Large labia most commonly refer to enlarged labia minora and these are often disproportionate in size to the surrounding outer labia majora. The appearance of labia can vary significantly between women and there is a wide range of different labial sizes and shapes. Despite this, many women have labia that are significantly enlarged and may cause functional symptoms including discomfort during sexual intercourse and the inability to carry out gym exercises comfortably. For women affected by having large labia, the procedure of labiaplasty also known as labia reduction is a highly effective surgical procedure designed to produce a permanent reduction in the size of the labia to eliminate functional symptoms and improve appearance.
What is a labia?
The labia minora refers to the inner folds of skin that are located on either side of the opening of the vagina. The labia minora extend upwards to the clitoris where the clitoral hood is found and the labia are located on either side of the vagina and urethra opening. The labia majora are located on the outside of the inner labia and are both larger and fuller in volume. Dr Dimitriadi is able to perform both labia minora reduction and labia majora reduction.
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Both types of procedures are also known as labiaplasty. Labiaplasty surgery is most commonly carried out under a local anaesthetic with or without oral sedation. In some cases, labiaplasty is carried out under a general anaesthetic however the choice is always yours on the preference of anaesthetic with many patients preferring to be completely asleep for their procedure. The principle of labia reduction surgery involves the surgical removal of excess labial tissue most commonly undertaken with a surgical scalpel. Some surgeons may use a laser to perform labiaplasty however we believe that laser labiaplasty results in a longer recovery period and a greater risk of scarring. Once the redundant tissue has been removed, the raw edges are carefully reapproximated with absorbable stitches which do not require removal at your post-operative review appointment. Labiaplasty surgery on average takes between 1 to 2 hours to perform. All types of labiaplasty surgery are carried out as a day case which means you’ll be able to go home later the same day.
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What is the normal size of a labia?
There is a wide spectrum of normality when it comes to the size and shape of female labia. A number of scientific studies have collected data on the average length of labia minora however none of the studies was able to identify what is a normal length of labia with some labia measuring up to 10 cm long or more. It is not clear whether there is a link between advancing age and an increase in labia size. In many cases, women may have asymmetrical labia with one labia larger than the other. Labia can also differ based on the thickness of the labia edge or can be darkly pigmented in colour. Edge excision labiaplasty can effectively remove darkly pigmented labia.
How common are large labia?
Large labia are more common than you might think with up to 40% of all women having big labia in the UK. This figure may not be entirely accurate however as it is thought there may be significant underreporting of the extent of this common condition and many women may feel uncomfortable talking about the issue of large labia.
Why are labia minora larger than labia majora?
It is not uncommon to notice that your labia minora protrudes outwards more than the outer lips also known as the labia majora. Large labia are also known as hypertrophy of the labia minora. Labia majora can also be enlarged and this is known medically as labia majora hypertrophy. Both types of labia enlargement may be considered a variant of normal and are not known to be associated with a particular medical condition and in the vast majority of cases do not cause pain or discomfort.
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Causes of labia hypertrophy or large labia are primarily related to hereditary factors or hormonal imbalances involving excessive oestrogen secretion such as when occurs during puberty and menopause. The pregnant state can also increase vascularity of the female genitalia and this may lead the labia minora to become engorged and therefore appear larger in appearance.
In rare cases, large labia can be caused by localised skin and soft tissue bacterial infection or injury to the area leading to inflammation and chronic swelling in some cases. It is well known to observe labial hypertrophy in women who cycle frequently.
Is the vagina affected by having large labia?
Having large labia does not affect the structure or function of the vagina in any way. Every patient is different in terms of the size and shape of the vagina as with the labia. If you are experiencing vaginal discomfort then we would advise seeing a gynaecologist for further assessment. Many women choose to have a labiaplasty because they have developed significant unhappiness at the appearance of their genitalia. This can affect a woman’s self-confidence and in severe cases can result in the development of anxiety and/or depression. In certain cases, women may avoid certain activities or situations which may be related to having enlarged labia and this includes sexual intercourse and certain items of clothing such as beachwear.
For women affected by having large labia which is impacting their self-confidence, Centre for Surgery is proud to be one of the most experienced providers of labiaplasty surgery in London. Our surgeons are experts in all types of labia correction surgery including both labia minora reduction and labia majora reduction. Speak to one of our patient coordinators today who will be more than happy to arrange a face-to-face private consultation with an expert female labiaplasty surgeon at our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in central London.