My outside private parts “lips” (labia) are not equal in size. One side is bigger that the other. I feel like I have to hide even when I’m dressing. I’m so scared to go to my doctor as I’m not sure how to explain this. HELP!

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female gender symbolLabial hypertrophy (pronounced: lay-bee-al hi-per-tro-fee) is a long name that means the enlargement of the labia (sometimes called the vaginal lips). It is unclear what causes labial hypertrophy. For some unknown reason one or both of a young woman’s labia will grow larger than the average size or one side grows larger than the other side. It is NOT caused from masturbation and it is not a sexually transmitted infections (STI). There is nothing that you have done to cause this to happen.

Labia come in different shapes and sizes and all of the variations are NORMAL. The size or shape usually isn’t a problem and treatment (surgery) isn’t recommended unless there is major discomfort with certain activities (including intercourse). Some girls may feel upset if the enlarged labia cause irritation and limits the kinds of activities that can be done comfortably. It’s a good idea to talk to a parent or trusted adult and make an appointment with your health care provider to talk about your concerns.