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Many women in Nairobi once considered cosmetic surgery as extreme, but today it is a normal procedure
The fight to remain young for many women starts as early as 40 years while for others at 50 years. As they grow older and menopause checks in, the fat gets redistributed around the waist. Many turn to nutrition and gym to try and shift the fat, while others turn to anti-ageing creams and supplements.
But the affluent ones turn to surgery at Nairobi Hospital, Mater Hospital, Karen Hospital or any other top-notch facility to get the perfect stomach and bikini body.
Dr Abdullahi Adan, a plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon and consultant, confirms that indeed a growing number of women are taking this route.
At 30, Neema has had two cosmetic surgeries and is scheduled for another one in April at the Aga Khan Hospital. “I was overweight at 100kg and decided to hit the gym,” she says.
Neema says her efforts paid off but her stomach was still big. “Belly fat is stubborn,” she says.
“My stomach was hanging, which made me self-conscious,” Neema confesses. She decided to have a tummy tuck (a surgery procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and firmer).
Also, having lost 20kg she was left with what she described as unsightly hanging flab on her arms.
“When I gained consciousness from theatre, I could not cough or sneeze,” she narrates.
“The pain was unbearable,” she says. The following two weeks, Neema barely left her bed. She had to manage the wound with painkillers and antibiotics to avoid infection. The procedure cost her Sh500,000. She also had a liposuction on her arms as a bonus.
Neema has a scar across her tummy that stretches from hip to hip but is excited her tummy is flat. She will be going under the knife again in April for a butt lift (procedure to improve the appearance of the buttocks).
“I don’t fear operations,” she says.
Interestingly, she is planning to get two children in the next five years.
But won’t pregnancy negate all the efforts she has put into the tummy tuck? Neema says if her stomach hangs again, she will inquire about the available options.
Hellena, 37, has been taking Vitamin E tablets daily since the year began. “Everything I use now has anti-ageing properties,” she explains.
“I use firming lotion on my breasts and anti-wrinkle crème on my eyes and hands,” confesses Hellena. She enrolled in the gym last year in a bid to lose weight and tone up her body.
“I’m done with getting babies, so now I need to reclaim my youth,” says the mother of two girls, aged 12 and eight.
“I want to feel younger, look hot and sexy,” says Hellena. She is happy that going to the gym is achieving results. “I look better naked!” However, Hellena is considering a breast augmentation as she says her breasts are sagging due to breastfeeding.
“I have already done my research. It ranges from Sh300,000 to Sh1.2 million, depending on where you have it done.”
If the gym talk is anything to go by, Hellena says, quite a number of women are considering altering parts of their bodies they don’t like.
She says these women are quite knowledgeable on the available options as some have undergone plastic surgery or are contemplating it.
Hellena watches what she eats and will occasionally take up ‘no wheat’ or ‘juicing’ challenges.
Fridah is turning 40 in July and her gift to herself will be a breast reduction. She wants to reduce her 36E cup to a C cup. “I grew up being bullied because I had big boobs,” says Fridah, who started wearing bras in Standard Five. She says 40 is a time for a rebirth. “I work hard and feel I should reward myself.”
“It is a confidence booster,” says Fridah. “I want my breast reduced and lifted,” she says.
She is currently comparing costs in South Africa and locally. She, however, is comfortable with the other parts of her body having lost 15kg with a popular weight loss programme. After a full body medical examination, Fridah was told that her sugars were borderline, which necessitated a total lifestyle change.
“I was advised to exercise and watch what I ate or else I would go into diabetic management by 41.
“I intend to look fabulous at 40,” she confesses.
Nasha weighs 97kg down from 118kg. She says that her breasts sagged after losing weight and as a result of breastfeeding. The mother of two, a six and eight-year-old, says she’s done with child bearing and wants to take care of her body. Her ideal body weight is about 76-80kg but is afraid weight loss will come with more sagging.
“My husband doesn’t complain about my sagging breasts but it eats into my confidence,” says Nasha. “I’m a 40DD and my bra straps dig into my skin leaving black marks,” she says.
A baker, Nasha is forced to stand for long hours, which gives her back problems due to her heavy breasts. She is looking at a reduction and a breast lift and has already done her research how it is done. She shared her intentions with her husband who doesn’t think it is a priority.
Nasha has contacted a Dubai hospital via email, which, she says, has a cheaper package compared to local facilities.
“They watch you for 14 days after the surgery and if any issue arises post surgery, they address it,” says Nasha.