What Are Large Labias?
Written By Joe Gryskiewicz, MD, FACS
Do you ever wonder if your labia minora and labia majora are normal? If you are still determining whether your inner and outer lips are large or normal, you are not the only one.
The truth is there are a lot of misconceptions about the female genital area. Many women feel terrible about their genitals, especially the labias, because they consider them larger than the standard size. But is there any standard or regular size of labias?
first, here is a quick lesson about your labia majora and labia minora.
Labias can be of different shapes and even colors. Some women have tiny and tight labias, while others may have plump and wrinkly. These combinations are almost all ‘normal’ and can be endless, so we can’t say they all should look the same.
Labia Majora is the large lips you see when you look at yourself in the mirror. Their main job is to protect the inner lips or labia minora, your urethra, the clitoris, and the vaginal opening.
You can say that these sets of lips are there for protective purposes, to shield your most vulnerable parts. However, that’s not all they do. For many women, the inner lips are just as sensitive as the clitoris. But the outer ones also have numerous nerve endings. That’s why you feel significant discomfort when they grow in size.
What Is Labia Hypertrophy?
This term refers to two things:
- labia majora hypertrophy: large outside lips
- labia minora hypertrophy: large inside lips
Don’t be intimidated by the term because it sounds terrifying. However, Labia Hypertrophy is not a disease or an illness. In most cases, it is perfectly ‘OK’ to have large labias. But since they create a noticeable bulge, especially when wearing tight pants or swimwear, it is natural for women with large labias to be self-conscious.
Our surgeons at the Twin Cities Plastic Surgery regularly perform labiaplasty surgery to correct the aspect of large labias.
Large Labias: Causes
Although there is no evident cause of labial hypertrophy (large labias), some researchers suggest they are due to sexually transmitted infections or masturbation. Other possible causes of labial hypertrophy include:
- Hormonal changes: the size changes after childbirth or during puberty
- Aging: hormonal changes and aging may cause labial hypertrophy
- Genetics: some women are born with differently shaped or large labias
- Tight clothing: wearing restrictive clothes that are tight against the labia
- Competitive cycling: women who are competitive or avid bicycle riders can experience repeated trauma to their sensitive areas that develop a protective layer of fat in labia majora
Large Labias: Symptoms
Generally, labial hypertrophy affects only the labia minora. However, it can also lead to changes in the labia majora or both. Women with labial hypertrophy often don’t experience any discomfort or painful symptoms.
But there are some common symptoms that you may experience with this condition such as:
- Pain during exercise or penetrative sex that’s caused by friction against the excess tissues during different activities like horseback riding, running, sexual intercourse, and bicycling
- Labia irritation: menstrual pads or tight-fitting apparel, such as swimsuits, tights/stockings, or active wear, may easily irritate the excess tissue, particularly if the labia minora protrude beyond the labia majora. In certain circumstances, something as simple as sitting in a firm chair, labia discomfort, or irritation may be brought on.
- Hygiene issues: using tampons or menstruation cups may be more difficult if your labia are larger. Cleaning in between the lips could be uncomfortable and difficult. Recurrent bacterial overgrowth and yeast infections might result from difficulty cleansing the outer genitalia
- Self-consciousness: people with large labia majora may feel self-conscious when wearing tight clothing, such as swimsuits and undergarments, because a noticeable hump may be seen
Surgical Remedies for Large Labias
Typically, labial hypertrophy is not a condition that requires medical attention. However, there is a surgical option known as labiaplasty if you experience discomfort or problems related to the labia minora.
Several surgical techniques which are famous for relieving the painful symptoms or condition of the labias include:
- Direct excision: in this procedure, tissues are cut away straightforwardly. But the labia minora’s natural shape is lost. The aesthetic outcome is often poor, and a scar is visible
- Deepithelialization: the technique is ideal for minimal hypertrophy and removes a small amount of tissue. Hence, it preserves the contour of the labia minora
- Wedge labiaplasty: the process removes excess tissue in a V-shaped wedge from the labia minora. Then the surgeon stitches the edges together. That preserves the natural edge of the tissues, resulting in a better appearance
- Labiaplasty: an outpatient procedure that plastic and cosmetic surgeons perform. They remove the tissues using radiofrequency (RF) treatment or surgical cutting tools
Labiaplasty can be done under either local or general anesthesia and usually take less than an hour. In general, recovery happens within six weeks. During the surgery, the surgeon cuts or reshapes vaginal lips. Then, a knife or laser removes the extra tissue, and the surgeon may sew the loose edges together with stitches. You can go home on the same day.
Best Candidates for Labiaplasty
Most women shy away from discussing any problems with their vaginas. Sometimes, they spend their life in discomfort and remain in self-doubt. They find it almost impossible to discuss these issues with their friends, family, or a doctor. However, don’t let your doubts prevent you from living your life to the fullest.
