and Valium for nerves during surgery if I need it. Has anyone taken tramadol before? Doc says I'll be taking it right before and after surgery. I hate taking prescription pills and am wary of everything but I'll probably want to have the pain meds to take just in case.
Is it pretty safe to use Valium and tramadol together? Did tramadol give anyone nasty side effects?

a bit nervous but looking forward to the results!

Day 1

just finally got back home. what a day...
I was super anxious and nervous and honestly dont know how anyone does this without some sort of sedative! haha the low dose of valium helped me relax as the numbing cream set in, and I have this GIF saved on my phone which is a geometric shape which moves and you're supposed to breathe in sync with it to relieve anxiety. I listened to my music with huge noise cancelling headphones and tried my best to zone out of everything. It was both better and worse than I thought. I had an extended wedge and since I had SO much extra tissue, it took about 3-3.5 hours. It went by pretty quick and I cant believe I was in there that long. The numbing medicine wore off at the end for me, and he had to reinject me with the local to finish off the left side of my clitoral hood, which was painful and stressful because I was SO ready to be done. The worst part was the injections, honestly. It was really strange to be able to feel the pressure and motions of him cutting and sewing, though I was numb and didnt feel it. Really glad its over with. I am a person with pretty high anxiety when it comes to my body awareness, so this felt like a huge deal for me. In a lot of ways I feel very proud of myself for not chickening out and going through with this!

Now, for the pain... I started feeling stinging on my right side (the side he did first) as he was finishing up my left. I originally had thought I didnt want to touch my pain meds unless I absolutely needed to, and I realized upon this stinging that my pain might be worse than a lot of others, since he said this local anesthetic was supposed to last 7-8 hours. He finished up , took my legs out of the stirrups and had me chill out on the operating table for a bit to recollect myself. He showed me a photo of my before and after. I am happy, he took a lot off from my clitoral hood area, altering only the width with an incision next to my majora, which I didnt expect but I think its going to make a huge difference. There was already swelling so its hard to believe it will be smaller than the photo he showed me. The doctor was calm and collected and the receptionist and my mom became best friends in the 3 hours I was in the operating room, haha. Overall it was a stressful experience for me, but the doctor couldnt have made me feel any more comfortable given my anxious state.

I am in a lot of pain now, its manageable but I realize ill have to be really on top of my pain meds. I took 2 tramadol after surgery, and just took an extra strength tylenol. I am bleeding a little but its not too bad. I went to the bathroom once at the office and probably will need to go again soon, not looking forward to that, I'm a little afraid my gauze is stuck to the blood on my stitches. Everything is just stinging really sharply.

Laying in bed now with my pelvis elevated, I have these perineal cold packs which are basically GIANT diaper pads with a cold pack inside that you activate by twisting. They're good and I like that they're a pad, but the cold only lasts maybe 20-25 min. My instinct is to ice constantly to try and avoid too much swelling, does anyone know if its bad to do this?

I also think I am going to have to set alarms throughout the night to keep taking my pain meds, so I dont wake up tomorrow in horrible pain. Will be alternating the Tylenol and Tramadol, and might supplement with some turmeric because its a great anti inflammatory. Also been taking arnica the few days before surgery and hourly since the surgery, cant tell if it helps with pain but hoping it at least helps with bruising/swelling. I also just now took my first dose of Bromelian. I hope the pain doesnt get much worse! I listened to some great self healing meditations on youtube last night, cheesy I know, but I have heard that visualizations go a long way for the recovery process. So, might listen to one of those in a bit, and just chill out after and watch a movie. I am incredibly grateful to have my mom with me, I dont know how people do this without anyone to help them!

I dont want to post pictures now, its too painful to really deal with at the moment but maybe later if it gets any better. I cant believe how much tissue was removed, it will likely sit flush with my outer labia or maybe a little larger when it heals, I honestly will just be happy with nothing hanging down!!! Now for the recovery process....

Cheers!

Day 1 photo

Day 2

Woke up at 4am to keep up with my pain meds and felt no pain at all. So instead I took some turmeric, more bromelain and went back to sleep. Woke up again at 9am still in no pain. Went to the bathroom and everything looks good! Doesn't look more or less swollen than yesterday and just have a little bruising up toward my clitoral hood. Really surprised so far at how much less it hurts today! Took only 250 mg Tylenol. Have been lying around all morning with hips elevated and more icing. Starting to get antsy from laying in bed. Got up a few times just to walk around my room and stretch my legs and neck.
Also a bit nervous to go #2 but I know that will need to happen probably in the next 12 hours. The minimal bleeding I had has pretty much stopped and had a tiny bit of drainage from stitches. Overall today I see a huge improvement, honestly really surprised that yesterday was the worst! Will try and post a photo later.

