If your lady parts are feeling a bit down-trodden, a mere $6,970 will buy you a stem cell “vaginal rejuvenation," a procedure some doctors claim will not only lead to "an improved intimate experience" but "enhanced self-confidence that can open you up to joy."
The stem cell vaginoplasty is one among many ludicrous procedures being performed at hundreds of unregulated stem cell clinics popping up across the U.S., which claim that their human (or even bovine) stem cells can be implanted in other parts of the body to repair damage. While tourists seeking medical miracles delivered by unproven stem cell therapies have long flocked to destinations such as Mexico and Costa Rica, a new analysis published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell found that in the U.S. there are now 570 such clinics offering unapproved stem cell treatments for everything from Alzheimer's and autism to a prettier vajayjay.
California had the most clinics, with 131 clinics concentrated largely around L.A. and the Bay Area. Beverly Hills was a stem cell hot spot, with 18 clinics alone, offering services such as a $20,000 stem cell face sculpting.
Many of the procedures claim that they can assist with serious medical conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, as well as more cosmetic concerns like aging or hair loss.
Because stem cells can transform to nearly any type of cell in the body, doctors believe they could offer promising treatments for many different medical conditions. The idea here is that you could take stem cells from one part of the body and inject them into somewhere else in the body where cells are either damaged or dead. Take some fat cells from the abdomen, inject them into the vagina, and presto your nether-regions could be looking 20 years younger!
But they also come with the risk of developing into cancer or tumors, and, very few stem cell procedures have significant enough research behind them to have gained U.S. approval. Theoretically, we know that stem cells could inject new life into an aging vagina, for instance, but at this point there is simply not enough information to say one way or the other.
For the study, researchers searched the web for businesses marketing stem cell procedures directly to consumers. Many of the businesses they found elicited cause for concern. Some, they found, did not appear to comply with federal regulations at all. Many peddled procedures, such as stem cell facelifts and vaginoplasties, for which there is only nascent research. And others, the analysis found, advertised procedures as "stem cell therapies" that did not actually rely on stem cells at all.
The FDA, which has so far been lax in overseeing such clinics, is considering issuing more stringent regulations for stem cell clinics and plans to hold public hearings on the topic this fall. More oversight, the researchers conclude, is desperately needed.
In the meantime, if you'd like to "turn back the clock on the appearance" of your lady bits, all you need is $6,000 and big dose of gullibility.