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Labiaplasty on the NHS(8 Posts)
I'm a long time lurker, first time poster. I don't really know where else to come to talk about this. The previous thread on this is from over two years ago and not similar to my situation, so please don't direct me elsewhere without reading.
Right so here's the issue; I have large labia and have ever since I can remember. From the age of about 12 they started causing discomfort up until now, age 24, where it's outright painful every single day. This is from them catching in clothing (even loose), and sex is severely affected as they swell up and the pain gets even worse. I usually have to spend at least 15 minutes in the shower after sex running cool water on them to get the swelling to start to go down and the pain to ease. I've been with my boyfriend for 6 years and we now have sex once a month at most. He's very understanding but as you can imagine, not his ideal sex life. I physically can't go out the house sometimes because wearing underwear (loose) is too painful after they have caught in clothes and literally friction burnt my vag.
I've just seen a gynaecologist who told me that the pain is caused by excess skin and confirmed they are on the larger side. She then said that labiaplasty is the only way to relieve the pain, but in 7 years she's only managed to get funding on the NHS once for a labiaplasty. The times she had patients turned down were for cosmetic. Mine obviously isn't cosmetic. My boyfriend thinks they're great, but more importantly, I take no issue with their appearance. She gave me the impression that because I haven't been back and forth to the GP about it, I'll be honest I was far too embarrassed until the age of 23 to talk to a doctor about it, she thinks the funding panel will class my case as not severe enough for surgery. This is obviously ridiculous and she didn't hold back in expressing this, but ultimately the decision lies with them.
Has anyone had any experience, recently, of applying or appealing for NHS funding for this?
I was told it will be months before I get a decision and if they say no, private insurance doesn't cover it, so it would be out of pocket. Which is not doable for us.
I'm feeling pretty depressed about the prospect of being in pain for the rest of my life.
Thanks for reading
You need your GP to make a strong case for you. This isn't cosmetic. It's down to your GP to fight for this for you.
I think you need to double check if private insurance won't cover you. Your GP will need to report your suffering which is physical and emotional.
if they refuse, is putting the cost on a credit card an option?
I don't think it matters if anyone else has or has not had this done on the NHS; the goalposts change all the time. All you can do is push for the committee to discuss your case and take it from there.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I got NHS funding almost 8 years ago, but GP had to really really fight for it - had to prove mental health OK, physical impact, impact on relationships, number of meds they'd tried, number of appointments etc. Got there eventually - I remember GP contacted burns and plastics unit, dermatology, urology and gynaecology in the hope someone would listen. I saw head professor of gynae in the end and she was fantastic - 8 weeks from appt to op. Aftercare not good and has had an impact in other ways but pain from labia has gone so that's a positive.
"Aftercare not good and has had an impact in other ways"
Can you elaborate on this @florenceswashingmach
Aftercare - I had a spinal block so couldn't move at all from waist down, but was on a day unit - no pain relief as spinal wore off, no privacy or dignity (mixed ward), when I was able to walk I was expected to walk length of ward to toilets (nightingale style ward), in severe pain with 30 stitches. Discharged next day to my mum's bleeding and still virtually unable to walk with advice to take two paracetomal if sore - no need for follow up, stitches would fall out eventually they said.
Local GP and midwives thankfully came to house next day (midwives as they'd seen vulval stitches before) to help me, gave pain relief etc, checked stitches daily. Stitches had to get removed manually with tweezers at surgery 5 weeks later.
I didn't see a gynae doctor again for another year - its only now I've been told they want to see me monthly as decided I must have been born with some sort of congential condition ... 7 years on.
I was told when booked in for the op I'd been on a gynae ward, on a PCA pump with a catheter and in for at least 3-4 days. God knows what happened to change it.
Have got lots of scarring - tiny painful lumps that swell up - a line that traces round where the incision was, and the ends of the tissue that was removed are totally numb. Its also obvious to HCPs that I've had surgery. Not sure about anyone else.
I've also got PTSD diagnosed recently, which seems crazy, and vaginismus but apparently that's not an unexpected reaction, I was only just 20 at the time and a virgin, so whole process wasn't good at all. Necessary and physically it has helped me but it's taken me a lot to cope. I got a big formal (written) apology from NHS recently for it all.
Thank you for writing it all out.
Sorry for the absence, I'd not received any notifications to say I'd had replies 😕