Day 2 photos

Day 3

Today has been a bit difficult. Slept really poorly, and am extremely constipated from pain meds. My stool seems to have impacted into a hard huge lump and I am concerned about straining and popping a stitch, so my mom is running to the store to grab me an at home enema syringe. Hoping that will help... I had been taking senna tablets but they didn't seem to do much. I would recommend to anyone having this surgery to be really on top of taking something that keeps them regular, from day 1!
Going to shower after attempting
This enema and may post a photo later. Bruising and swelling seem the same as yesterday. Haven't taken any pain meds today.

Day 3 photo

Day 4

Today was my post op appointment. Everything looks good, minus the bruising and swelling which is moderate but definitely present. Still taking the arnica and bromelain, been trying to ice but have been traveling today by car and so did a lot of sitting. It's been kind of painful, the sutures sting and sort of itch a bit, this feeling seems to come in waves where I'll feel fine and then it will bother me. Looks about the same as yesterday. Hoping another day off my feet with ice will help. Hoping to see some improvement soon but I know I have to be patient :) walking has been much easier and I do feel somewhat normal, like I could run out for a quick errand if I need to and not be in pain. That's all I have to report for now!

Day 5

No real healing progress yet. Still taking arnica and bromelain and just Tylenol now for pain. Icing when I can, going to spend today in bed in hopes of getting the swelling and bruising down a bit. Wish I could take an anti inflammatory like ibuprofen but my doc wants to wait til I see improvement with bruising to minimize risk of bleeding.

Day 6

No significant changes. Even though I stayed in bed pretty much all of yesterday, it still stung and felt swollen when I would get up and use the bathroom or walk around my hotel room. Granted, I'm no longer using the tramadol (I will if I really need it) but I almost think that's a good thing- I used tramadol the day I got to my hotel and had no pain walking around but probably could easily have "overdone it' that way. Today my mom is leaving and I'm going back to my house instead of my hotel room. My roommate is home for Easter so I'll have the house to myself, hope nothing goes wrong- but it'll be nice to have my own house to myself again. Going to take it easy today too.

Day 6

Swelling seems to have gone down since this morning. Been using coconut oil and aquaphor. Liking the coconut oil as it goes on so smoothly and just melts into my skin, and feels cool and relieving.

Day 7

So today I was finally allowed to take ibuprofen. Doc wanted me to wait until swelling and bruising went down. I've been having funny itches and burning/aching/heat along my suture lines that seems to come on sorta randomly and then subside. Hoping that means I'm healing from the inside out! Everything looks smaller and less bruised this morning. The only spot that looks a little odd to me is the left side (left in the photos, aka my right) in the photos. It's lighter pink which Means it's not as bruised, but it seems to overlap in a funny way with the lower part of the labia it was stitched to. Hoping this all smoothes out in the healing process, I know there are still plenty of changes to come. I think the coconut oil has been helping somehow. I use it in a lot of cooking but didn't realize it actually has anti inflammatory properties! Overall I've seen the greatest change in the appearance in the last 24 hours. Hoping it keeps up :)) another day of rest, grateful to have this time off but feel like I'm losing muscle tone!

Day 7. Just realized...

That all my stitches between my labia minora and majora where the extended wedge was done, are gone!!! They've dissolved and the tissue looks healed! So bizzare! I guess I didn't notice them earlier since my lips were so swollen I couldn't see into that crease. Guess the weird itchy hot feelings were the dissolving of stitches. I didn't even notice any fall out/coming out! Skin can heal fast. It's pretty neat. Anyone know what dissolvable sutures are made of?

1 full week!

So today marks one week since surgery! (I counted day one as operation day so I guess technically I'm on day 8) things seem a lot less painful and now I'm just on ibuprofen, once or twice a day. Eating healthy and lots of protien. Lips look much better but I can tell there's still some asymmetrical swelling and a little residual bruising still. The sutures ache a bit once in a while but the ibuprofen pretty much covers that. Really getting antsy and sick of laying around and wish I could do some yoga but don't think my yoni would like all that intense stretching ???? !! Haha. I know I'll continue to get smaller and so far really happy with the size difference. Standing up, the lips stick out from my inner just a few cm versus a few inches before !!! It's amazing to not feel all that pendulous skin there! Can't wait til I can be a little more active.

