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Obesity & Enlarged Labia / Labial Hypertrophy

By now, it’s clear that obesity affects just about every part of the body and causes significant physical and psychological ramifications. We commonly discuss the most visible of these concerns, but discussing areas of the body that hide behind our clothes is also important. Often concerning and rarely talked about is the likelihood of labial hypertrophy or excess labial tissue caused by excess weight and obesity.

Physical Concerns of Larger Labia

Excess or hanging labial tissue can be a significant concern for many women because of age, childbirth, genetics, and, you guessed it, obesity. While it may seem like a purely cosmetic concern, the fact is that it can cause physical and psychological effects. First and foremost is the concern around chafing that occurs because of the excess tissue. Many women must limit their sporting activities because vigorous motion can cause chafing and significant pain or discomfort. Similarly, some must concern themselves about what to wear because tight-fitting or revealing clothing like leggings or bathing suits can be uncomfortable, and labial tissue can cause an embarrassing bulge.

Psychological Concerns of Larger Labia

In addition to the physical concerns, for many patients, large labia cause psychological problems. Many women are concerned about their sex life as they are unsure what their partner may think. Even women with long-time partners can withdraw from sex in embarrassment or shame.

What We Can Do

Possibly the most upsetting part of all of this is that while men typically have an outlet for their sexual concerns – we’ve all seen the ads for various erectile dysfunction treatments – many female patients have suffered with their condition for a very long time. The medical community, in general, has not caught up to women’s sexual anesthetic needs the way that they have with men. Yet, there is a significant need for it.

Treating Excess Labial Skin

If you are on bariatric surgery corner, you are likely looking for options to lose some weight, and my first suggestion is only to consider treatment for excess labial tissue once you have reached a stable goal weight. This is because the labia consist of fat, and as you lose weight, this fat may redistribute and ultimately reshape the labia, for better or worse. The last thing you want is to have had the procedure only to see those results go away and the money wasted because you didn’t wait for the weight loss.

Whether you consider GLP-1 medication like Wegovy® or ZepBound™, bariatric surgery, or a combination of the two, we’d like to see you after you’ve made progress. With that said, when you’re ready, labiaplasties come in two flavors:

  1. First is surgical, which I perform most often since it offers the most dramatic results. A surgical labiaplasty comes in two forms: trim and wedge. When we see your anatomy and learn more about your goals and desired results, we will talk about the best option for you.
  2. For a patient not considering surgery, there is also the option of a non-surgical or scarless labiaplasty, which involves using targeted radio frequency waves to tighten the tissue and create a similar, albeit less dramatic result.

Of course, the decision as to whether you should have a labiaplasty should not be taken lightly. However, if you believe that concerns surrounding your labia are causing significant physical and emotional issues, which it does for many of my patients, we can discuss your options and develop a great solution together.

~ Dr. Shaya Taghechian

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