How a vulvoscopy can aid episiotomy recovery

During labour, as many as one in seven women have an episiotomy (a surgical cut in the muscle between the perineum and the vagina to allow the baby to exit more easily). Any incisions or spontaneous tears are usually repaired shortly after labour, and then a period of healing takes place. Sometimes a vulvoscopy may be required a few weeks after the birth if there’s an issue with healing after an episiotomy. 

 

Vulvoscopy: A close up examination of the vulva

Vulvoscopy: A close up examination of the vulva

The area around the opening of the vagina includes the labia and the clitoris and is examined using a special microscope called a colposcope. Gynaecologists perform vulvoscopies using this microscope if they want to check the vulva in more detail, and identify any potential or existing problems that need attention. 

 

Why women may need a vulvoscopy after giving birth

Ms Shree Datta, Consultant Gynaecologist at our clinic believes that “a vulvoscopy can be very important after delivery. Many new mothers have episiotomies that haven’t healed properly. The recovery period needs support and active management. In some cases, we may consider surgically refashioning the episiotomy area, or at least apply medication to help it heal better, along with pelvic floor exercises.”

 

And would a vulvoscopy be performed straight after delivery?

No. Typically we recommend waiting a couple of weeks so that the natural healing after an episiotomy can begin to take place. Of course, if there are any problems, we might suggest a vulvoscopy to ascertain what’s causing them.

 

Using a vulvoscopy to check episiotomy recovery

After an episiotomy, a gynaecologist will examine the area to make sure the scar is coming together neatly. If there are any concerns, they will consider the best next steps.

Sometimes, minor surgery is required to refashion the scar, and this would typically be done three to four months after birth. Aside from surgery gels and medications can often be applied to help the healing process. If any extra scar tissue is present, then this might need cauterizing. 

 

Is a vulvoscopy painful?

An examination will cause minimal discomfort, and of course our gynaecologists understand that a woman who has recently given birth can feel very tender – especially after an episiotomy. 

Extra care will be taken to ensure that each patient is as comfortable and relaxed as possible, and our gynaecologists will always discuss exactly what they will be doing during the examination. Before they do it.

 

Learn more about healing after an episiotomy

Consultant Gynaecologist Ms Shree Datta offers vulvoscopy appointments to women who’ve recently had a baby. To learn more or make an appointment, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.