Protruding vulva

protruding vulvaFirstly, I’m so glad I found this page. I used to scroll through ‘real self’ to find images that would reassure me that my vulva was normal yet everyone on that website wanted theirs to change. Here I’ve learnt that actually not everyone with a visible / protruding vulva wants it altered. I’m 22 and I have always had one labia minora longer than the other, yet over the last year or so it has started to hang lower than my outer labia. At the same time, over the last 12 months excess skin has appeared next to my clitoris- separate from the hood. This is constantly visible which I’ve never had before and I’ve struggled coming to terms with it. (It’s also starting to happen on the other side). I used to have the implant (implanon) and I noticed the changes a few months after I took the implant out and changed to the combined pill. Is there any chance that an increase in oestrogen levels could have caused the excess growth? I also entered into a serious relationship at the same time I noticed the difference and wondered if because I was having sex more than once a day it could have affected the skin sounding my vulva. I ask myself these questions everyday and often blame taking the pill or the way I have sex on this new altered appearance. Are my lifestyle changes purely coincidental or the cause of this new excess skin? My boyfriend says it’s normal and it doesn’t seem to bother him but it really affects me. Not only in appearance but also comfort. I have a longer SUPER SENSITIVE left Labia which means that it’s constantly rubbing on clothes and I can feel it from the moment I get out of bed to the moment I get back in. Sitting down, walking or running I can feel it, while it isn’t painful it is uncomfortable and reminds me that it’s there and it’s not attractive. Most of my friends have very tucked up vaginas and I’m constantly wondering if they have to go through the same discomfort as myself and others with protruding labia. I’ll consider surgery depending on whether the excess skin continues to grow or my labia get longer. Right now it’s manageable but I’m at breaking point. I just hate how uncomfortable I always am!! This website has been incredible and i appreciate the chance to share my thoughts. I’ve come to realise that all vulvas are beautiful in their own right, and it’s so sad that we all have these complexes. Xxx

Thank you for sharing your story and picture.

It is normal for the vulva to undergo changes throughout a woman’s lifetime, and labia growth can happen at different points and for different reasons. Very often, these changes happen during puberty or pregnancy, but they can also happen due to changes in hormone levels. Changes in medication which alters hormonal levels can contribute to these changes, so changes in estrogen levels might account for the changes that you have experienced.

Sexual intercourse, even if very frequent, does not result in permanent changes to the vulva or its anatomy, so having sex more than once a day with your boyfriend would not be the cause of this.

With regard to the sensitivity which is causing discomfort, my advice is to experiment with different types of underwear, as the fabric used in the underwear that you are wearing my be causing excessive chafing / rubbing which may be contributing to the sensitivity. You may wish to try underwear made of thinner, more elastic fabric.

Please don’t rush into a decision to undergo surgery. Based on your picture, there is nothing abnormal or unattractive about your vulva, and surgery should not be easily resorted to and can sometimes cause problems later in life. Please see this recent submission which describes some of the problems that may be caused.

I hope this helps.

Clare xo

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