On a weekly basis, the Bella Vou clinic is seeing women who suffer from enlarged labia and are looking for a solution. They come to our clinic for a number of reasons, which might be because they don’t like the appearance, they suffer labial irritation through normal daily activities, they have difficulty keeping the labial area clean or they are experiencing discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse, sports or other vigorous activities.
If any of these ring true for you, you might be thinking of making an appointment to discuss labiaplasty (shortening or reshaping the vaginal lips) but are hesitating because you are unsure of what happens in the consultation, so we wanted to talk you through this as this should not be a barrier to you feeling happy and confident with your body.
The first, and most important thing, to remember when you attend your consultation for labiaplasty, is that your vagina and vulva are not abnormal. They are part of your anatomy and will fall within the spectrum of ‘normal’ that our doctors see on a weekly basis. Some women are born with large, thick or irregular labia. Others may develop large labia after giving birth or as they age. Just because you may not like the look of them, or they may be causing you discomfort, this does not make them abnormal or anything to be ashamed of. Everyone knows that women come in all shapes and sizes, and this is as true for vaginas and vulvas as it is for hips and breasts.
The key point to focus on is that, if it bothers you, we can discuss ways in which something can be done to help, and that is why the consultation is so important. You will meet with our surgeon – Dr Rohit Seth, who will listen to your concerns. The surgeon will examine your genital area to see which procedure would be the most effective. You will have a chaperone present during this examination. You will need to remove your clothes from the waist down, so it is best to wear clothes which are loose or easily removed.
Following the examination, the doctor will have a good understanding of your requirements and so will be able talk you through the surgical and non-surgical approaches that are best suited to achieve the result you are looking for. Usually, our surgical options are done as day cases, under local anaesthetic, with the procedure lasting about an hour or hour and a half, depending on what is being carried out.
Some of the options that your Bella Vou consultant will discuss with you include:
- Clitorial hood reduction reducing the length and projection of the skin around the clitoris, this surgery is also known as a hoodectomy.
- Labiaplasty (labia reduction) removes the excess tissue to keep the size, shape and colour symmetrical and looking natural with scars hidden within the natural folds of skin, resulting in a defined and neatly shaped labia.
- Labia majora reduction – addresses the outer labial lip tissue to either reduce the size or improve its contour.
If you do have a surgical procedure, the wound is closed with absorbable sutures and a vaseline based dressing with impregnated antibiotics is applied. Most patients experience only mild swelling and little to no discomfort, and most return to work in 7 to 10 days. You will also be given a course of antibiotics after surgery and, depending on your level of discomfort, you may also wish to take some ibuprofen and/or paracetamol.
You can resume most normal activities as and when you feel comfortable, although we recommend that you avoid any heavy lifting, over-bending and over-stretching for at least two weeks, and intercourse for four weeks. Exercising, other than walking, is also not advised in the first two weeks post procedure, but you should be back to your normal exercise routine by 2 weeks after surgery. By 6 weeks, you should be back to your normal, everyday life.
It is essential that you eat and drink as normal post procedure. A nutritionally balanced diet is essential for good wound healing and keeping well hydrated will assist in your recovery. You should refrain from intercourse and masturbation for a period of at least 4 weeks post procedure or until it feels comfortable to resume.
You will meet up again with the Bella Vou surgical team for a follow up at around 5-7 days who will review you and how you are healing, as well as answering any additional questions you may have. We are very focused on making sure your journey with us is as smooth and trouble free as possible. We will provide you with after-care instructions, and ensure you are closely followed up by our clinical team.
We hope this has given you the confidence to go ahead and make your consultation booking. You can do this direct on our website by requesting a consultation or calling us on 01892 257 357 and of course, if there are any unanswered questions, you can raise these with our staff directly.
Jemma underwent a labiaplasty procedure at Bella Vou, and shares her experience:
It was having a real impact on my life and my self-esteem, my confidence, which is what lead me to coming to Bella Vou. I had a labiaplasty because I’m a Zumba instructor and I used to find myself in a lot of discomfort. Also, I found I didn’t really want to be intimate with my partner. When I arrived for my initial consultation at Bella Vou, as soon as I walked in everything just felt right; everybody was lovely, I felt at home and at ease with everything. My relationship is now back on track, which is amazing.