Day 10

No longer on pain meds. It's a bit itchy and hot, so I've still been icing occasionally. It's more of an annoying but forgettable heat/tenderness than any kind of pain now, which is good. The coconut oil seems to really help soften and smooth everything. I stopped using the ointment because I felt like it was hard to clean off and was super messy. I think it looks smaller in person than in these pics but here they are nonetheless!

Day 12

Easier to move around and go about mostly normal activities but still a bit tender. Hoping the swelling around the incision goes down. I imagine I am definitely still swollen but I wonder when I'll know the final result. Not much to update!

2weeks 1 day

Went to my first post op appointment on Friday. Doc was very happy with my healing progress. Had a small would separation in the stitched area between my minora and majora that he wasn't worried about, just said to continue taking it easy. I feel even more back to normal now, though slightly tender in certain sitting and walking positions. The dissolvable stitches are starting to unravel which is a little weird! Haha. The thing I feel the worst about right now is my level of inactivity. I feel anxious from lack of movement and release I normally get from yoga or running. I haven't been sleeping well and I have gained about 5 pounds, even through eating pretty healthy. Guess I've been snacking more in my downtime from boredom. Without depriving myself I'm definitely going to cut back on my snacking. I've been taking all my good supplements and probiotics but feel like my digestion has been sluggish also from lack of movement, and metabolism slow. Wish I could exercise so badly! Doc says he wants to see me in another month and at that point give me the go ahead to exercise, yoga, have sex etc.
Anyone have success managing their weight during this very inactive time? I'd at least like to lose a pound or two of what I've gained. It's frustrating!

Other than that, feeling happy with how I look and it keeps getting smaller daily. I think it will look fantastic when it's healed in a few weeks!

3 wks

Tomorrow I'm at 3 full weeks. Everything looks smoother and smaller, pic doesn't do it justice. I haven't had any complications but just today noticed a tiny bit of blood in the crease between my majora and minora on one side. I don't want to pull it apart to inspect it in case I cause further would separation. Do y'all think this is normal 3 weeks post op? Perhaps a stitch dissolved there funny or something and caused some light bleeding? Nothing hurts. I'm surprised I even noticed it.

24 days

I feel it looks bigger in pics than in real life ! But it really has stopped hurting all together, and the swelling is still going down/ scars are smoothing out. Can't wait til I feel comfortable to get a good shave or wax. I still have some stitches that haven't dissolved in the outer portion. I'm really happy so far and know it will get smaller still!

1 month!!!

I feel great. Just getting over my first period post op, UGH I had forgotten how horrible pads were; brings me back to middle school days of fearing the niagra falls gush every time I stood up after sitting for long periods of time hahahaha. Feeling good, scars look mostly healed except for those on the wedge section. Everything feels fine but I know there's some hard lumpy scar tissue that hopefully will continue to reduce in size and smooth out! Hope this isn't TMI but I finally was able to pleasure myself (very very gently/lightly, no direct pressure on labia) and it was great. Since I used to have so much extra skin down there it does feel different, I will admit- but not worse or anything, just will take some getting used to! I cannot wait to feel uninhibited in bed/with a partner! I feel I definitely have a while to go, like maybe another month before I would attempt sex. Omg so glad I had this done though. Finally starting to feel like this really happened as my scars are healing! It looks so much better and I can't wait to see it in an few more weeks when the scar has healed!

12 weeks

Been a long time since I updated but seriously after the 6 week checkup it was a breeze. No pain, everything feels good and no sensitivity. Not in a relationship or in a place where I am wanting to meet someone but can't wait to have sex again! I'm happy with my result. I sometimes wish it were a little smaller but I also told my doctor to use his judgment and not take off too much. He explained exactly why he kept it this length/width and it's because of how much my clit sticks out- it's fairly "long" and he wanted to make sure it was covered which is probably a good thing. I'll try and post standing pics sometime soon too. The lips are at the same level as my outer lips. They "stick out" because they are somewhat thick but this is just my anatomy and I didn't want a Barbie chop!
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