Sexual Studies: Researchers Announce Creation of “O-Shot” to Improve Female Sexual Response But History Gives Reasons to be Skeptical
Every Saturday the CSPH highlights news or recent research in the field of human sexuality. This week we’re discussing a recent announcement about the “O-Shot™,” an injection meant to improve female sexual response. Most of the below information was issued in a press release announcing the creation of this procedure. It is important to note, however, that the O-Shot™ has not been peer-reviewed for clinical evidence of safety or effectiveness and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health does not recommend this procedure.
Dr. Samuel Wood (Medical Director of the Reproductive Sciences Center and the Scientific Director at La Jolla Centre for Sexual Health) and Dr. Charles Runels (a cosmetic physician) claim to have developed a simple procedure that appears to “markedly improve the quality of a woman’s sexual response” by injecting platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) into an area on the upper wall of the vagina and the clitoris. According to the official O-Shot™ website, the effects of the injection are seen “almost immediately” as the growth factors begin to “rejuvenate and enhance the sexual response.” Some reported results from women having undergone the procedure include: greater arousal from clitoral stimulation, stronger and more frequent orgasm, decreased pain for those with dyspareunia (painful intercourse), and decreased urinary incontinence.
“The most important factor in the success of this procedure is the correct placement of the injections. When these same growth factors were injected into the putative ‘G-Spot,’ we saw minimal or no improvement in sexual function, but when injected into an area distinct from the traditionally defined G-Spot, the response has been surprising, robust and consistent,” said Dr. Wood. “This area of responsiveness is distinct enough from the ill-defined ‘G-Spot’ that we felt it deserved its own name. The name we chose is the ‘O-Spot™’ (“Orgasm Spot™’) and we have termed the procedure involving the injection of growth factors into this area the ‘O-Shot™’ (Orgasm Shot™). This area appears to be critical in determining whether a woman is able to achieve a vaginal orgasm, something experienced consistently by fewer than 20% of women,” explained Dr. Runels.
While Dr. Wood has claimed that the results of the O-Shot™ have been both “robust and consistent,” there have been no published numbers or quantitative results to back up these statements. Similarly, the coining of the term “the O-Spot™,” implying that it is the exact spot where vaginal orgasm occurs, appears to be based on nothing except for the fact that it is a different area than where the G-spot is typically located. Dr. Benito Villanueva, Medical Director at La Jolla Centre for Sexual Health and O-Shot™ Director of Physician Training, states that the data for the O-Shot™ is “preliminary and must be confirmed by rigorous scientific research before making it widely available to patients.” He also states that “there are many potential causes of sexual dysfunction…so all patients should receive a complete evaluation prior to receiving this or any other treatment…because it has not been yet been studied in a comprehensive way, all women should undergo this procedure only as part of a clinical research trial.”
The O-Shot™ may sound like an effective and relatively noninvasive solution for women dealing with certain types of sexual dysfunction, but it is important to know the risks when considering this type of procedure. In 2008, a U.K. surgeon named Dr. Phanuel Dartey began offering “g-shots” along with laser vaginal rejuvenation in order to “increase the size of a woman’s G-spot to heighten orgasm.” It was soon found that several of Dr. Dartey’s patients received botched procedures causing visible scarring and asymmetry of the genitals. Dr. Dartey was later taken to court and his license revoked. Other labial and vaginal surgeries have been shown to lead to complications and future issues for patients such as asymmetry, excess removal of tissue, disrupted blood supply, and pain. One surgeon stated that 10% of his practice is revision surgery for patients having undergone a botched vaginal procedure by another doctor.
A major problem with news releases like that distributed for the O-Shot™ is that readers are often led to believe that the procedure being discussed has already been clinically tested and approved. The fact is that the creators and their public relations representatives draft and distribute these releases as a way to gain publicity for the product that they have just created. By citing positive results and trademarking terms like the O-Spot™ and the O-Shot™, the people behind this procedure are trying to make an unproven procedure appear more legitimate and appealing. Even if a procedure like the O-Shot™ eventually proves to have clinically significant positive results regarding women’s sexual functioning, anyone thinking about undergoing a procedure like this should consult with a sexual health and/or medical practitioner first and should also be prepared for possible unexpected results and side effects.
It is the official opinion of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health that people should not undergo procedures that have not been peer-reviewed for clinical evidence of safety and effectiveness.