La vulvar gaping, also known as
What is vulvar gaping?
The term "gap" refers to an abnormally wide opening between the body's internal organs. In the context of the vulvar gaping, this means that the muscles surrounding the opening of the vagina are distended and less toned than in their normal state. This situation can occur after childbirth, but also for other reasons, such as regular intense exercise or rapid weight gain.
Difference between vaginal gape and vulvar gape
The difference between vaginal gaping and vulvar gaping lies mainly in the anatomical area concerned:
Vaginal Gape : Vaginal gaping refers to excessive looseness or dilation of the vagina. This can be due to various factors, such as repeated childbirth, aging, or certain medical conditions. This condition can lead to problems such as discomfort during sex, decreased sensation, and sometimes urinary problems or pelvic organ prolapse.
Vulvar gaping : The vulvar gap, for its part, concerns the external area of the female genital organs, that is to say the vulva. It can be characterized by a spreading or loosening of the vaginal lips (labia major or minor). Causes may include genetic factors, age, childbirth, or hormonal changes. This condition can affect the aesthetics of the genital area and sometimes cause discomfort or hygiene problems.
Causes and consequences of vulvar gaping
Factors related to childbirth
- Vaginal childbirth: The main cause of vulvar gaping is pregnancy and childbirth. Indeed, during this last stage, the perineum and the pelvic floor muscles undergo significant pressure when the baby passes through the vaginal canal.
- Baby's weight: Women who have given birth to a child with a weight above average (more than 4 kg) are more likely to develop a vulvar gap, because their perineum is put under greater strain during childbirth.
- Episiotomies: Although believed to prevent perineal tears, some studies show that they may actually increase the risk of developing a vulvar gape.
Other factors and possible consequences
- Intense sports practice: certain sports place intense demands on the pelvic area, such as cycling, horse riding or gymnastics. If overexerted, these activities can contribute to the development of a vulvar gap.
- Rapid increase in weight: large and rapid weight gain can also cause muscle problems in the pelvic floor.
- Urinary problems:In some cases, a vulvar gap can lead to involuntary leaking of urine, called urinary incontinence.
- Pain during sexual intercourse:Vaginal distention can cause pain during intimate relations for some women or reduce the pleasure felt by their partner.
Solutions and treatments for vulvar gaping
Even though vulvar gaping is generally not serious, it is normal for women to want to remedy this situation in order to feel more comfortable in their body and to avoid possible unwanted consequences. Here are some solutions to meet the expectations of young moms and other women concerned:
Postpartum perineal rehabilitation
For those who have just given birth, perineal rehabilitation (also called pelvic floor rehabilitation) is an essential step to regain the tone of the vaginal muscles. It consists of a set of specific exercises supervised by a health professional, such as Kegel exercises.
Independent practice of Kegel exercises
These exercises aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by performing voluntary contractions on a regular basis. They can be practiced daily, even without professional help. It is recommended to perform 3 sets of 10 contractions per day, holding each contraction for 3 seconds. However, it is important to consult a doctor before undertaking these exercises to verify that they are suitable for you.
The use of vaginal cones
Vaginal cones are small cone-shaped devices that are placed inside the vagina to help strengthen the muscles in the area. They are generally used in addition to Kegel exercises, and their use should be gradual to allow for gentle rehabilitation.
Support from a psychologist
In some cases, it may be necessary to consult a psychologist to talk about your feelings about the vulvar gaping. It is common for this condition to weaken self-esteem and body image, and professional support can help you overcome these difficulties.