24 Year Old, No Children - London, UK

I have wanted this procedure since I was around...

I have wanted this procedure since I was around 16/17 years old and yesterday after much deliberation and preparation I finally did it.

I was relieved to find 'realself' whist doing my research pre-op, there is nothing like reading honest, first hand advice/experience from real women who have had the procedure themselves. Here's my experience (so far)...

I went for a consultation with a gynacologist on March 8th. He was very pleasant and seemed to be very experienced. We talked through why I wanted the procedure and what I felt unhappy about. I was a little suprised that he did not have any photos of past labiaplasties that he had carried out, this almost put me off but he explained that his main area of work was around re-constructions so he only took photos of these more complicated procedures. He examined me which was a little embarrassing as i have never had a stranger that close to lady garden before! There was a female nurse present at all times and although embarrassed, I was made to feel at ease. He explained that he thought de-epithelization was the best option for me (where they keep the natural edge of labia), I had a full redundant prepuce on the right side (the fold of skin between the inner and outer labia) which he said he will do his best to remove.
My advice to anyone who is going for a consultation is to NOT hold back on questions, it is likely you will not have another opportunity to openly chat about the procedure with your surgeon. Ask everything and anything, even if you think its a silly question.

Here are some questions that I printed off and took with me:
* Do you think I’m a good candidate for the procedure (why or why not)?
* Will you need to consult with my GP before we can go ahead with the surgery
* Walk through of surgery:
* How long (aesthetic – local, sedation or general?)
* Where
* When
* Scalpel or medical laser
* What method you use for my case and why? Pro’s and con’s of this method (Edge resection, wedge, deepithelialize)
* Are the stitches likely to form a notched scar?
* What are the associated risks? What is the most common post-op complaint?
* I read that the surgery is best not performed around the time menstrual cycle due to increased risk of infection etc.
* Healing time:
* Time advised to book off work
* Complete rest advised or is minimal stress activity okay e.g walking/driving okay
* When wounds have healed, should I use products to help reduce the scaring eg. Bio oil
* Aftercare – What aftercare would be included in the price of the operation eg. What should I do if I experience complications post-op (I do not have private medical insurance so should I go to my GP in case of complications experienced post-op?)
* When I want to have children should I expect a higher risk of tearing or any other complications? Is it something I should tell the midwives that I have had done?
o What should I do to prepare for surgery?
o Cost?
> Can I see pictures of past surgeries completed by yourself to help me gauge what results I should expect and manage my expectations?
> How many Labial reduction procedures have you carried out?

Questions I didnt ask and wish I did:
Hygiene after procedure -
- when I go to the toilet should I rinse the area or just dab dry?
- how hot should my showers be? (fear of fast dissolving of stitches so I have only taken a tepid shower)
- Should I continue drinking lots of fluids or just drink small but oftern? (liquid goes straight through me so if i drink lots I end up going to the toilet ALOT, im worried this can cause irritation to the area)

The Procedure:
My surgery was scheduled for the afternoon. I arrived 1 hour before, as advised, but was left in the waiting room until 10 minutes before my scheduled procedure (I thought that I had been forgotten about!) The receptionist called down to advise them that I was still waiting for collection and a nurse hurried up and scooted me downstairs soon after. This bit all felt a little rushed (i really do think they had forgotten about me!!) but it was okay because i wasnt taken into surgery for another half hour after my scheduled time so it gave a little time to relax again. The anaethatist came to visit me and explained what will happen next and how the anaestic will make me feel - he was super friendly. Then my surgeon came in and quickly went over the details with me again, adding that he may do some trimming to remove wing tips that he hadnt originally planned to do, I agreed i was happy with this and i signed the concent form.

I was walked through to the theatre and laid on the table, the anaethatist popped the canula in and I was away. Next thing I knew i was awake and in the recovery room. I felt fine but had the shakes, they just covered me with lots of blankets and popped a heater inside the covers and the shakes soon stopped.

