There’s Been A Huge Rise In Young Girls Wanting Vagina Plastic Surgery

Girls as young as nine years old have has surgery to reshape their labia, and it's so important to recognise how and why this is happening.

There's Been A Huge Rise In Young Girls Wanting Vagina Plastic Surgery

by Jazmin Kopotsha |
Published on

There has been at least one point in all of our lives when we’ve peered down at our vaginas and wondered whether they’re meant to look like that. Spoiler alert: chill. More often than not, they are. But it’s an insecurity that many of us have come into contact with before realising that actually, not every woman’s down below bits are meant to look like the bits of the women in porn. Or like anyone else’s for that matter.

But what’s really troubling is that girls as young as nine years old are having surgery to change its appearance, and it’s so, SO important that we do something to recognise why and how this is happening.

More than 200 girls under the age of 18 had labiaplasty (where the vagina lips are reshaped) on the NHS in 2015-16, reports the BBC. More than 150 of those girls were younger than 15 years old despite the fact that the NHS advises that the surgery shouldn’t be carried out on women below the age of 18.

So, what’s going on? There are really rare cases where the operation might be needed if there is a medical abnormality but sadly, it looks like an increasing number of young girls are desperate to surgically alter the way their genitalia because they ‘just hate it’. Dr Naomi Crouch, an adolescent gynaecologist who chairs the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show that, in her years of work, she hasn’t actually seen a girl who needs the operation. ‘And for a girl to feel that way about any part of her body – especially a part that’s intimate – is very upsetting’, she said.

Experts like GP Paquita de Zulueta blame the unrealistic images young girls are exposed to through pornography and social media. ‘There isn’t enough education and it should start really quite young, explaining that there is a range and that – just as we all look different in our faces – we all look different down there, and that’s OK’, she said.

It’s worrying that these procedures are happening to girls despite the age recommended by the NHS and it poses the question of how much consultation comes before agreeing to surgically alter pre-teens genitalia and where the psychological and emotional benefit lies for these girls who are clearly distressed by something that they just perhaps not all that familiar with (and will change and develop as they grow through their teens). If you’ll forgive the sweeping generalisation, that is. But let’s face it, sex education hasn’t been treated as anything like a priority in the UK for far too long – half of young people rated the sex and relationship education they received at school as ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’ last year - and it all feeds into the fact that instead of real, actual guidance on sex and anatomy, we're more likely to sooner be introduced to the unrealistic standards created by porn.

So Dr de Zulueta is completely right, education should start a lot younger than it does. Here's hoping that the legislative progress that was announced by the government earlier this year follows through.

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Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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