Concerned About the Appearance of Your Labia? You’re Not Alone and Treatment is Available


Dr. Alexis Parcells

The good news is that if it bothers you – it’s easily correctable.

If you are concerned about the appearance of your labia, you are not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, labiaplasty is one of the fastest-growing procedures for women in the USA. Last year, over 11,000 labiaplasties were performed. According to Plastic Surgeon and labiaplasty specialist Dr. Alexis Parcells with Parcells Plastic Surgery, “Labia come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. There is no “normal” labial appearance. However, like other parts of our bodies (our breasts, for example) what may not bother Jill may drive Jackie crazy.”

What is labial hypertrophy and what causes it?

Labial hypertrophy, or large labia minora (inner lips) that hang past the majora (outer lips) is common in women of all ages. There is no known direct reason for labial hypertrophy. And no amount of diet and exercise will address it. Some women are born with enlarged labia. For others, labial enlargement may develop over time due to hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.

Dr. Parcells says, “Labia hypertrophy is not a problem from a medical perspective. As doctors, we see differences in the size and shape of our labia as a natural fluctuation in the human body,” explains Dr. Alexis Parcells, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. “However, many women report concerns about the appearance of their labia.”

Common complaints about enlarged labia include chafing and discomfort while exercising and frequent yeast infections. Some women state they are self-conscious about how wearing certain types of in clothing such as bathing suits. And often times, young women feel shame and feel anxiety during intimate moments.

Dr. Parcells adds, “The good news is that if it bothers you – it’s easily correctable.”

What’s a labiaplasty?

“A labiaplasty is a skin surgery that aims to reduce the size of the labia minora,” says Dr. Parcells. “Because it is just a skin surgery, it does not affect sexual sensation or function.”

The procedure itself is straightforward and takes less than an hour. For best results, it should be performed in a surgical setting by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. Though rare, complications may include wound breakdown and infection. Local numbing medicine may be injected at the time of surgery to avoid post-surgical pain.

According to Dr. Parcells, “The recovery takes several days. Most patients do not require strong pain medication and are back to their usual daily activities in about 3-5 days.” Young and older women alike are often thrilled with their results and wish they had it taken care of sooner.

This procedure is considered elective and is not covered by medical insurance. Dr. Parcells advises that if you are worried about cost, to talk with your medical provider. She adds that many medical practices offer financing options such as care credit.

Bio: Alexis Parcells, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of Parcells Plastic Surgery.

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