Rejuvenation “Down There”
From incontinence to looseness—Dr. Annebelle Aherrera assures that there is a way to make women feel better.
When a 65-year-old patient consulted aesthetic gynecologist Dr. Annebelle Aherrera, she was a picture of ageless beauty, with a firm jaw line and smooth skin. However, upon pelvic examination, her vulva, female external genitalia, was sagging and wrinkled. After having it restored to its youthful form, the patient returned to Aherrera’s clinic for radiofrequency therapy for lubrication, to address vaginal dryness.
“A woman has two faces— one up and one down below,” cites Dr. Aherrera. “Many women will go to great lengths just to make their face look younger, without realizing that their ‘face down there’ is lagging behind.”
In 2007, Dr. Aherrera pioneered in hospital-based vaginal aesthetic rejuvenation, a term coined by Dr. David Matlock, the founder of the Laser Vaginal Institute of America. To supplement her practice, she later trained under Filipino-American Dr. Red Alinsod in California. The pioneer in non-surgical aesthetic procedures on the exterior female genitalia and the vagina, he invented ThermiVa, a temperature-controlled radiofrequency non-invasive FDA-approved treatment for non-surgical options.
Dr. Aherrera ventured into this non-surgical procedure that helps address three common dysfunctions that women face. “First, due to the process of aging, women experience vaginal dryness, looseness and reduced vaginal secretion. Second, muscles of the vagina become lax after pregnancy, childbirth and simply aging. This results in stress urinary incontinence—involuntary passage of urine upon coughing, laughing, sneezing and straining. It is a functional impairment because women are not able to engage in their normal physical activities and have to be near a bathroom.
“Third, aesthetic imperfections from sagging vulvar labial skin are addressed. Interestingly, at least 50 percent of women have one of these dysfunctions,” she cites.
Dr. Aherrera explains that as in any part of the skin, there are the collagen and elastin fibers responsible for maintain the skin’s strength, firmness and shape. The collagen provides the skeletal framework of the skin, so it becomes firm. Elastin fibers are intertwined with this to provide resistance to the connective tissues. Aging slowly disconnects the collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in sagging.
ThermiVa, as the name implies, uses the science of heat to wake up the collagen. “After the first session, it allows the collagen to contract so that it starts working. Immediate results—as in firmness of the sagging labia—are seen. On the second session, the collagen is manufactured and integrated with the elastin fibers. Dr. Alinsod claims that six weeks after the first session, you will already experience the desired results. The third session maintains the integrity of the collagen fibers,” says Dr. Aherrera.
She adds that the ThermiVa probe is a delicately designed S-shaped hand piece that follows the curvature of the vaginal canal. The warm heat massages the area being treated, allowing increased blood flow to the labia and clitoris along with the vaginal mucosa, resulting in tightening and improved moisture.
Hence, the treatment is a comfortable 20 minutes—10 minutes to gently massage the vulvar area, and 10 minutes in the vagina.
“There’s no downtime, no pain, no blisters. Women can resume normal activities, including sexual intercourse,” she says.
Her patients have since reported better quality of life. Dr. Aherrera’s first ThermiVa patient experienced two long orgasms after the third session, a secondary benefit experienced even when she only came for vaginal dryness.
“This is because ThermiVa stimulates the vulvar structures, the area of the clitoris, and improves blood circulation,” she says.
Another patient reported that her husband asked why the wife’s opening was taut again. She didn’t divulge her secret.
“The friction during intercourse is heightened because of the tightening of the upper and lower vaginal tissues. When the anterior wall of the vagina is strengthened, the G-spot becomes more accessible,” says Dr. Aherrera.
The oldest patient, 82, suffered from incontinence. Although surgery is recommended to restore pelvic support, she refused at her age. Hence, the doctor combined estrogen cream and ThermiVa. The patient is relieved knowing that her condition could still be addressed.
“Feminine wellness should be top priority in the health list of the young and the young once,” says Dr. Aherrera. “It is time to reach out and increase selfawareness among those who are quietly experiencing some form of intimate dysfunction and have remained silent. I want to help women understand that there is a treatment that could help them feel good about themselves.”