Is my labia normal?
Dangly or tightly tucked, wrinkled or smooth, thick or thin- our labia (or vaginal lips!) come in all different shapes and sizes. And like any of our beautiful body parts, the way our inner and outer labia looks and feels is all part of our genetic makeup. The question of `is my labia normal? ` isn’t one we’d expect you to feel comfortable asking though, or even Googling! That’s why we’ve created this guide to different types of labia.
What is a normal labia?
Some women think most vaginas look a certain way- and this is not true at all. Just like the way in which the size, shape or girth of men’s private parts vary, so do women’s! The most common differences in the labia are the shape and size, however the thickness and colour of them varies too.
Here are the 8 most common types of labia:
1. Asymmetrical or uneven lips
Some women are conscious of their vaginal lips being different lengths. One may be tucked tightly towards the vagina, while the other hangs down a little. Just like eyebrows, some labias thrive best as sisters and not twins!
2. Curved outer lips
Other women have curved vaginal lips, best described as a `flower`. Pretty as these labias may be, you might feel conscious that your vagina looks too wide, and prefer a slightly slinkier version.
3. Prominent inner lips
Sometimes the inner lips of the labia hang below the outer lips, which may cause discomfort in some women. There’s no such thing as a perfection proportion, though!
4. Prominent outer lips
On the flip side, some women have slightly loose outer lips, keeping the inside of the vagina hidden like a little pocket.
5. Long outer lips
The outer lips can also be longer and may even brush against the legs, but not necessarily stick or bulge out. Again, this is completely normal and you shouldn’t be afraid to embrace your extra length!
6. Small open lips
Lots of women have small, petite lips which leave the rest of the vagina still visible.
7. Small closed lips
Lots of other women have tiny vaginal lips that conceal the vagina completely.
8. Visible or enlarged inner lips
Last but not least, some women have enlarged inner lips that may cause physical discomfort, since more of the sensitive vaginal skin is exposed.
What is an abnormal labia?
You’ll be happy to know that every labia is a normal labia! However, some women have enlarged or uneven vaginal lips which may cause them physical or emotional discomfort, which they may recognise as `abnormal` compared to other women. If the size or shape of your labia is interfering with your everyday life or even reducing the quality of activities you enjoy, it’s time to think about whether you’d like an expert to take a look. This may be especially true if the appearance or feel of your labia has changed in recent years and you’d like your old labia back!
What are the side effects of having an abnormal labia?
If you have an enlarged or uneven labia, you may be experiencing discomfort while doing certain activities. Although these are nothing to worry about, they may be bothering you nonetheless:
· Your labia may rub against clothes, causing redness and irritation
· Exercise such as cycling, running or walking may be slightly painful
· Sex may be uncomfortable or embarrassing
What if my labia changes in appearance?
Most vaginal lips stay the same throughout our lives, and if yours is enlarged or uneven, it could be due to genetics. However, there are a few reasons why your labia might have changed in appearance over the years- and that’s OK too! Here are some common reasons as to why your labia may be bigger or longer than it used to be:
· Vaginal irritation
· Sexual intercourse
If you experience symptoms along with a change in the appearance of your labia, particularly vaginal irritation, it’s always best to consult your GP to check there are no underlying conditions to think about.
What can I do to change the appearance of my labia?
Whatever your labia type, know that yours is beautiful and should be celebrated for being unique. Think of your vaginal lips as a fingerprint- no other woman has the same design as you! This being said, we understand that some women are not comfortable with the physical look or feel of their inner or outer labia. And for some, the size or shape of their labia can have a negative impact on activities they’d normally enjoy doing- such as exercising, having sex or even wearing bikinis and tight-fitting clothes.
For those women, there is an option to undergo labiaplasty surgery. Labiaplasty, otherwise known as labia reduction, involves surgically changing the appearance of your inner or outer lips- making them smaller, shorter or tucking them neatly away.