Health: Can this non-surgical device 'sex things up' for couples?

Updated: Jan 05, 2017, 13:53 IST | Krutika Behrawala

As a city gynaecologist introduces a non-surgical device to perform aesthetic vaginal procedures, experts debate whether the Khloé Kardashian-approved ‘wand’ can revive your sex life

If you drop by at gynaecologist Dr Sejal Desai’s clinic in Sarla Hospital, Santacruz, your eyes might be drawn towards a slick stick attached to a radio-frequency machine. The 43-year-old obstetrician and gynaecologist, who has been practising surgeries since 2003, is the first in the city, and maybe only the fourth in India, to possess this instrument known as Thermiva. “It’s FDA-approved and available in India. However, it’s new and many gynaecologists may not know about it. Those who do refer to it as the wand,” she smiles, as she gears to launch Indian Academy of Vaginal Aesthetics this week (at a closed-door event with a performance by the members of The Vagina Monologues). It is an initiative to spread awareness and train doctors for different aesthetic vaginal procedures, the primary one being the non-surgical, minimally invasive Thermiva.

In April, Khloe Kardashian revealed that her sisters, who’ve had kids, used vagina laser for tightening
In April, Khloe Kardashian revealed that her sisters, who’ve had kids, used vagina laser for tightening

The vagina dialogue
“Studies show that sexual intimacy leads to lesser chances of hypertension, diabetes, depression and insomnia. In my research, I have also found that nearly 70 per cent Indian women post the age of 40 suffer from sexual dysfunction, along with orgasmic disorders or lack of libido. Many marriages deteriorate due to the lack of intimacy. So, the idea is to spread awareness about simple, non-invasive treatments to help boost sex lives,”
she adds.

Thermiva came into spotlight this April when Kim Kardashian’s sister Khloé revealed about “a vagina lasering thing to tighten it” that her sisters used post bearing kids in a talk show. “It’s a thermal device powered by radio frequency. It heats up the stick’s metal head to a controlled temperature of up to 40°C. It can be used on vulva or in the vaginal tract. The heat helps remodel your own collagen (structural protein) and tightens your vagina. The same principle applies to the face. It also helps increase lubrication and enhance the G-spot, leading to better orgasms. Within three sittings, you can do away with wrinkles in that area too,” shares Desai, who has trained under Dr Red Alinsod at South Coast Urogynecology Centre in Los Angeles. Known for several patents in this field, Alinsod also chairs the clinical board of Thermi-Aesthetics (the product creators).

No stress
Desai asserts that the main benefit of Thermiva is to alleviate stress incontinence, an occurrence where a woman’s bladder leaks urine due to a physical activity. “Sixty per cent of Indian women suffer from this problem, and that’s only the reported cases. It occurs post pregnancy or during menopausal stages, among women above 40. A decade ago, the only way to cure it was by performing a complicated laparoscopic surgery. Then, we started using TVTO (Tension-Free Vaginal Tape-Obturator) tapes. I still routinely operate with tapes on severe cases but it’s easier to treat mild ones with this,” says Desai, who has tried it on women ranging from 18 to 83 in the last few months, since the time she brought the product here. “Three patients between 75 and 83 years complained of pro-lapse (also known as cystocele), a condition where you feel that an organ is coming out of vagina. While we didn’t see a physical change, they did feel a difference. The tightening works on first-degree pro-lapse.”

What’s the drawback?
The procedure, which involves a minimum of three sittings, can set you back by a lakh. Besides, there’s no guarantee of complete cure. “In a surgery, I can assure that the condition will get cured. Here, it depends on the person’s body tissues and collagen levels but we have seen a success rate of 85 to 90 per cent,” sums up Desai.

What other docs say

‘Sex is also about being mentally in sync with your partner’
Dr Rishma Dhillon Pai, consultant gynaecologist at Lilavati Hospital and Hinduja Healthcare
It’s still early days for Thermiva. Medicine and gynaecology are moving from radical to conservative practices. So, a minimally invasive option like this maybe preferred. However, the results have not been proven yet. In the current scenario, I don’t think it is recommended for severe cases of pro-lapse or stress incontinence. For early cases, maybe it can be tried out as a first line of treatment. I believe G-spot augmentation is abstract because sex is as much about being mentally in sync with your partner.

'It's safe; results will vary'
Dr Jaishree Sharad, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist
I discovered Thermiva two years ago when I attended a conference in USA. It is safe because it is based on the radio frequency, which we have been using on different body parts for over a decade now. In fact, I was one of the first to bring in Exilis, a non-invasive skin tightening laser, which helped with vagina tightening. This one has an electrode designed specifically for that part. There aren’t side effects but you may see redness in the area post the treatment. It can’t be used on pregnant ladies or women who have an infection in the area. Also, it’s not a wonder machine. Results are variable because they depend on collagen levels. The high cost is thebiggest issue. In the Indian scenario, people don’t have money for surgeries for their face, so I’m not sure if they would they spend on the vagina. Having said that, women are slowly coming out of cocoons and are investing in their face; inner body parts will happen, gradually. Right now, treatments on inner body parts are for those who are models, actors or those who can afford it.

Dr Sejal Desai with the device. Pic/Poonam BathijaDr Sejal Desai with the device. Pic/Poonam Bathija

Thermiva versus lasers
“I have performed procedures with CO2 and Erbium-YAG lasers. While the former works well for incontinence and tightening, it can’t be used on the outer surface. They are more painful. Their barrels are thick, so they cause discomfort,” says Desai. Also, the laser treatments require patients to take anti-virals and avoid intercourse for a few days as follow-up care; there’s no downtime with Thermiva.

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