19/11/2013 09:13 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Forget Facelifts: Looking Good 'Down There' Is What UK Women Want

Ladies. If I asked you to name the top most talked about cosmetic procedures in the UK right now, what would you say?


Boob job?

Tummy Tuck?

Sure, these procedures are always in the news, but between you and me there's another type of treatment that's quietly rising in popularity- and it might just surprise you.

Vaginal surgery is one of the fastest increasing areas of cosmetic surgery in Britain. According to a recent survey by The Cosmetic Surgery Guide, intimate procedures such as labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation are becoming more and more popular, with 24% of female readers saying they would be interested in hearing more about vaginal rejuvenation. This seems to be a universal trend, as WhatClinic reported a 109% increase in enquires for procedures like this earlier in the year.

Demand for cosmetic gynecology has never been so high. For plastic surgeons, business is booming with an increasing number of women are seeking vaginal rejuvenation to improve their self-esteem, according to industry experts.

The procedure (which was originally popular with patients suffering from incontinence) is now more widely used for cosmetic purposes to enhance the appearance of the genitalia. Just like other parts of the body, labia may come in all shapes and sizes and there is a spectrum of normality- it is also not to be confused with vaginoplasty.

Labiaplasty can improve symmetry for a better aesthetic appearance, while vaginoplasty is to rectify the problems which may arise from having the vagina wall stretched, for example during a very difficult childbirth.

One of the concerns surrounding this surgery- aside from the stigma attached to it- is that some surgeons fail to explain the risks, such as infections, scarring and pain, associated with the procedure. However, in recent years a new wave of non-surgical and minimally invasive rejuvenation treatments have arrived in the UK allowing women to alter how they look 'down there' without having to go under the knife.

In fact, just yesterday a new non-invasive treatment was revealed called Protégé Intima: a radio frequency treatment that promises to not only rejuvenate the labia, but also boost sexual satisfaction. This will no doubt come as welcome news to women who are unhappy with the appearance of their genitalia, but are uncomfortable with the idea of invasive surgery or laser treatments.

The advances in most non-invasive cosmetic treatments have been astonishing in the last few years but, being the only energy-assisted treatment of its kind currently available in the UK, I think this is likely to become popular in Britain over the next 12 months.

With several alternatives to traditional labiaplasty now available (from lasers to radiofrequency treatments) the question is whether the days of surgical vaginal rejuvenation may be numbered. My guess is that we'll continue to see a rise in intimate procedures, but more and more women will opt to try these non-invasive treatments.

Altering the appearance of the vagina is- and will probably remain- a controversial decision. Since technically there is no 'correct' appearance for a woman's private area, some people believe that encouraging this surgery just for the sake of appearances is not a positive thing. However, if you are embarrassed about the length of your labia, and/or it causes you pain, you have every right to consider your options.

As with ALL cosmetic treatments and procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, the decision to go ahead is an entirely personal one. Do you research, choose your doctor or surgeon carefully, and only ever undergo a cosmetic procedure after serious consideration of the risks as well as rewards.