The decision to undergo a labiaplasty (Link: NSFW) is a very personal thing. Maybe it’s a procedure you’ve wanted for a long time, or perhaps it’s something you just learned about and are considering. Either way, it can be difficult to find the real story behind the procedure.

Here are 10 things all women should know before undergoing a labiaplasty:


1. You’ll need more baggy clothes than you think.

You think you only need a few pairs of sweatpants? Think again. Laundry will probably be a chore you aren’t interested in doing, so keep extra clothes in case of blood. Male boxers are a good option.


2. Your lady parts might be terrifying.

Don’t put a mirror down there for at least a few days, preferably weeks. OK, it might be necessary to take a peek to check the healing process, but try not to be alarmed when you get your first glimpse. Also, remember that swelling can last for months.


Related: Wedge method vs. trim method


3. Syringes have multiple uses.

For example, keeping things clean. Toilet paper or sanitary wipes will be too harsh at first, so try a quick clean with a water-filled syringe instead.


4. You’ll ride an emotional roller coaster.

There are good days, bad days, and days where you didn’t think you could feel any worse until you do. You’ll be on top of the world and the next day wonder why you put yourself through the procedure.


5. You won’t walk for a few days.

I’m not saying you won’t be able to move around, but you definitely won’t be walking. You’ll waddle. Embrace your inner duck and own it.


6. Pads will be your best friend and biggest enemy.

The bleeding may come and go for days or even weeks, so you’ll need pads while you recover. The pads will save your clothes, but the rubbing might be too much to handle. You might decide cleaning up the blood is worth the ability to keep your clothes as loose as possible.


Related: Labiaplasty recovery: How long does it take?


7. You may wake up with a catheter.

This will most likely be discussed with you prior to the procedure, but an unexpected situation may happen. Don’t worry, it’s not as unpleasant as you’d imagine, but it’s worth preparing yourself for.


8. The itching is real.

You know when you get a cut and one of the first signs of healing is an itchy feeling? The same thing happens with your lady parts. Check with your doctor, but using A&D ointment or blowing warm air (like the low setting on a hair dryer) can help alleviate the discomfort.


9. Feeling good doesn’t mean you’re ready for sex.

If you’re feeling good to go, you might still not be ready for bedroom activities. Follow your doctor’s instructions, but typically, six weeks is a sufficient recovery period.


10. It wasn’t as painful as expected.

The first few days may be rough, but the biggest struggle is finding a comfortable position to relax. You’ll probably be itching to move around, but it’s important to take it slow.