Ever since the age of 13 or 14 I've had issues...
Ever since the age of 13 or 14 I've had issues with my protruding labia minora. I've always been self conscious and embarrassed about wearing bikinis, getting changed in front of people, getting intimate with guys, I won't have sex with the lights on, I've never even had a Brazilian wax. Sex is painful, my labia get pulled and tugged during sex and I can be sore for days afterwards, I hate guys "going down" on me, I also have issues with my labia rubbing on clothing, especially jeans and pretty lacey undies. I just want to feel normal for once and feel comfortable with my lady-parts!
I havn't told anyone about my issues with my labia, and that I have been considering getting surgery, not even my mum knows and I'm so close with my mum! I just want to keep it private and don't want anyone to know, as it's a very personal issue for me.
I had a consultation today with the nicest, most professional sergeon ever. From the moment I walked in I felt at ease and relaxed, all the staff were lovely.
When I walked in I was greeted by their lovely receptionist. I filled out some paperwork (name, address, phone number, medicare card number, why I'm having this procedure etc). I then read a journal that was sitting on the coffee table, where her patients shared their labiaplasty experiences. They spoke about how having large labia has affected their life, how their procedure went, and how they're doing now; much like the reviews here on RealSelf. It was so comforting to read these girls stories and hear such positive feedback about my surgeon.
In the consultation, she asked me what the main issues that I want addressed. Spoke about the procedure, she is doing the trim method. She went through aftercare instructions and recovery time. She then took me into another room, told me to strip off my bottom half, took a few photos; standing up and lying down with my legs spread.
I wanted to have it under local anaesthetic but she doesn't do it under local, so it will be done under General Anaesthetic. The reason I wanted local is so that I could drive myself home on the day and didn't have to worry about having someone pick me up. She discussed the option of staying in overnight and catching a taxi home, which I certainly will be doing.
She took a few photos. Then asked me, "When you look at these pictures, what don't you like?" We also discussed how much I'd like taken off.
I went in with a date in mind, the only date that is possible for me as I'm doing it while my parents are overseas and I need enough time to recover before I go on my nursing placement (I'm a student nurse). I got my desired date, I'm booked in for the end of August! I got the last spot for that day! If I'd had my consultation in a few days or a few weeks time it my not have been available. It was meant to be!
The surgery is going to cost $5000, which includes the surgeons fee and anaesthetist fee. I have private health insurance so I don't have any hospital fees to pay.
It cannot some soon enough, I'm so thrilled that this is finally going to happen. I can't wait!
The day is almost here!
I'm having my labiaplasty in 5 days,
I can't wait! But at the same time I'm so nervous. The things running through my head are. What if she doesn't cut enough off? What if she cuts too much off? What if I'm not happy with the results? Will I be okay to go back to uni 6 days post op?
I had decided that I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was having this surgery. I even set up a PO box so that my family wouldn't see letters coming in the mail from medicare and private health insurance (they sometimes read my mail). I've been feeling a little isolated lately, like i wanted to tell someone. I plucked up the courage to tell one of my good male friends (an ex friend with benefits). And he was okay with it. He told me that there is nothing wrong with the way that I look down there but if having this surgery will make me happy then he is happy for me. It's such a relief to know that there's some one I can talk to.
Here's a few more before photos!
The day of surgery
I had my labiaplasty done yesterday. The whole experience has been great so far, not as bad as I thought it would be. I arrived at the hospital 40 minutes early and was then called upstairs and shown to my bed. I was asked to get changed then filled out my meals. The nurse asked a series of health-related questions and took my pre-op obs. Shortly after, they started wheeling me into theatre. The nerves really started to kick in when I said goodbye to my friend and got in the lift.
They put my bed in a bay just outside the theatre and then the anesthetic nurse came and spoke to me, followed by my surgeon and my anesthetist. My surgeon asked me to remind her how I want to look and said to be specific. Then the anesthetist put the cannula in my arm (which has been the most painful part so far because it was a pretty big needle. But I know it will all be worth it in the end!
Not long after that, they wheeled me into the theatre and I had to move myself over to the (cold) operating table which was a little painful because I had to use my arms to move myself over, so the arm that I had the cannula in was sore.
They got me ready, a nurse put some electrodes on my chest for the ECG an undid my gown and asked me to lift my bottom (obviously to make it easier for them to get access the the area when i was under the GA.) The anesthetist asked me what my favorite music in the world was and put Ed Sheeran for me on which was lovely. By this stage I was shaking because I was so nervous. He then injected some IV antibiotics and some pain relief (morphine and fentanyl), and then sent me off to sleep with some Propofol, I asked him what he was giving me because I was interested to know because I'm a Student Nurse.
