A labia specialist has revealed eight totally normal ways a vagina can look – including having asymmetrical or enlarged inner lips.
Plastic surgeon Ben Khoda, from the UK, told how each month 250 people in the UK search for ‘is my vagina normal?’, and with the topic being something you wouldn’t bring up with your friends or family, many turns to the internet to give them answers.
Dangly or tightly tucked, wrinkled or smooth, thick or thin – the labia (or vaginal lips) come in all different shapes and sizes.
And like any of our beautiful body parts, the way the inner and outer labia (vagina) looks and feels is all part of our genetic makeup.
‘It’s a common misconception that vaginas should look a certain way but, this is not true at all,’ explained Ben, who works at The Hospital Group.
‘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 eight most popular types of labia;
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!
It’s perfectly normal for one lip to be tucked tightly towards the vagina, while the other hangs down a little (pictured)
It’s perfectly normal for one lip to be tucked tightly towards the vagina, while the other hangs down a little.
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.
Many women have curved outer lips, which occasionally makes them conscious their vagina is too wide (pictured)
Many women have curved outer lips, which occasionally makes them conscious their vagina is too wide.
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!
It’s not unusual for the inner lips of the labia to hang below the outer lips (pictured)
It’s not unusual for the inner lips of the labia to hang below the outer lips.
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.
In stark contrast, some women have slightly loose outer lips (pictured)
In stark contrast, some women have slightly loose outer lips.
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 the extra length!
In some cases, outer lips may be so long they brush against the legs (pictured)
In some cases, outer lips may be so long they brush against the legs.
SMALL OPEN LIPS
Lots of women have small, petite lips which leave the rest of the vagina still visible.
Many woman have small lips, leaving the rest of the vagina still visible (pictured)
Many women have small lips, leaving the rest of the vagina still visible.
SMALL CLOSED LIPS
Lots of other women have tiny vaginal lips that conceal the vagina completely.
In others cases, women have vaginal lips that hide the vagina altogether
In other cases, women have vaginal lips that hide the vagina altogether.
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.
Visible or enlarged lips (pictured) may cause physical discomfort as more of the sensitive vaginal skin is exposed (pictured)
Visible or enlarged lips may cause physical discomfort as more of the sensitive vaginal skin is exposed.
Khoda said: “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.”
“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
“Most vaginal lips stay the same throughout our lives, and if yours is enlarged or uneven, it could be due to genetics.”
Ben said: “Vaginal irritation can over time change the appearance of the labia, this can come from the clothes we wear every day to the type of exercise that we take.
“It can also come from some more obvious but none the less important factors such as childbirth and sexual intercourse which can affect the way the vagina looks over time. These are are all totally normal and natural ways for the labia to change.
“Vaginal examination is understandably an area where women may feel anxious or worried about. We provide female chaperones and ensure that the examination is performed in suitable surroundings.”
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