It is quite common that genetics, sexual activity, having children, or age causes deformation of the labia minora (the inner hairless skin fold around the opening of the vagina).
The commonest problem is enlargement of the labia (either one side or both) which will result in discomfort when wearing tight fitting jeans or sport wear, and chaffing when engaged in sports like cycling or horse riding. This can also have implications on sexual activity, sexual confidence and predispose to recurrent urinary infections due to difficulty in maintaining hygiene.
Labiaplasty is a surgery designed to correct the size and shape of the labia minora, restoring the appropriate dimensions and functionality.
While in the initial healing phase there might be some altered sensations including numbness, in the majority of patients the sensations will normalise over the passage of 6 – 8 months.
Yes childbirth, sexual activity and genetics can all contribute to enlargement in the size of the inner skin fold at the opening of the vagina (the Labia Minora), this is called Labial Hypertrophy and while in most women this has no implications other than being a cosmetic variation, some women will have either functional or psychological problems with this and request a timing of the labia minora this is called labiaplasty.
While this surgery can be done under local anaesthesia, most women find It more comfortable to have general anaesthesia for it.
The surgery is normally performed as a day surgery. You will be given pain relief and antibiotics to cover the recovery period. Icing the operated area every 2 – 4 hours eases the discomfort and swelling, you are encouraged to rest for the first 24 hours. You will be given an antibiotic cream to apply twice a day to the area. You can shower after the first 24 hours and the sutures self-dissolve over a weeks’ time. You are advised to wear a sanitary pad for the first week to keep the area dry. Avoid tight clothes, vigorous exercise, horse riding, bike riding and sexual activity for 4 – 8 weeks to allow appropriate healing of the area as per your doctors advise.
There are generally two subtypes of this operation the Trim Labiaplasty in which the trimming of the excess skin happens along the length of the labia minora, the other type is Wedge Labiaplasty in which the excess length of the Labia is reduced by removal of a triangular wedge of the excess skin.
Unfortunately, in most instances Labiaplasty is considered a cosmetic correction of the Labia Minora and is not offered on the NHS. You can however always consult with your GP and ask for a referral to a gynaecologist who can then opine on the suitability of the procedure.
* All prices quoted apply to surgery done at World Class clinic in Mumbai, India and are subject to variation based on prevalent exchange rates.
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