I went through to the patient care area and spent 2 hours in there before I left. The pain was minimal, I started to feel a slight burning sensation on one side but took a tramadol and was soon feeling fine again. My first wee didn't sting at all like I had feared, I just dabbed dry a little and applied the [eye!]cream they gave me and waddled back to the patient care area. I would advise everybody to take a taxi or get a lift home after the procedure as standing for an extended period can become a little uncomfortable. I stood outside for just 10 -15 minutes waiting for my lift and started to feel a little pressure in the downstairs region... glad i didnt get the train home like i had first planned!!

Day 1Post-Op
Today i woke up with not pain at all, i couldnt believe it! I had some tea and toast but by 10ish i started to feel the tiniest bit sore so I took 2 paracetamol which has warded off any pain. At 10:30 I took a tepid shower (no soap!) and did my first wee of the day in the shower (a little gross I know but i felt as the first wee is always the strongest of the day this would be the most hygienic - wound wise, that is!) I dabbed dry with a fresh towel and am now lying in bed like a lady of luxury with a cold pack between my legs. So far, so good! A little uncomfortable but I certainly wouldnt use the word pain to describe anything (so far).

The only uncomfortable area is at the bottom left side - it seems that my outer labia is stitched to my inner labia in this small section. Strange? Can anyone tell me whether they have theirs is the same?

Day 2

So I woke up today with lots of itchiness! I was a little worried because when i went to the toilet there appeared to be some brownish discharge and i couldnt tell whether this was just normal discharge that had been mixed with the blood from the wound, or whether it had been produced from the wound itself (Arrgghh!)

I decided to have a shower, get back into bed and put the ice pack on it for a while - this feels like instant relief. I have decided not to wear any pants today so I can let the wound 'breath' (freeeedom!)

Currently a little sore, but still wouldn't describe it as pain. I will take 2 paracetamol with my tea :) Nothing like a good cuppa tea to get you sorted, eh ladies?!

Day 3 -5

So day 3 - 5 have been pretty much the same. Still no pain, no more than a slight twinge and soreness here and there. However, I think it's really important to note that I still do not feel anywhere near 'recovered' enough to resume normal activity. Movement is uncomfortable and I live in fear of ripping the stitches. My surgeon advised me to book 4-5 days off work... I am SO glad I booked an extra 3 days off on top of what was recommended because I still cant sit upright on a hard surface or walk like a normal person. My incisions still feel very tight and i have a small amount of bleeding (spotting) quite alot of the time - does anyone know whether this is normal for day 5, or whether the incisions should be scabbed up or should they be starting to seal by this point?

No pictures because there is no change to the appearance.

Cabin fever is setting in....

Day 7 Post-op

I have uploaded a photo so you can see how my healing is going. The bruising is finally going down and the swelling has also reduced. I took the photo after I had a shower so it's a little deceiving as I am still actually bleeding a little from the lip on the right and it always ends up looking a little scabby/bloody and horrible again a couple of hours after showering.

The labia on the left side in the picture is still a little larger than the other side and I can feel the edge of it against my knickers when I am walking with underwear on - however, it is no where near as bad as before the operation. I am hoping it reduces in size a little as the swelling decreases further. I also think that side looks like its waving as its curling upward (it didnt do this before). I don't want to have labia that look like they are waving "Hii!" at people (not that i am going to show people!) 'Welcoming' labia wasn't on my wish list!! I hope this relaxes a little in time.

Today is the first day I have started to feel 'normal' (ish) again. I have been walking, cleaning and sitting upright with no discomfort or fear that I am going to put tension on the wounds/stitches.

On the negative side I think I may have a yeast infection. I wasn't sure what to do because I didnt want to put cream anywhere near the wounds, so I went to the pharmacy and explained my issue. The man gave me a single oral pill to take instead of cream so I am hoping this'll do the job!

