After a friend told me she got an orgasm shot at her doctor’s office, I had to find out more about the procedure said to be boosting women’s sex drive.

By Tracey Harrington McCoy
Photo illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Getty Images (2)

"I have something to tell you," said a mom friend of mine at our sons' soccer practice. "I got an O-Shot and it has changed my life!"

Sixty minutes and approximately 4,398 questions later, I was surprised by what I was hearing. And after chatting with other friends, I realized most of my friends were just like me: We didn't know much about the O-Shot but we sure were interested.

What is the O-Shot?

An O-Shot promises to be a non-surgical way to increase sexual arousal and rejuvenate the vagina. (I'm not kidding.) In fact, O-Shot is short for Orgasm Shot.

Charles Runels, M.D., an internist, medical researcher, and former chemist from Alabama, came up with the idea in 2011. One day he and his girlfriend were discussing whether or not the same procedure he'd done to tighten and rejuvenate the skin on her face (the Vampire Facelift) might help her “down there” too. That discussion, and the frequent conversations with female patients that were frustrated with their sub-par sex life, led to his creation of the O-Shot procedure.

“Women really need more scientific solutions,” says Dr. Runels. “The time of counseling, KY Jelly, and a vibrator is over. Those things may still help...but we had that decades ago and unfortunately that’s all most women are still being offered.”

The O-Shot treatment uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is a concentration of a patient's platelets. The activated platelets are injected into the vaginal and clitoral area to stimulate new cell growth. O-Shots are performed by a physician who has undergone training by Dr. Runels to administer one.

And do they hurt? Ida Rastegar, M.D., an OB-GYN affiliated with the Colorado-based Rinnova Skin and Body, has had the shot herself and says there is little to no pain. "The injection is given after topical numbing, so the main discomfort is due to anxiety from the needle rather than the injection itself," she says.

Jennifer Hayes, D.O., an OB-GYN at the Florida-based Visionary Centre for Women, who frequently gives it to patients and has had one done, agrees. “I use powerful numbing creme to make the procedure painless,” she says.

Though moms in their 40s are a big audience for the shot, it’s not limited to that age group. The O-Shot is available to women as early as 18. “Sexual dysfunction can start at any age,” says Dr. Rastegar. “It’s more based on symptoms than age.”

Does it work? The O-Shot Reviews

After several weeks of regrowth, women have reported increases in sexual pleasure. "My orgasms are better, longer, and honestly, I can't get enough of my husband," my friend who is a mom of two told me. "I can't recommend it enough."

Dr. Rastegar attests to the positives. "The benefits of having this treatment include increased sexual desire, greater arousal from clitoral stimulation, and a number of changes in orgasm including stronger, more frequent orgasms, and an increased ability to have orgasms," she says.

Some women are also getting the shot to help with health concerns, such as painful intercourse and urinary incontinence. When combined with laser vaginal therapy, the results are said to help with moms dealing with incontinence related to stress.

The downside? The O-Shot Cost

One shot is expected to last about a year and isn't too cheap. The cost ranges from about $500-$1,800 a shot and isn’t covered by insurance.

More importantly, no procedure is risk-free. “There are some rare complications since a needle is being used, such as infection, granuloma, urethral injury, or nerve damage, which I have never seen,” says Dr. Rastegar. One might experience spotting, hypersexuality, or no effect at all.

The O-Shot also isn’t FDA approved. And other experts aren’t convinced by it. “There has not been enough data to support the success of the O-Shot,” says George Shashoua, M.D., an OB-GYN at the Austin Labiaplasty and Vaginal Rejuvenation in Austin, Texas. “We perform surgeries (at my clinic) in the same areas in which the PRP injections are placed. From a healing standpoint, your body will naturally send growth and healing factors to these areas postoperatively and we do not see increased orgasms or long-term incontinence resolution post-procedure."

Jennifer Gunter, M.D., an OB-GYN and author of The Vagina Bible, has also been vocal about her disapproval of the O-Shot. “There are no studies in indexed, peer-reviewed literature looking at injecting platelet-rich plasma into the vagina or clitoris to improve sexual satisfaction,” she writes in a post on her website.

I know the shot, in theory, could be a well-deserved reward after all the juggling we do as moms. I was also a bit envious of the glow on my friend's face while she was sharing her experience. Yet, I'm not sure if I'm convinced enough to ever get the procedure done, but I will admit it is intriguing.

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