If you’ve ever wondered, “Is my vagina normal?” you’re not alone. Vaginas come in all different shapes and sizes, and how your vagina looks is determined by variables like age, genetics, hormones, and childbirth/pregnancy. You might have symmetrical labia minora that are hidden by the labia majora (we’ll call these “inner lips”, or an “innie vagina”) or asymmetrical labia minora that hang outside the labia majora (outer lips, or “outie vagina”). You might have prominent inner lips or prominent outer lips. You could have very long inner lips or long outer lips. You might also have small and open outer lips or small and closed outer lips. The point is, there isn’t necessarily one “normal” vagina shape!
Most often, women who think their vagina is abnormal have enlarged labia minora. But everyday factors can lead to changes in the appearance of the labia, so it’s far from uncommon. The simple passing of time can cause the labia minora to lengthen or darken. Childbirth, fat loss, and age can cause the labia majora to lose elasticity and sag. These are all normal changes that unfortunately occur regardless of preventive measures, such as kegels.
An enlarged labia can interfere with day-to-day life. For instance, it can make it difficult to find swimsuit bottoms that provide adequate coverage. It might also make you reluctant to wear tight pants or leggings. The rubbing and friction from an enlarged labia, especially during exercise, can lead to chronic irritation. Vaginal looseness (aka vaginal laxity) can also mean decreased sensation and pleasure during intercourse.
This is where labiaplasty comes in. Sometimes called “barbie vagina”, “designer vagina,” or simply labia minora reduction, labiaplasty is a procedure that reduces the size of an enlarged labia. We use a trimming technique known as the “wedge” technique to reduce the linear portion of the thickened, dark skin that extends from the vaginal opening to the clitoral hood. We generally perform a clitoral hood reduction (also called “clitoral unhooding” or “hoodectomy”) at the same time as labiaplasty in order to create a natural transition from the clitoral hood to the labia.
On the day of your procedure, you’ll be given medications to help with relaxation and discomfort as well as a patient-controlled, inhaled analgesic to use throughout the procedure. A topical anesthetic is also applied in advance to numb the labia. You’ll want to make sure someone is able to pick you up afterwards since you’ll be drowsy from the medicine! From here, we suggest you take off a week or so to recover. We’ll also schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure everything is healing appropriately.
Patients come to Austin from all over Texas (hello to those of you in Houston, San Antonio, or Dallas Fort Worth!) and nationwide to have their labiaplasty performed here at Austin Labiaplasty and Vaginal Rejuvenation because of Dr. George Shashoua’s extensive experience as a urogynecologist (check out his reviews on RealSelf) as well as our competitive pricing. Regardless of where you’re based, all patients will have a consultation prior to their labiaplasty where we can address any concerns you might have.
If you are dealing with issues resulting from excess labial tissue, then contact our team at ALVR. We’re here to answer anything and everything – nothing is off limits! We’ve got you covered.
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