Vaginal Dilation Outcomes Equivalent to Vaginoplasty

After two years, nearly half of patients still have sexual dysfunction, distress regardless of therapy

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term psychosexual outcomes for patients undergoing vaginal dilation are at least equivalent to those undergoing vaginoplasty, according to a study published in the July issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Nina Callens, from Ghent University in Belgium, and colleagues compared the sexual quality of life of women at least two years after vaginoplasty (15 women), vaginal dilation therapy (eight women), or coital dilation/no treatment (12 women). The Dutch test validation population served as the control. The Female Sexual Function Index, the Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised, and a semi-structured interview were used to assess psychosexual functioning. Anatomical outcome was determined by gynecological examination.

The researchers found that, after either treatment, 26 percent of the women had a shortened vaginal length (less than 6.6 cm). Sexual dysfunction(s) and sexual distress were present in 47 percent of the women, regardless of the treatment. There were significantly more problems with lubrication reported by patients who underwent vaginoplasty compared to self-dilation therapy.

"The findings in this study have implications for clinical management as they suggest that long-term psychosexual outcome after vaginal dilation is at least equivalent to that of vaginoplasty," the authors write. "However, if it wants to reach a high success rate, gradual self-dilation has to be supported by an expert multidisciplinary team that integrates endocrinology, gynecology, sexology, and clinical psychology expertise."

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