Oz women with ‘designer vaginas’ getting psychiatric help

Melbourne: It was recently revealed that demands for `designer vaginas` – cosmetic surgery to enhance the look of women’s genitals – have tripled in Australia.

Now the latest news is that women as young as 18 are being referred for psychiatric help as cosmetic surgery to enhance the look of their genitals fails to make them feel better about their bodies.

The head of psychiatry at St Vincent`s Hospital said three women had been referred to its body dysmorphia clinic this year after undergoing labioplasty surgery, reports The Age.

One feels permanently ``disfigured``, has not had sex for three years and has become so anxious about the way her genitals look she is on medication.

Professor David Castle wants mandatory psychological screening for all women seeking vaginal ``rejuvenation`` procedures, to detect those with underlying mental health issues such as body dysmorphic disorder, a condition that gives sufferers a distorted view of normal body parts.

``The girl who I saw recently hasn`t had a physical relationship since she had the surgery and is very distressed about it. She has pain, she`s tense and anxious and she spends half her life checking herself in the mirror, constantly agonising about the whole thing and wishing she hadn`t had the procedure Professor Castle said.

“At the same time she`s thinking maybe I should have another surgery because they`re [labia] still too long,” he said.

The woman was referred to the clinic by a gynaecologist who was concerned for her welfare when she wanted a second labioplasty operation.

However, Professor Castle said some medical specialists were not so scrupulous and would operate repeatedly on patients who should not go under the knife.

``I`ve seen girls having these operations at 18. Then they go back because they want another procedure and finally the gynaecologist or surgeon says maybe this isn``t quite right,```` he said

He said the young women he treated often felt pressured into surgery because they feared men would not find them attractive if their labia did not conform to a standard seen in pornography, in which the labia are often airbrushed out.

Professor Castle has called for legislation requiring makers of pornography to label all images that have been airbrushed, in a bid to give young women more realistic expectations of their bodies.

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