Should I ask my gynecologist about options for labiaplasty?

Ever since I was 11, I've always had a very large labia minora. They're uncomfortable, more of an eye sore than a vagina already is, and excessively wrinkly and the majora looks deflated. I was thinking about talking about having labiaplasty done, that I could talk to the gyneo about surgery options and recommendations and have her help break the ice to my mom about surgery with me. Is it a good idea to ask my gynecologist? If not what else should I do or what can I say to my gyneo or mom?

Doctor Answers 14

Candidate for a labiaplasty

There is a trend to have less prominent labia, but this is a matter of choice and there are no medical reasons to do so other than improving your appearance down there. Candidates for a Labiaplasty procedure are women who are concerned about the appearance of their labia or experience discomfort due to exceptionally large or long labia of either the inner our outer lips. Labia unevenness can result in discomfort with intimate contact, chronic rubbing, as well as psychological discomfort, which leads to the inability to wear certain types of tight clothing. Most women live with these symptoms, and actually are not even aware that a certain surgical procedure exists to help to correct this problem and restore their femininity.

Ask your mom to accompany you to your gynecologist

Hello Kurolask,Thank you for posting this question, one that hundreds of young women deliberate daily. I know this is a sensitive topic to bring up to a parent, but if you are close to your mom and she can be led to understand how much this bothers you, then you'll be surprised how supportive she will be. If you want this procedure before age 18 you will need her consent. I strongly recommend you do so and have her read my response to your question as she puts her thoughts together. Exposing her to RealSelf and to all the questions by women in this community will help validate your concerns as well.If you don't think you can discuss this with her, you can certainly bring it up to your gynecologist in complete confidence. Your mother doesn't need to know, but you'll have to wait till you turn 18 to have the procedure. I've performed hundreds of Labiaplasty procedures on women (age 13-81) who have been bothered by the size, color, shape, etc., their whole life.  When asked the majority of women will state that they've hated their labia since puberty. You are lucky since you live in an age that it's "easier" to talk about this, and because of the internet, you're able to ask experienced surgeons what your options are.Aside from women not knowing how or who to ask about their labia, the other reason why women go decades without having their procedure is the ignorance or lack of understanding of their doctors. This includes gynecologists. Many of my patients report horrible experiences when they gathered up the nerve to ask their gynecologists about their options. When you do ask your gynecologist about who he/she recommends to perform your Labiaplasty be prepared for them to minimize your concerns and tell you that you are "normal". Of course your normal, you just want to look better. There is nothing wrong with you wanting to look and feel better, in fact the benefits for your self-esteem are huge!See link below for advise in choosing the best surgeon for you. Look at the Photo Gallery for before and after examples. Be careful not to let someone who has only performed a few do your surgery. This is the most important decision, thus far, in your life. I encourage you to involve your mother since you'll need her consent, likely need to travel for the best care, and you'll need her financial assistance.

Oscar A. Aguirre, MD
Denver Urogynecologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Should I speak to my gynecologist about my concern about my enlarged labia?

Its a good idea to talk to your doctor and mom about your concerns about your labia.  Its fine if you want to start with your doctor to help you broach the subject with your mom.  Enlarged labia can cause physical discomfort.  Many women are emotionally self conscious in bathing suits or in the locker room or with sexual partners.If you plan to speak with your doctor I recommend you write down what is troubling you.  This makes is more certain the doctor will hear you loud and clear.  Mention you want help opening up the conversation with your mom.  (Once you write your thoughts down you may just want to show your mom what you are going to talk to the doctor about - you may need to take some selfies.)I would not recommend you have your gynecologist perform the surgery as it is unlikely a general gynecologist has the surgical expertise.  Labiaplasties are best performed by gynecologists or plastic surgeons that specifically specialize in cosmetic gynecology.  

You can ask your gynecologist

also be aware, many plastic surgeons treat this problem with very good results. i can do a labiaplasty in my office with just oral sedation and local anesthetic and it is completely painless. Or you can have this done in a surgicenter under a general anesthesia. you should bounce back quickly after your surgery. i recommend 2-3 days of taking it easy, with lots of ice down below to help with swelling.make sure you see a board certified surgeon - plastic surgeon or gynecologist with experience in this procedure. good luckdavid berman md

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Should I ask my gynecologist about labiaplasty surgery?

Dear Kurolask,

Thank you for writing in with your question and concerns.  When we go through puberty, the hormone estrogen causes the breasts and the labial tissue to grow.  They can become larger, uneven and change in color.  They can cause comfort, functional and appearance concerns for many teenagers and adults, so know you are not alone. There are over 20 reasons female patients seek labiaplasty surgery.

