Dr. Taghechian on her women’s sexual health practice

Opinion
Video

"There is a severe lack of treatment when it comes to women's sexual health," says Shaya Taghechian, MD.

In this interview, Shaya Taghechian, MD, gives an overview of her women’s sexual health and cosmetic gynecology practice. Taghechian is a urologist with Georgia Urology.

Transcription:

Please provide an overview of Aayla, including what conditions are treated and what treatments are provided.

Aayla is dedicated specifically to women's sexual health and I would say some cosmetic gynecology as well. There is a severe lack of treatment when it comes to women's sexual health. There's sort of a lack of ownership in this space. A patient may go to gynecology and may say, "I have a lack of libido, things don't feel the same." And often, I hear, "They did an exam on me, and they said, nothing was wrong. And, this is just the way it's going to be." So nothing happens there. And then they'll come to the urologist, and they may say the same thing, because they may have a female provider and they may feel comfortable speaking with that female provider. But same thing, we say, "We're urologists, [we treat] bladder, kidneys; we don't know what to do." So then nobody takes care of it, even though the patients may have voiced their concern, they're still ignored. A lot of that was happening in my practice. I've been in practice somewhere around 15 years, and it was getting really old. Sometimes, you just have to go out and learn and innovate and bring something into your practice that you didn't learn in medical school, or wasn't out there in residency. So that's how it came about. In terms of cosmetic gynecology, I tell my patients that every vulva is normal. We know that. They come in different shapes, different sizes; there is no "perfect" or "normal." It just doesn't exist. But there are often women who have functional issues with the vulva. [They] have discomfort or pain, because of the way it's shaped or how long labia are. And there are folks out there who offer what's called labiaplasty. But are they qualified to be doing a labiaplasty? Usually, I think it's been plastic surgeons and I am not saying plastic surgeons are bad, horrible people, nothing like that. But honestly, when's the last time a plastic surgeon did a pelvic exam? Do they know what they're looking at? Do they know the structures of the vulva and the vagina, where certain nerves are or how the vagina or vulva age as the patient gets older, like what changes occur? They're not thinking about those things. They're not necessarily trained in those things. And so I don't know if that's the perfect person to be doing cosmetic gynecology. Now, if the patient brings their concerns to the gynecologist, well, they haven't necessarily been trained in plastic surgery either. So there again, is this gap. For me, personally, I thought, who better? I have urologic expertise. I'm in the pelvis all the time. I'm working in the vaginal area all the time, with women who have incontinence, doing surgeries, slings, Bulkamid, what have you. I can learn how to do those plastic surgery procedures. I really enjoyed it. I found people around the world who were already doing it and got trained. It's not that there's nobody doing it. It's a very small world, cosmetic gynecology. So I went and got training and brought that back to my patients, and I love it. And the results are fantastic and the patients are happy. And I feel like we're really doing them a service, making their lives better, not maiming them. There's no "botched" here, because we know what we're doing.

This transcription has been edited for clarity.

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