Many women suffer from enlarged labia minora (the inner genital lips). Some may not like the appearance of their large, uneven or thick labia, which can sometimes extend beyond the labia majora. Others may be bothered by labial irritation while conducting normal activities, or may find it difficult to keep the labial area clean. Still others may experience pain during sexual intercourse, sports or other vigorous activities.
Large, thick or uneven labia can be an embarrassing condition to discuss with a doctor or gynecologist, but there is a procedure available to help. Labiaplasty reduces large labia or reshapes uneven labia, improving their appearance and reducing associated discomfort.
Labiaplasty is a relatively minor surgical procedure that trims large or uneven labia minora for cosmetic, hygienic, pain relief and/or functional reasons. Labiaplasty can be performed alone or together with other procedures such as vaginoplasty and liposuction for more extensive vaginal rejuvenation.
Some women are born with large, thick or irregular labia. Others may develop large labia after giving birth or as they age. Whatever the cause, you do not have to live with large labia if they cause you pain or lower your confidence in yourself. If you are unhappy with the way your labia look, feel or interfere in your life, labiaplasty may be the solution you’ve been looking for.
Intended Goals of Labiaplasty
Labiaplasty offers solutions to large labia in several ways. By trimming large labia, labiaplasty can:
- Improve the appearance of the vagina and vulva
- Boost self-confidence
- Reduce discomfort caused by clothes rubbing against the labia
- Eliminate pain caused by large labia during sexual intercourse
- Improve or restore sexual satisfaction that was hampered by large labia
Labiaplasty is generally done just after the patient has had her period. Before the labia reduction procedure, the patient receives anesthesia or IV sedation along with medications to block nerve signals and minimize bleeding. Then the surgeon trims excess labial tissue. Recent advances in surgical techniques allow surgeons to recreate the edges of the labia with a natural-looking color and shape. Finally, the surgeon closes the wounds with absorbable stitches and applies an antibiotic cream and sanitary pad.
Recovery from Labiaplasty
Most patients have an easy recovery after labiaplasty, experiencing only mild swelling and little to no discomfort. Patients typically return to work in two to four days and resume sexual activity in six weeks. Post-operative care involves carefully washing the area and using antibiotic creams to prevent infection. The body naturally absorbs the stitches used during surgery over time, so no follow-up procedure is needed to take them out.
Risks of Labiaplasty
Complications with labiaplasty are rare, but as with any surgery, there are risks. These can include bleeding, infection, poor healing, labial asymmetry, labia that are smaller or larger than desired, and the need for a second surgery.
Labiaplasty is a delicate procedure. One way to ensure that your surgery is as safe as possible and achieves your goals is to choose a qualified, experienced surgeon who has performed many successful labiaplasty procedures. Vaginal rejuvenation specialists are often plastic surgeons, OB/GYNs or urologists.