Dr. Runels Says His O-Shot Delivers. Better Sex Is Just Around the Corner.
Or Is It?
A LOT of women have kids. And I think it's fair to say that most think pregnancy and childbirth were hard on their body. Childbirth causes all sorts of problems for women. So do weight changes and hormone changes from menopause. All these changes can cause stress incontinence, vaginal atrophy (muscle weakening), vaginal dryness, painful sex, decreased libido, and decreased sensitivity. And in turn, some women develop low self esteem and a loss of libido / sex drive. It's a vicious cycle.
And yet, (most days) our kids are worth it!
None of these changes are fun. For some women, they're downright awful. And for years, NO ONE talked about them. Maybe it was taboo. Maybe women felt self conscious. Whatever the reason, this needs more open conversations and RESEARCH. Women need GOOD answers to improve their lives, emotional well-being, and health.
So what do women do to in their quest for better sex? There are only a few things that most doctors agree can help. They include lubricants, anticholinergic medications (to help with stress incontinence), vaginal estrogen (Estring, Premarin, Vagifem, etc.), and Kegel exercises. From the 1990s through about 2002, hormone replacement therapy was widely prescribed to relieve the symptoms of menopause. But now many women - and doctors - are confused about the risks versus rewards of hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer - so they choose not to use them.
The problem is just that. There aren't enough good answers. Women are stuck trying new, but unproven, methods to relieve their symptoms. Some doctors have tried to answer these needs with vaginal rejuvenation - both surgical and nonsurgical. And there are other newer treatments like the O-Shot. But what are they and do they work?
Here's the official video about the O-Shot from Dr. Charles Runels:
Here's how RealSelf.com defines the O-Shot: "The O-Shot, or 'orgasm shot,' claims to treat sexual dysfunction in women and stimulate the vagina to aid in achieving orgasm. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is extracted from the patient's blood and injected into an area near the clitoris and inside the vagina. The goal is to stimulate the growth of new cells and make the injected areas more sensitive. The effects last about one year. Though PRP extraction has been approved by the FDA for some uses, the FDA has not yet evaluated PRP use in the vagina. The O-Shot uses a similar procedure as the Vampire Facial."
The O-Shot name and procedure were trademarked by Dr. Runels in 2011. The treatment can only be performed by Dr. Runels or one of the practitioners he’s trained.
Do people like the O-Shot? Can it really give you better sex? It gets an 94% "Worth It" rating on RealSelf.com. There were 34 ratings over the last 24 months.
DOES IT HURT? "The vaginal area and clitoral region are very sensitive areas so the O-shot may cause some discomfort. It also depends on your pain threshold. But at our practice we give our patients topical numbing medicine to apply 1-2 hours before the procedure and they tolerate the procedure. They describe the "pain" as a discomfort at best." - Dr. Edsel Antonio, cosmetic OB/GYN, South Plainfield, New Jersey
How much does it cost? RealSelf.com lists the average price for the O-Shot as $1,325.
But the O-Shot gets it's share of criticism.
One of the most vocal critics of the O-Shot is Dr. Jen,Gunter, an OB / GYN and blogger. She talks about it in her post, Does the “O Shot®” give insanely good orgasms or is it a “no shot.”
Here are some of Dr. Gunter's concerns:
- There isn't enough evidence to prove that PRP works. She cites a study of Platelet Rich Therapies for Musculoskeletal Soft Tissue Injuries. The study didn't find enough evidence to support the use of platelet rich therapies to treat musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries.
- We can't be sure the O-Shot is safe. Lots of women have HPV (human papilloma virus), a virus known to cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, and vagina. In her article, Dr. Gunter wonders, "If a woman has human papilloma virus (HPV) in her vagina (lots of women do) and gets a PRP injection could that cause the HPV to spread or make it more likely to develop into cancer?" She explains, "Lots of therapies sound good on paper, but when they are put to the test they don’t work or the studies are never robust enough to say either way. Sometimes when we test things we also find unanticipated bad side effects."
- There is only one study of these vaginal injections to back Dr. Runels' claims. Larger studies - and more of them - will give a better idea if the procedure works.
- Dr. Runels' study only follows 11 women. It's just not a big enough group to get conclusive results.
- This study is published in the Journal of Women’s Health Care. It's an open access journal from OMICS Publishing group, a publisher with a questionable reputation. Wickipedia lists OMICS Publishing Group as "a publisher of open access journals that is widely regarded as predatory. It issued its first publication in 2008. According to a 2012 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about 60 percent of the group's 200 journals had never actually published anything."
- The women studied had a variety of complaints from dyspareunia to orgasmic disorder. The best studies treat people with the same conditions because it's easier to quantify the results. Dr. Gunter uses this analogy, "The study has apples and oranges and pears all lumped in together."
- There is no proof that the shot lasts as long as Dr. Runels says. The women had their final check at 10 - 16 weeks. Dr. Runels says the results last anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. Because his study didn't last a full 18 months, there is no proof that the O-Shot works for 18 months, 3 years, or any period of time past the final check.
- There was no placebo group included in the study, so the placebo effect cannot be ruled out. (A placebo is a harmless pill (like a sugar pill), medication, or procedure prescribed for the emotional benefit of a patient - instead of a medication with active ingredients that that work. They're used in clinical studies for a basis of comparison. Usually, the people receiving the placebo are unaware they are getting the placebo.) The LA Times wrote about it. The more expensive a drug, the more effective people thought it was - even when it was a placebo. And the O-Shot is expensive.
Dr. Runels' study does admit some shortcomings:
"There are certain obvious limitations to this study. Because of the small number of patients in this pilot study, the statistical power of this study is limited and, as such, only suggests a possible effect of our intervention. Furthermore, due to the complexity of the female sexual response and the importance of emotional factors in sexual responsiveness, a placebo effect must be considered when evaluating our findings. Another possible limitation of our pilot study is its observational and subjective nature, despite the use of standardized diagnostic questionnaires. Despite the potential methodologic problems inherent in a pilot study involving female sexuality, because of the patient's positive response to our intervention, without the incidence of complications, future prospective, placebo controlled studies are planned."
The bottom line? It's hard to tell if the O-Shot works. To truly know, more research must be done. That's not to say that it doesn't work. To be clear, there just isn't enough evidence yet to prove that it does.
Should you get the O-Shot? Do the research, and make the best decision for YOU!
You might also enjoy these posts: AlphaRet: A New Retinoid for Melasma, Aging Skin, Sun Damage, & Acne, Light Spots & Hypopigmentation – 9 Ways to Fix Them, and How much Botox will you need? How much will it cost?
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