I then remember waking up in recovery to the nurse saying, "it's okay you're just waking up from the anaesthetic" then she pulled a breathing tube out of my mouth. I just had to sit up and have a look at my new hoo-haa! But do you blame me for wanting to look? Haha. I didn't really manage to get much of a look, there was a pad and an ice pack there. The nurses told me to sit back and that I could have a look later. I woke up in no pain and the area was extremely numb from the local anaesthetic, I couldn't even feel the ice pack there. I was still quite drowsy but woke up fully in under 10 mins and was feeling great and pretty much back to normal.
After monitoring my obs for a little while, they wheeled me into my room. And I called my friend who was waiting in his car and he came up to see me and stayed with me for like 4 hours, which was nice to have some company. I got up to go to the toilet for the first time and there was a fair amount of blood where my bottom was that had leaked through all my sheets. I went and did a wee for the first time, which I was nervous about but it wasn't bad at all because I was still very numb for hours after the procedure. About 4 or 5 hours post-op is when I started to feel the pain. The ice packs really helped though and I was on panadol and could ask for some endone if needed.
The next time I went to go to the toilet, the pad with the ice pack was stuck to me because the blood had dried onto the pad. I asked the nurse for some saline (salty water) to squirt down there to loosen it which helped every time I went to the toilet and when my ice pack needed changing. I've also been squirting myself with it after I pee to clean the area and it was very soothing.
I had the most amazing dinner (restaurant quality), which was 4 courses!
And by about 9pm I'd had 4.7 litres of fluid (including 1 litre in surgery) because I was so thirsty!! All the nursing staff have been so lovely and caring. They also said that I'm not as swollen and bruised as most labiaplastys that they see, which is great.
I'm sorry for writing so much and rambling haha
Day 1 post-op, feeling good.
Day 1 post op- I didn't sleep very well in hospital last night. Maybe only 2 hours: I just didn't feel tired. I walked a couple of laps of the ward during the night because I was feeling restless. My sergeon came in to hospital to see me this morning to see how I was going and to remind me to take it easy for the next 6 days until my post-op appointment, and to keep on the ice packs and twice daily saltwater baths. The ice packs on the area have really helped and have been really soothing. I've been taking panadol regularly and endone occasionally. The pain has been quite minimal so far. I've spend today mostly relaxing. The worst part is every time I need to change the ice packs (which I've covered in paper towel) or go to they toilet, the paper towel gets stuck to my labia from the blood. Squirting the saline on helps. This morning I had a sitz bath with half a cup of salt. I used a little basin that I sat in, in front of the TV for half an hour. It felt amazing and was so soothing. My brother gets home from work very soon (he doesn't know), so I have a fresh ice pack sitting in my undies and I'm going to try and walk as normal as I can. If he notices that I'm walking funny I'll tell him that I went to the gym and my legs and bum are sore! Here's some photos from today (the day after surgery)
Day 2 post op
The pain hasn't been bad at all. recovery isn't even half as bad as I thought it would be! I managed to do some housework today, I did a load of washing and hung it up inside, and swept and mopped the floors. I went out today just to the post office, I think I was walking normal enough for no one to notice. I'm pretty exhausted now though.
Not sure whether I'm happy with the results yet, only time will tell.
As you can see, my clit is really swollen!
Day 3 and 4
Day 3- today was okay, didn't do very much. My brother was around too much so it was hard to keep up with changing my ice packs as frequently as I like to. At one stage I was sitting there for ages with warm peas on my hoo-haa (because they defrosted!). So because of not being able to change my ice packs, the pain was a little bit worse.
Day 4- WORST day so far!
I woke up feeling horrible and in pain. I got up to pee, sat on the toilet and started feeling really dizzy and light-headed, and really hot and sweaty. I felt like I was going to faint. So I got off the toilet and lied on the floor. I was thinking OMG what do I do? Do I need to call an ambulance? Should I call my surgeon? Should I go to my GP? Do I have an infection?
When I was feeling well enough, I got up and went looking for a thermometer so I could take my temperature to see if I had a fever. Before I could find one, I felt really unwell again like I was going to pass out. So I layed on the floor again. Then I started feeling really cold!
I started feeling a lot better later, after I'd had something to eat and drink. I think I may have just been really dehydrated? I don't know
Today the pain has been the same as previous days. Ranging from 1-5 out of 10. The worst pain being when the paper towel I wrap my ice packs in gets stuck to my labia. The swelling on the left side is much worse than the right side, the left side is also more painful. The right side is all nicely tucked in below my labia majora, i just hope the swelling goes away on my left side and becomes just as small as the right side. I have a lump on both sides of my minora near the entrance to my vagina which I don't like and am a little bit concerned they may not go away. Today I went shopping for about an hour and a half, which I managed quite well. I had a small ice pack in my undies while shopping which helped a lot. By the time I was finished shopping, I was exhausted, starting to get sore and my ice pack had melted and warmed up- I wanted nothing more than to go home and go to sleep! I go back to uni tomorrow for the first time since surgery, wish me luck! I'm not looking forward to sitting in a hard chair for a couple of hours!
