When Jada Pinkett Smith launched her new Facebook web series, Red Table Talk, she stated that women need “a place where we can talk about real things in a real way,” and she was quick to serve that right up. Since the show first premiered in May, the 46-year-old actress hasn’t held a single thing back, so it seems, and in her latest episode, TMI was on the table when she revealed how incredibly youthful her lady bits were feeling — and looking — after undergoing three vaginal rejuvenation procedures.
“When I tell you that I have…my yoni is like a 16-year-old, I’m not kidding…I’m talking about the outside. It looks like a little beautiful peach,” she dished to her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, in the episode which aired last Friday.
The mom-and-daughter duo make a visit to Vitality Institute of Agoura in Los Angeles, where she’d undergone the procedures, to chat with Pinkett Smith’s doctor and owner, Kelly Rainey. There, the clinic owner gives the rundown of “vaginal rejuvenation,” including what it’s meant to treat — namely, dryness, pain during intercourse, and bladder issues, which is what Pinkett Smith claims she was suffering from.
She also delves into the desired results. “[The procedure] introduces heat, which stimulates cellular turnover, which makes you feel younger again, and it gets tighter and nicer and functions like it did when we were back in our 20s.” Sounds promising, especially to women who’ve pushed out a couple of babies in their lifetime.
While Pinkett Smith might be one of the first celebs to bring the idea of vaginal rejuvenation to the forefront, she’s hardly a pioneer of the procedure. According to cosmetic surgery review site, RealSelf, vaginal rejuvenation rose by 17 percent in consumer interest from 2016 to 2017. Amanda Young, nurse practitioner of plastic surgery at NYU Langone Health, says this increase is in part due to the fact that woman are finally brave enough to talk about it with their providers.
“It used to be a source of shame and embarrassment, something women thought they had to silently put up with — almost the price of childbirth and/or perimenopausal hormonal changes,” she explains. “Now that there are multiple options, women no longer feel afraid, are stepping up, and taking control of their bodies.”
All the power to us ladies, but for those who don’t understand exactly what vaginal rejuvenation really is and why or when a woman might have a procedure done, here are the basics.
What happens to the vagina over time?
Just like any other part of your body with skin, glands, and hair follicles, the appearance of the internal and external vagina is affected by the aging process and how well you care for it. “There are known offenders, such as childbirth and menopause, which leave battle scars that can be permanent, and there’s menopause, a time when your ovaries stop producing estrogen and your female hormone reserves are depleted,” explains Sherry Ross, MD, OBGYN in Santa Monica, CA, and author of She-ology. As a result of the aging process, as well as vaginal births over time, some women may experience dryness, a decrease in sexual satisfaction, and some incontinence (inability to control one’s bladder).
What exactly does vaginal rejuvenation involve?
While there are several different types of procedures out there, a popular one essentially involves a probe with a laser that is inserted into the vagina. “The laser heats the submucosa of the vaginal wall, which stimulates some collagen production and potentially thickens the wall,” explains David Cangello, MD, a plastic surgeon at Cangello Plastic Surgery in NYC. “The idea is that this is supposed to tighten the vagina for women after they have had children through vaginal births, and it has also been used to treat stress incontinence.” However, while Pinkett Smith mentions the outside of her vagina “looks like a peach,” Dr. Cangello explains that the laser does not have the ability to do this — it only treats the inside. Of course, there are procedures that can do that, such as labiaplasty and lipofilling.
Is it painful?
As Rainey explains to Pinkett Smith and her mom in the episode, some women even enjoy the procedure (2 in 10, she says), so it can’t be all that bad. But Young says that the procedure can be slightly uncomfortable, though it’s generally tolerable. “The entire procedure can be done in seven minutes and breaks can always be given at anytime,” she adds. “Women may have some soreness for the rest of the day, but few, if any, require any pain medication.”
Who is a candidate for vaginal rejuvenation?
There’s a broad age range of women who have vaginal procedures, according to Maria Canter, MD, urogynecologist in Reston, Va. “Women experience vaginal changes at different times in their lives — some as a result of childbirth, trauma from surgery or simply from the aging process,” she says. It is not recommended for women in their 20s or early 30s, especially those who have not had children, as well as those with major health problems.
Are there any drawbacks to getting this type of a procedure?
In rare cases, some women do not achieve the fully desired effect, which can happen, as individual’s bodies are all different, but none of the experts we spoke to mentioned any real drawbacks to vaginal rejuvenation. However, Young notes that patients should be sure of who is performing their procedure, what type of machine they are using, and what certifications they possess. “They should be in an established and licensed health facility, such as a private medical practice or a hospital.”