What Is Vaginal Rejuvenation? The FDA Warns It May Be Unsafe, So Here’s What You Need To Know

Despite being a woman and reading up on so many things related to the female anatomy, there’s still a lot on the subject of lady parts that I don’t know about. For instance, what is vaginal rejuvenation, and why does the mere mention of this medical term make me want to cross my legs? Personally, I was always under the impression that "beauty" procedures and products were exclusively for your outward aesthetic, but apparently there are things like surgeries and at-home methods to “rejuvenate,” or restore your vagina to a more “youthful” state. Basically, what started out as a legitimate treatment for serious ailments, like cancerous cells around the cervix or genital warts, is now being misused as a means to “beautify” the vagina, and as far as the FDA is concerned, this needs to stop ASAP.

It’s heartbreaking when you really think about just how demanding the societal pressure for women to be the so-called definition of “perfect” has become. Now, possibly more than ever, body positivity needs to be at the forefront of every conversation about the female body, because that societal pressure doesn't just involve trends that suggest you plump up your lips with fillers or cinch your body with a waist trainer. According to Dr. Sherry Ross, an award-winning celebrity OB/GYN, women’s health expert, and author of the book, She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period, vaginal rejuvenation is yet another "beauty" trend that's just plain unnecessary.

So what exactly goes into vaginal rejuvenation, and are there any actual benefits to doing it?

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In light of the FDA’s warning against vaginal rejuvenation as a cosmetic procedure, CNN reports that once upon a time, vaginal rejuvenation was cleared by the FDA so that gynecologists could use these treatments to help women experiencing certain health issues, like “abnormal and pre-cancerous vaginal and cervical tissue, as well as genital warts,” according to the news outlet.

These days, however, vaginal rejuvenation is considered, more or less, a “beauty” treatment to help women feel more confident. Institutions like the Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center advertise vaginal rejuvenation as something to consider if you’re looking to “bring back your confidence, romance, and special closeness with your partner,” or, even more concerning, to “restore the youthful appearance and sleek contours of your body” in order to “look perfect in those swimsuit bottoms.” Elite Daily has reached out to the Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center for further comment, but did not hear back before time of publication.

According to OB/GYN Dr. Sherry Ross, "doctors were not [always] tempted to take part in a lot of smoke and mirrors when it came to medical procedures [like vaginal rejuvenation], but the tide has turned and now this term of false advertising has ramped up." She tells Elite Daily over email, "This has become deceptive and misleading medical marketing at its finest." Now, Ross adds, women go through with vaginal rejuvenation procedures to plump their labia, remove skin discoloration, improve elasticity, make the entrance to the vagina tighter, and even to reshape and resize the shape of their labia. In other words, these types of establishments and product developers are capitalizing on the pressure for a woman's entire body — private parts and all — to look a certain way in order to help them feel more "confident."

As of July 30, 2018, the FDA is warning against vaginal rejuvenation because of the potentially dangerous side effects.

On Monday, the FDA issued a statement to address its concerns in regards to medical professionals using "energy-based devices," such as radiofrequency or laser products, to "perform vaginal 'rejuvenation,' cosmetic vaginal procedures, or non-surgical vaginal procedures to treat symptoms related to menopause, urinary incontinence, or sexual function." The agency states that these treatments have only "received FDA clearance for general gynecologic tool indications, including, but not limited to, the destruction of abnormal or pre-cancerous cervical or vaginal tissue and condylomas (genital warts)." The statement also says, "the safety and effectiveness of energy-based medical devices to perform these procedures has not been established," which basically means there's very little, if any evidence to support the claim that vaginal rejuvenation is a) safe, and/or b) effective.

According to Ross, the potential dangers of vaginal rejuvenation include things like "vaginal scarring, painful intercourse, infections, and vaginal burns," so the procedure really isn't worth the risk. The fact of the matter is, your vagina is going to age, just like the rest of your body. However, if you're really concerned about the state of your vagina — for health reasons, or otherwise — the best thing you can do is speak to your own doctor about what your options are.

And, in the meantime, there are more natural solutions to consider. "The skin of the vagina is as sensitive as the skin on the face," Ross tells Elite Daily, so the best way to keep things feeling fresh and healthy down there, she says, is to keep the area hydrated and clean by using all-natural feminine washes (my personal favorite is DeoDoc because it naturally balances your pH levels) and wipes (Ross suggests Summer Eve's Cleansing Cloths). Following the basic rules of hygiene should suffice — no "rejuvenation" needed.