As a board-certified Ob/Gyn  who has performed over 750 labiaplasties, I can speak from experience and tell you that approaching your gynecologist may be good for an initial discussion, but most do not have much experience with addressing labial issues since we are not exposed to this in residency, and many do not know the issues and techniques available.  I highly recommend you research cosmetic gynecologists, uro-gynecologists and plastic surgeons who focus their practices on female sexual heath and who offer more than one type of labiaplasty procedure.  There are two main types of procedures: those that reduce the edges (the traditional edge-reducing technique) and the edge-preserving procedures (that cut a piece out of the labia but maintain the color, texture and contour of the edge, called the various "wedge" procedures).  The wedges have a slightly higher risk of having edges separate, but in experienced hands this is minimal.

Many times, when women have extra labial tissue, there can be extra tissue around the clitoral hood as well which may need to be addressed for the best cosmetic result, but can also cause hygiene and access issues.

I am sure if you tell your mom you are unhappy with how your body is working for you as well as the appearance, she will be sympathetic.  There is actually a genetic component to large labia and she may have some extra labial skin as well that she has never talked with you about.  All of our bodies are different, but it is most important to be comfortable in your own skin.

Sincerely,

Troy Robbin Hailparn, MD, FACOG


Troy Hailparn, MD
San Antonio OB/GYN
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Ask gyn

You could ask your gyn, but your gyn may have his/her own personal opinion about doing labiaplasties. Instead, consider seeing a cosmetic surgeon who have extensive experience in doing labiaplasties.It sounds like you are a candidate for a labiaplasty. Most women want the most aesthetically beautiful genital area they can have, thus I created my technique of doing labiaplasty called the True Labiaplasty. I recently presented my technique at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. There are many type of labiaplasty procedures. I personally prefer my method of doing labiaplasty procedures using a modified posterior wedge technique. It can give you very good symmetry of the labia, it looks the best aesthetically, and postoperatively they experience less pain in my experience. In addition, many patients have more satisfying sex since the sensitive thin delicate labial edges are left intact. You can learn more on the link below.  Details are on my website on the link below. Your concerns are exactly the reason why I developed my technique. Good luck.

Robert L. True, MD
Grapevine OB/GYN
4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Cosmetic Surgeon For Labial And Any Other Genital Procedures

Thank you for your question.  Labiaplasty should be performed by a surgeon experienced in genital cosmetic surgery.  The
cosmetic surgeon will be able to discuss the options after a thorough
examination and provide the options to satisfy your specific goals.I wish you the best.     Jeffrey S. Palmer, MD, FACS, FAAP (Cosmetic Urologist)

Jeffrey S. Palmer, MD, FACS, FAAP
Cleveland Urologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Look for a labiaplasty expert to provide labiaplasty, not a regular gynecologist or plastic surgeon

Expertise in labiaplasty is not part of the training or board certification in gynecology or plastic surgery. Labiaplasty experts might be from these specialties, but look specifically for surgeons with extensive experience in labiaplasty. A surgeon who is untrained in these procedures will leave you botched regardless of how well they perform other surgeries and will know nothing useful about options or recommendations. If you're a minor, your parent(s) must accompany you for any consultation, so you'll have to break the news to them yourself.

DON'T ASK YOUR GYNECOLOGIST about labiaplasty surgery; the odds for mutilation are too great!

Hello "Kurolask,"
I understand your predicament; I have operated on many young women who come in by themselves or usually with their moms. It can be real hard to broach the subject with a parent but I've found, after the initial jitteriness and mom's incredulous reaction, that moms usually "get it" and are supportive.
WHO TO SEE??! See either an experienced cosmetic gynecologist or experienced plastic surgeon. See only someone (NOT your usual Gyn..!) who has a website and can PROVE via at least 20 or more "before or after" photos that they are VERY EXPERIENCED. Unfortunately, gynecologists ARE NOT Trained in the fine points of either plastic surgery or labiaplasty in their training and, unless they have either performed many, or can show you the certificate of a training program, the odds of them BOTCHING the surgery, amputating your labia, and leaving your enlarged hood just "...hanging there..." are too great to chance. Go for experience! You may navigate the website accessed by the weblink-- lots of info in the blogs and elsewhere. I have attached an article I was asked to write for a Sexual Medicine journal; you can also see lots of "B&A" photos. Hope this helps...

Best,
Michael P Goodman, MDDavis, CA, USA

Should I ask my gynecologist about options for labiaplasty?

Although a gynecologist is a great place to start the discussion of labiaplasty, they would not likely be performing your surgery. An evaluation by a board certified surgeon, who specializes in labiaplasty, is recommended in order to achieve the results your desire.  At your visit your surgeon will discuss the procedure and surgical options available to you.  See our link below for more information regarding the procedure.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.