Day 14

I had my post-op follow up today. One side has healed wonderfully, however the other side is not looking so dandy. I haven't been updating my post recently because I was feeling a little down about my healing. I have had a yeast infection for around a week now that, despite taking a medication, has just seemed to worsen. This has caused the swelling to remain on one side. This troublesome side has been rubbing on my underwear due to the extra swelling which has, in turn, caused irritation to the wound. I had to put wads of cotton wool in my knickers to enable me to get through the day - although this allowed some relief from rubbing, it was not good for the yeast infection.

My surgeon told me that I had been looking after the area well and keeping it clean. He told me the yeast infection has irritated the wound on one side. He has prescribed me cream and medication and has also given me a sort of sticky gauze to apply to the problem area to help protect it and allow it heal (i have included a picture of it on).

When I first saw my hoohoo after my operation I thought that he had accidently stiched my labia minora to my labia majora at a couple of points. He explained that this is done purposefully as a sort of 'anchor' stitch to reduce swelling. I thought this may be useful to share in case anyone else has the same technique and also thought they had been stitched together by mistake!

I feel I should let everyone know that when they say "people heal at different speeds" they really are not kidding! WillowXO, another reviewer on this site (i'm sure she wont mind me making a reference to her) had our surgeries on the same day, by the same surgeon. The only difference is that she had the trimming method and I had De-epithelialization method (with minor trimming at the top of one edge to remove a wing tip - the problem zone). As you will see from her pictures, she has healed perfectly, whereas I seem to be taking much longer. At two weeks she is allowed to take baths and go to the gym, however I have been advised not to do this yet because I am not as far along in recovery (despite having the surgery on the same day!). So please be aware of this and keep it in mind when thinking about your recovery times, everybody is different :) x

Day 17 - finally starting to look a little happier :)

My hoohoo is starting to look a little healthier, it's still quite swollen on one lip and a little sore to touch but its starting to look like a vagina again :) - hooray!

3 weeks, 3 days

Feeling good and healing happy :) I bought some coconut oil to help with healing (as recommended by many ladies on here) its really helping and also makes my hoohoo smell like a tropical island!

Nearly 5 weeks

Everything is on the mend. I have my 6 week post-op at the end of the week and I am hoping he will remove the last of the stitches because they are getting a little pully! Some days I feel ever so slightly disappointed with some bits and other days I love it to pieces. The only part which I am not 100% happy with is that the edges dont look smooth at all, sometimes I think they look like they've been snipped with zigzag scissors! But then I think back to how large they were before and the discomfort they caused me and I feel happy I did it again. My photo is taken from below as i stand to show you that I now have nothing peeking out, which ='s no rubbing on pants!
The only down side is that I think I still have a slight yeast infection even after taking a course of medicine. Really stange as I have only had it once before and it only lasted a couple of days!

3 months later...

I haven't paid this site a visit in a couple of months. I needed a break from obsessing over my lady bits, I was starting to become my own worst critic.

So, it's been 3 months since I had my surgery and I am still a little sensitive down there. The days of wiping after I pee are all but a distance memory... I now dab. Dab, dab, dab. It is not painful, just sensitive. Still has that very 'new' feeling I guess - delicate.

I have decided to share some up close and personal pictures with you. It is very tempting to take advantages of angles and lighting to help make her look pretty, but I feel it's important to share my real pictures - the good, the bad and the ugly.

I still have a love/hate relationship with her. Some days I love my new bits, but at other times we break up and don't talk to each other for a few days.

I think it's important to remember that surgeons aren't magicians, but they can work with what they are given to give you the best results possible. It's flesh, not paper, so it was silly of me to think it was as simple as trimming a bit off here and a bit off there, and hey presto - Barbie vagina.

Overall, I am happy with my new lady bits. She no longer causes me discomfort. I just have to remember to manage my expectations, because perfection is not an achievable reality.

Apologies if the close ups offend the eye. I just want to share some honest photos with you - no sugar coating here.

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Name not provided

Will share if I gain permission gynocologist

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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