Day 6 post-op
I feel quite swollen today because I had a busy day.
I took the train to uni. I had to stand on the train for 40 minutes because there were no seats, which was not fun! I had a 2 hour uni class, sitting upright on a hard chair was quite uncomfortable but I really didn't want to miss any uni. Then I had my post-op appointment. My surgeon said that I'm healing very well and ahead of schedule; which was comforting for me to hear. She said that it will change a lot between now and the next couple of weeks and months, gradually the swelling will go down, the skin will smooth out and shrink. She also said to stop looking at it all the time! Haha.
I also popped into work today to drop something off. So I had a fairly busy day, I left the house this morning at 8am and got back home at around 3.30pm. Had a nap and then cooked dinner and did housework and cleaning until 8pm. It was nice to be able to have my nightly salt-water bath and relax after that busy day.
Today my pain level went up to about 4-5 at some stages throughout the day. The pain nad swelling has been worse today than other days because I was on my feet a lot today and wasn't really diligent with icepacks and pain medication
Day 7 post-op
I've woken up in pain and bleeding this morning but looking a little different and less swollen
I've been taking it easy today, spent most of the day in bed. I'm still keeping up twice daily saltwater baths an still applying ice but not as much anymore. The dreaded itching everyone talks about has begun!
Another lazy day in bed today. The pain isn't as bad anymore. I've pretty much stopped taking the stronger pain killers, now I'm just on panadol and ibuprofen.
I can't stop looking at it! Someone convince me to stop looking haha. I'm looking at it several times a day and I'm driving myself mental!
I'm a little worried about the opening in my incision to the right of my clit (left side in the photos). I think it's about 1cm long and I'm worried that it's not going to heal nicely! Has anyone else had something similar? Did it go away on its own? Should I be worried?
Day 13 post op
Everything has been good, still gradually getting better. Just the occasional pinch of pain. I'm mostly back to normal now, walking normally without any discomfort and I've done two 8 hour working days in the last couple of days which I've managed well. Not really icing at all in the last few days and I've started having a bath once a day instead of twice a day. I've been using pawpaw ointment morning and night which seems to be helping I think. I'm stilI dabbing after I go to the toilet. I really miss being able to wipe. I made the mistake of trying to wipe today when I was at work, OUCH. I also miss being able to wash properly down there. I've felt a bit smelly the last couple of days (sorry, bit TMI). So i've been trying to gently wash with shower gel (not sure if i should be at this stage?)
I havn't been looking at it as much as I was before. I'm still undecided whether I like it or not. I don't even know where my clit is anymore. The area is just so swollen and mangled, it's unrecognisable.
One month post op
I'm still unsure about my results, today is one of those days where I don't like it. It's everywhere, my clit area looks so messy. My left side is still larger than my right and sticks out my majora. My clitoral hood is like lop-sided
5 and a half weeks post-op
I'm still unsure. I'm considering a revision. I'm just afraid that it will turn out worse than it is already. I don't know.
But I do feel much more confident. It's nice not to have my labia minora hanging out. I don't have to worry about it rubbing on my clothing or having to re-adjust my underwear. I wore bikinis for the first time since surgery yesterday, and finally I didn't feel like everyone was looking at my bulge
6 week post-op follow up and photo
Sorry for the delayed upload, I should have uploaded this months ago.
This photo was taken by my surgeon at my 6 week follow up.
At my 6 week follow up, we discussed there were a few things that I wasn't too sure about and was considering having a revision to fix those areas. We agreed that we would meet 6 months post op to see how i felt then and talk about it. I have decided that this meeting is not necessary, I am happy with the results i have now, yes there are a few imperfections but I've decided they are not really bothering me right now and I can live with it just the way it is, but may consider a revision later down the track. My surgeon said that the offer for a revision is there until she retires, (which is good to know!)
Overall, the procedure was definately worth it! :)
My quality of life is so much better than before the surgery. I feel so much more feminine now.
Sex is heaps better, no more pulling and tugging of my labia minora and being sore for days afterwards.
I no longer have my labia minora constantly rubbing on my underwear and causing discomfort.
Before surgery, how much I hated my labia minora was constantly on my mind, several times a day. Now it's something I don't have to worry about!
I feel so much better about myself!