Girls as young as nine are reportedly seeking vagina surgery due to insecurities.
According to leading experts, children are increasingly seeking surgery in a bid to solve their insecurities. These insecurities are believed to stem from pornography, social media and the desire to “look like a Barbie.”
Young girls are now seeking labiaplasty, which involves surgery to shorten or reshape the lips of the vagina.
Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire show, Dr Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, said, “Girls will sometimes come out with comments like, ‘I just hate it, I just want it removed,’ and for a girl to feel that way about any part of her body – especially a part that’s intimate – is very upsetting.”
“Over the last few years where I might have seen one or two patients every few months, I am now seeing patients every week.”
“Typically they are mid-adolescents, they’d be 14 or 15, but I have seen girls who are young – the youngest girl I have seen is nine.”
“I find it very worrying that we are normalising cosmetic surgery on the genital area.”
Crouch was also concerned that GPs were referring young girls who did not need surgery. Between 2015 and 2016, over 200 girls under 18 had labiaplasty on the NHS, while over 150 girls under 15 also had the surgery.
One girl told the show that she had considered having the surgery at 14. She said, “I guess I just picked up from somewhere that it wasn’t neat enough, or tidy enough, and I think I wanted it to be smaller.”
“Sometimes people around me were watching porn and stuff and I just had this idea that it should be symmetrical and not sticking out, I thought that’s what everyone else looked like.”
Currently, doctors can only refer patients for labiaplasty if they are experiencing physical pain or emotion distress. They cannot refer them for surgery for cosmetic reasons.
Paquita de Zulueta, a GP with more than 30 years experience believes that education is the key, rather than surgery. Speaking to the BBC, she said, “I’m seeing young girls around 11, 12, 13 thinking there’s something wrong with their vulva – that they’re the wrong shape, the wrong size, and really expressing almost disgust.”
She went on to explain that she believes the cause of these insecurities is due to pornography and social media. She said, “I think what is really distressing and is the disgust, I remember a girl pointing at her genitalia and her nose wrinkling in disgust and saying ‘what’s this?”
“There really doesn’t seem to be a knowledge now of what one should look like, there seems to be a very narrow spectrum of what is acceptable.”
“That the inner lips should be invisible, a bit like a Barbie doll, but the reality is there is a great variation in the size of the inner lips and some of them may protrude.”
“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.”
“I find it hard to believe there are 150 girls with a medical abnormality which means they needed an operation on their labia.”
She concluded, “The labia is normal, healthy, erogenous tissue.”
“Why on earth should one be removing it?”