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Labiaplasty – what you need to know


The term ‘designer vagina’ will appear a lot in media features about labiaplasty. Not only is the term misleading*, but it will often feature in a heated debate questioning why a woman should choose to undergo a cosmetic procedure on her most intimate body parts, without first trying to understand the reasons for why so many do. In the last decade there has been a significant growth in demand for labiaplasty.

*(It is anatomically incorrect to refer to it this way, because the procedure is performed on the labia – the female external genitalia, not the vagina – the birth canal).

In this feature, we will consider those reasons, explain what labiaplasty involves and offer reassurance to women who want to find out more.

Women in fact, will opt to have a labiaplasty for a range of medical, practical and cosmetic reasons.

What is labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is the surgical enhancement of the appearance of the labia majora (outer lips) or labia minora (inner lips) of the external genitalia. The procedures include labia minora reduction, labia majora augmentation (using fillers), lifting, clitoral hood reduction, among other procedures.

Why might a woman consider getting a labiaplasty?

For various reasons, but mainly to reduce the size of the labia, improve their appearance or symmetry, or reduce discomfort. Let’s consider some of the main reasons why a woman might seek labiaplasty treatment:

  • Enlargement: sometimes due to a congenital condition, or after childbirth or hormone treatment, the labia enlarge and protrude, causing discomfort and pain that can lead to irritation and sometimes, in more serious cases, infection.
  • Inability to exercise without discomfort: enlarged labia can interfere with cycling, running, walking and participating in other healthy activities, like swimming and yoga. Women who enjoy active lifestyles will benefit from the procedure.
  • Difficulties wearing tight-fitting clothing: protruding labia will cause discomfort for women wearing swimming costumes, close-fitting gym gear, cycling shorts, and even tight jeans.
  • Sexual: enlarged labia can interfere with a woman’s sex life, cause painful intercourse, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem and prevent her from enjoying intimacy with her partner.
  • Psychological impact: if the appearance and size of the labia are problematic, this will almost certainly harm a woman’s self-confidence and her ability to participate in an active sex life, or healthy lifestyle.

What does the procedure involve?

The Gynaecare clinic labiaplasty procedure can, depending on the individual woman’s needs, be used to reshape the labia minora (the inner lips) and/or the labia majora (outer lips).

It’s straightforward, using the latest surgical technology and expertise and takes between 1-2 hours. Patients will be given either a general anaesthetic or local anaesthesia with sedation and are able to go home the same day. Recovery time is short, between 3-5 days and there are no stitches or dressings.

Please visit our labiaplasty webpage for more detailed information on what the
procedures involve. It also includes a helpful FAQ section.

Why choose Gynaecare?

Our clinic is headed by Mr David Ogutu, a consultant gynaecologist and a world renowned expert in his field. He is an accredited senior member of the European Society of Aesthetic Gynaecologists (ESAGS).

Mr Ogutu provides holistic care, not only dealing with your cosmetic and sexual function needs but also your general and gynaecological health. Treatments are tailored to meet the needs of the individual woman, after a full consultation.

There is a lot of misinformation that might lead a woman to think there’s only one ‘normal’ appearance when in fact there’s significant natural variation between the appearances of different women’s labia. Unsurprising then, that some women will feel confused about what is ‘normal’ and might feel anxious. In line with the advice from the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, Gynaecare provides psychological and emotional support through a qualified psychologist and will refer patients who might need additional support.

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