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How Do Women Feel About Their Labia?

How Do Women Feel About Their Labia?Are your labia “normal”?

 It’s a question some women ask themselves, with many wondering about genital plastic surgery.

Typically, women have two sets of labia. The labia majora are larger folds of tissue that protect other genital organs. They encircle the labia minora – a smaller area of tissue that surrounds the vaginal opening. When a woman is sexually aroused, her labia minora fill with blood and become more sensitive to touch.

However, some women consider their labia minora to be too large or unattractive. In other cases, larger labia minora can be uncomfortable, especially when a woman wears tighter clothing, plays sports, or has intercourse.

In a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study, researchers measured women’s labia minora and asked the participants for their perspectives on size.

The median width of the women’s labia minora was 19 mm, while the median length was about 36 mm.

When asked, about two-thirds of the women thought their labia minora were of a normal size. About a third thought they were too big. And about a quarter said they were “impaired by their labia minora.”

Does this mean women should consider surgery? Not necessarily. Labia come in range of sizes and shapes, so there is no true “ideal.”  Women who experience discomfort due to large labia may find that nonsurgical approaches – such as changing the type of underwear they wear, avoiding products that cause irritation, or using lotion – can help.

If you’re concerned about labial appearance or discomfort, ask your gynecologist for suggestions.

Resources

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Widschwendter, Andreas, MD, MA, et al.

“Perception of Labial Size and Objective Measurements-Is There a Correlation? A Cross-Sectional Study in a Cohort Not Seeking Labiaplasty”

(Full-text. Published online: January 13, 2020)

https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(19)31826-0/fulltext

Merck Manual

“Female External Genital Organs”

(Content last modified: April 2019)

https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/women-s-health-issues/biology-of-the-female-reproductive-system/female-external-genital-organs