Can Labiaplasty Help Treat Labial Hypertrophy?


Labiaplasty is carried out on women for various reasons. Some are unhappy with their labia shape so their reason is purely cosmetic. For others, they are experiencing discomfort and pain which they want to end. But why are some labia's bigger than others and why do they cause pain? Well there is actually a condition for enlarged labia's called labial hypertrophy and you might be diagnosed with this if your labia are enlarged.

What is labial hypertrophy?

Labial hypertrophy is a condition where the labia minora are disproportional to the rest of the vulva. This may be that they are uneven, hang lower than the labia majora or are generally enlarged. Many women who experience this condition have a number of problems that affect their day-to-day comfort. For many, they experience discomfort in tight clothing as the labia can rub and chaff against the clothes. This friction is especially uncomfortable as the labia minora are highly sensitive and they can become inflamed. Typical activities such as riding a bike may cause more discomfort than it actually should as the labia minora are not protected by the majora and can become irritated. Hygiene is also an issue with enlarged labia and women, who experience this condition, have to wash the area thoroughly and more often.

Some women may also experience some pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse and a big issue many women have is that they are embarrassed about the size of their labia. This makes intimacy difficult and lowers self-esteem. A surgeon will assess whether your labia are actually disproportionate or whether it is your own perception, whereby you may be assigned a counsellor so that you can talk through your insecurity.

How does labial hypertrophy occur?

There are a number of ways in which the labia minora can be enlarged or uneven. The first is that you are simply born with larger labia or one hanging lower than the other. Therefore, there is potentially a role of genetics in protruding labia.

Labial hypertrophy may occur later in life due to a number of reasons, one being that with age their size has increased. Another way that it can occur is if you develop a condition called dermatitis in that area. This is irritation of the skin and chronic inflammation can lead to the labia becoming enlarged. Also, if you have urinary incontinence, the area can become inflamed easier and therefore the labia can become enlarged. Lymphatic stasis may also cause the area to become enlarged, as this is where the lymph nodes in that area do not flow properly and become enlarged themselves.

Childbirth may cause the labia to become enlarged as they can be damaged during that period. If a hematoma develops in that area, it can enlarge the labia, as it is a swelling of blood in the tissue that is not normally present therefore it increases their size.

Finally, one more reason that may enlarge your labia is the increase in popularity of genital piercing. If you pierce that particular area, then you will be stretching the skin, so you will notice that either your labia have gotten bigger or that one side is bigger than the other.

Defining labial hypertrophy

Doctors came up with a grading system to assess whether labial hypertrophy occurred and whether it was necessary to have surgery. Mild to moderate labial hypertrophy was when the labia minora hung between 1-3 cm lower than the labia majora. Severe labial hypertrophy was any labia minora that exceeded 3cm lower than the labia majora. This is not the only system that the doctors will work off though as in many cases, there is not that much different with the labia but the woman feels that there is. Therefore, they will ask you a lot of questions as to why you want the surgery and what you hope to achieve by having it.

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