By: 7 January 2013

A leading London gynaecologist has reported seeing a significant rise over the last three years in the numbers of women seeking corrective surgery to improve the appearance of their labia and also their perineum.

Mr Nicholas H Morris MBBS FRCOG, a consultant at the Portland Hospital and the Wellington Hospital in London, and a member of the team at reports a significant rise in demand for labiaplasty and perineal surgery.

The Labiaplasty procedure involves altering and reshaping the ‘labia’ vaginal skin so that the genitalia not only take on a ‘tidier’ and more even shape and appearance but also are more comfortable. The operation will reduce the clothing discomfort experienced in the genital areas by some women.

Mr Morris attributes the rise in the number of labiaplasty operations to a number of very real concerns of UK women today.

“One of the main underlying causes for the increase in this type of surgery is much greater awareness of their genital anatomy among women today,” said Mr Morris.

“The reasons women give for wanting a labiaplasty operation vary a great deal. It could be to improve a woman’s self-esteem. It may be because they are embarrassed or conscious about the appearance of their genitalia particularly if there have been relationship issues. They may have been experiencing problems since puberty or they may want to relieve the discomfort caused by clothing in that area. The fashion for pubic hair shaving and even the desire among some younger people to have genitals like those on the pornography that their partner reads are also reasons that some women give for wanting the surgery,” said Mr Morris. “I have to be scrupulously honest and for some women it is a great disappointment to be told that they have normal labia and will not benefit from surgery.”

Mr Morris also shed light on the social demographics of women seeking Labioplasty.

“The vast majority are Caucasian and around 20 percent of women wanting this procedure have undergone some kind of cosmetic surgery in the past. In terms of profession and interests, dancers, sportswomen and horse riders are often interested in this type of operation,” said Mr Morris.

While Mr Morris and the team at understand and are sympathetic to women’s reasons for wanting the operation, the approach is collaborative.

“Of course it’s not simply a case of me operating because a woman says ‘take it all away please’. I actually collaborate closely with a psychiatrist and a psychosexual therapist. I believe that a psychological and sensitive approach is essential, as is the need to rule out body dysmorphia, and self-harm. It’s also about being honest about normality and helping some patients to deal with their thoughts and feelings about their bodies.”