There are many reasons why you should consider getting labiaplasty. But before you make this decision, consider these issues:
- You can see your vaginal lips wearing a bikini or yoga pants
- It’s not comfortable for you to have large labias
- Your labias cause physical discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Exercise is uncomfortable or painful due to the size of the labias
You could make a suitable candidate for labiaplasty if the reply to most of these questions is a yes. While these worries are genuine, there are many other issues to consider. If you are concerned with aesthetic appearance and a lack of physical comfort, you have important reasons to consider labiaplasty.
What Kind of Aftercare and Recovery Can You Expect?
It’s an outpatient procedure most of the time and allows you to recover at home. However, that does not diminish the importance of the operation. The labia will feel very painful and swollen following the surgery. If you undergo labiaplasty, you should take at least three to seven days off work.
Most medical professionals would advise taking antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection and using painkillers to reduce inflammation.
Here are some more tips you should follow after the surgery.
- Wear loose clothing to prevent friction and pain for those healing from the surgery
- Take sitz or salt baths to ease pain
- Avoid strenuous exercise and activity
- For at least 4 to 6 weeks, abstain from tampon use and sexual activity
- Lie down with your bottom elevated to prevent swelling. It can also lessen pain and swelling. Additionally, you can apply an ice pack to your underwear for 20 minutes
- Residual swelling may take six months, even if most of it will be gone after six weeks
Is a Follow-up Appointment Necessary?
To ensure the area is healing correctly, your surgeon will frequently arrange 1 or 2 follow-up appointments.
Labiaplasty has a lot of benefits that motivate women to learn more about it. Listed below are a few reasons why you should consider receiving this treatment.
Getting labiaplasty surgery:
- improves the vaginal area’s overall attractiveness
- reduces discomfort due to substantial labial tissues
- lessens irritability resulting from large labia
- saves from embarrassing situations
- boosts your self-confidence
Nobody Has to Know that You Had Labiaplasty
Now that you know this procedure can help you address issues, you may ask how long labiaplasty recovery would take. The good news is that since it’s an outpatient operation, there usually isn’t a need for an overnight hospital stay. You can resume light exercise within 2-4 days and return to work and your social life. In addition, any swelling should go down within six weeks.
Although there is a slight chance of scarring after labiaplasty, the procedure does not leave any visible signs. Knowing that others may find out about your labia surgery can be overwhelming, but since there is little recovery time and no hospital stay, you can keep everything private. However, during your appointment, you can discuss specific risks, side effects, and how to take care of your labias after surgery.
Labia Augmentation with Fat Transfer
Women may notice a deflation of the labia majora as they get older. The aging process might naturally cause a patient’s intimate areas to lose fullness, or childhood may worsen the volume deficit. In either scenario, women frequently seek more firmness and fullness in this area to restore their feminine wellness.
While some women seek dermal filler treatment to enhance the appearance of their labia, most patients want a more durable result than what is possible with cosmetic injectables. Fat transfer to the labia is another rejuvenation method provided by Dr. Joe that can give efficient volume enhancement with long-lasting outcomes for people who want a more permanent fullness.
Lipofilling or Lipotransfer redesigns the size and form of the labia. It restores lost volume in the area using retrieved fat from a region near the labias, such as the mons pubis, inner thighs, or lower abdomen. To concentrate the growth factors for the fat transplant, some of which include stem cells, the collected fat is processed and purified before being transferred.
Patients who want to enlarge or enhance the labia majora area, frequently due to a volume loss over time from aging, hormonal changes, or childbirth, are good candidates for lipotransfer. In most cases, recovery happens quickly, and you can resume regular activity in one to two days.
FAQs about Large Labias and Labiaplasty
What happens at the initial labiaplasty consultation?
Your doctors will assess your symptoms and discuss your condition during the initial visit. That will help them determine your surgical treatment’s best course of action; if they decide that labiaplasty benefits you, they will discuss its implications.
What are the different labiaplasty techniques?
The edge technique and the wedge technique are both used to conduct labiaplasties. In the wedge technique, the surgeon slices each side of the labia into a V-shape ‘wedge’ and then sews the edges together. This method results in the least amount of scar tissue formation. The surgeon then lengthens the inner labia and makes it shorter than or equal to the outer labia. Next, he will make an incision to remove the outside edge of the inner labia. The procedure results in a cylinder-shaped scar.
Does routine sexual activity cause labial hypertrophy?
No. The idea that frequent sex generates larger-than-average labia is untrue.
Are labia longer as you age?
The labia may appear longer and thinner because of the suppleness loss that comes with aging.
How can I prevent the labia from growing?
It is impossible to stop labia from expanding. If you have concerns about the size of your labia or any other symptoms, speak with your doctor.
Further Reading about Body Procedures
- Read more about Liposuction
- Read more about Mommy Makeover surgery
- Read more about Tummy Tuck surgery
Medical References about Large Labias and Labiaplasty
- Labiaplasty: motivation, techniques, and ethics
- Labiaplasty: Indications and Predictors of Postoperative Sequelae in 451 Consecutive Cases
- Vaginal labiaplasty: current practices and a simplified classification system for labial protrusion
- Aesthetic surgery of the female genitalia: labiaplasty and beyond
- Labiaplasty | Aesthetic Genital Plastic Surgery | ASPS