The natural alternatives to vaginal tightening as stars like Nicola McLean fork out £4k

Recently Nicola McLean documented her decision to spend £4k on vaginal tightening treatment.

The 40 year old said that she opted for the vaginoplasty it to improve her incontinence but that it also improved her sex life too.

Nicola McLean isn’t the only one turning to treatment in the intimate area, Gemma Collins, 40, also spoke out about having work done down there, as have Kim Kardashian, 41, and Danielle Lloyd, 38.

And according to the expert OK! exclusively quizzes about this – there’s no need to resort to surgery for vaginal tightening.

"A vaginoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is designed to construct, tighten or repair a vagina, and is also known as a Posterior Colporrhaphy," explains Intimate health doctor, Dr Shirin Lakhani.

"It’s often used to rebuild the vagina following trauma for example from childbirth or ageing. But is also used for women who need reconstruction after radiation or excision to treat cancer, transgender individuals undergoing gender affirmation surgery, women with congenital abnormalities affecting the development of the vagina. It’s an extremely prevalent surgery even though it’s something that is rarely talked about.

"Nowadays a surgical vaginoplasty is a group of cosmetic surgeries that are often marketed as vaginal rejuvenation or even called ‘designer vagina’ procedures," she adds. "However a traditional vaginoplasty can involve removing extra skin and using stitches to secure loose tissue, reducing the size of the vagina opening, or when used as part of gender affirmation surgery the male external genitalia are partially removed and reconfigured."

Recovery from these procedures can take weeks or months. Like every surgical procedure, it carries risks, including those related to bleeding, infection and scarring.

Dr Shirin Lakhani doesn’t perform cosmetic surgery on the vagina, she does, however, advocate the huge benefits of a range of non-surgical procedures and even things you can do at home!

"I am certainly seeing an increase in women looking to rejuvenate the vagina and pelvic floor areas with non-surgical alternatives to a traditional vaginoplasty," explains Dr Shirin Lakhani.

"Fortunately there are a number of ways that women can do this, both in clinic and at home.

"In clinic there are two main options – Ultra Femme 360. This is a probe-like device which is inserted into the vaginal canal and stimulates collagen to tighten the vaginal canal. The treatment protocol is 3 x 8 minute treatments and results can be noticed immediately after one treatment.

"The other effective in–clinic option is Emsella -This treatment relies on HIFEM technology to build the muscles within the pelvic floor. It gives the equivalent of 11.4K kegel exercises in half an hour and we recommend two treatments a week for three weeks."

One of the reasons that people turn to vaginal rejuvenation procedures is to treat incontinence. However, Dr Shirin Lakhani suggests that there are also a number of things that can be done to improve the health of your pelvic floor, and therefore reduce incontinence, at home, including:

Do Kegel exercises

"This involves laying or sitting in a comfortable position and then breathing in and then on the out breath contract your pelvic floor muscles for 3-6 seconds whilst breathing out. When you breathe in again release the contraction. Then relax all the muscles completely and repeat. Do this about ten times per session," she explains.

"Do two to three sessions of Kegel exercises a day to get the best results. As little as five minutes of pelvic floor exercise a day can significantly reduce incontinence or even make it go away and it’s never too late to get started, no matter what your age."

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Look at your diet

"Diet can affect the health of your pelvic floor. Not eating enough fruit and vegetables or drinking enough water can result in constipation that can negatively impact the pelvic floor. I would advise eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre in order to maintain a healthy digestive system and bowel, thus reducing the strain on the pelvic floor," says Dr Shirin Lakhani.

Cut back on caffeine and alcohol

"Similarly too much caffeine and alcohol can also have a negative effect so it’s advisable to cut back on these.

"I’m a strong advocate of the non-surgical alternatives to so-called 'designer vaginas,'" adds Dr Shirin Lakhani. "However for anyone who does for whatever reason feel the need to go down the surgery route it’s vital to check that their surgeon is firstly qualified, experienced and registered on the British Association of Plastic Surgeons.

"Then it’s useful to check that they’ve had a lot of experience carrying out that specific surgery. It’s always a good idea to meet them in person first of all before committing to anything and not to be swayed by social media recommendations or celebrity endorsements.

"Ultimately, intimate rejuvenation treatments can be safe and highly effective but it is vital that patients remember that all vulvas are different and, unless symptoms are impacting the quality of their day to day life, there is no need to change the appearance of their vulva.

"We're in an age now where we don't have to put up with symptoms. Women shouldn’t be embarrassed to say they want sexual pleasure or that they want treatment for intimate health concerns, and safe non-surgical treatment of incontinence or atrophy can be absolutely life changing."

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