Katie* shares her story about her labiaplasty experience at Vie Institute on the Sunshine Coast.
When I reached puberty at around 12 years old I noticed that my labia minora protruded quite significantly and that it didn’t look quite ‘normal’. At the time the appearance didn’t really bother me; it wasn’t until I started experiencing discomfort such as chafing, or when wearing particular types of clothing (such as tight jeans) or participating in different forms of exercise (such as bike riding) that I started to take particular notice of the discomfort that it caused. Due to embarrassment I didn’t tell anyone about the discomfort I was feeling until I was about 16. When I first told my mother she didn’t really understand what I was talking about and said something along the lines of, ‘It can’t be that bad’. This reaction only caused further embarrassment and made me feel even more abnormal so again I didn’t talk to anybody about my problem for several years. Eventually at about 19 years old my younger sister and I were talking and discovered that we both shared the same problem. We were both unsure of what the treatment options were for large labia minora so the first place we looked for information was the internet – probably the worst idea we had! After reading a myriad of painful stories regarding surgery options from around the world my sister and I abandoned the idea of surgery for several months, however, we finally decided to take the first step of visiting our local GP to get more accurate information. After a brief assessment from our GP we were each given a referral for a consultation at the Vie Institute for labiaplasty surgery.
My sister and I had a joint consultation at the Vie Institute where detailed information regarding the labiaplasty procedure, possible problems, post-operative care and our expectations of the procedure were discussed. After receiving all of this information my sister and I both made the informed decision that surgery was the best option for us.
So, in December last year my sister and I both underwent the procedure on the same day and spent the next week recovering together. The procedure was approximately one hour in duration and we were both back at home within a few hours following the procedure. The pain and discomfort over the next week was minimal as the after-care ointments and pain medication were quite effective. Within six days we were both back at work and doing our usual daily activities.
It has now been approximately four months since we underwent the labiaplasty procedure and both my sister and I are extremely happy with the results – we were both quite shocked when we saw the pre-operative photos in comparison to how we look now. There is no longer any discomfort when I exercise and I can wear all types of clothing (even tight denim jeans!). Even after only four months the scarring is minimal and will only improve with time. Even though the thought of any type of surgery was quite daunting for the both of us, we both agree that we would go through it again – we were reassured and clearly informed throughout the whole process, the after-care instructions were clear and simple, and we always knew that help was only a phone-call away (not that it was ever needed!). All of the staff at the Vie Institute were friendly and professional, abating any sense of embarrassment that I used to feel.