WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Video

Voice Over: 23 year old Claire came to the Embarrassing Bodies clinic concerned because the size of her labia was causing recurrent problems with infection as well as physical and emotional discomfort.

Claire: I have really bad dreams sometimes that I am just so sick of it that I end up cutting it off.

Voice Over: Dr Christian referred Claire to see surgeon Ms Angelica Kavouni to see if she could help.

Ms Kavouni: There is a procedure where we can reduce the size; it is usually done under a light anaesthetic. It is called a labiaplasty or a reduction of the labia minora and basically it means removing the excess skin using a very fine laser and then using some very fine sutures in order to close the wound. It feels somewhat sore so we have to give you some pain killers and also we have to recover you with some antibiotics in order to avoid any infections in the area.

Claire: Once it’s all healed will it look normal?

Ms Kavouni: During the healing phase there is some swelling and bruising and the skin will feel somewhat thickened but that’s not a permanent thing, it does settle down after approximately 4 to 6 weeks and after that it’s not really noticeable.

Claire: I’m relieved, I am so relieved that there’s something I can do about this and that I can just feel like it’s normal for once, it’s really made me happy.

Ms Kavouni: There is a fair amount of skin protruding so I think the procedure is going to make you quite happy, there’s going to be quite a big change.

Voiceover: Claire has taken the difficult decision to have surgery to reduce the size of her labia. She’ll undergo a labiaplasty procedure which can be performed to correct damage caused during childbirth or because the size causes pain during exercise or sexual activity which can lead to low self-esteem.

Ms Kavouni: There is a degree of asymmetry between the 2 sides and also on the right side there is an extra fold that goes up to the clitoris that creates even more bulkiness on that side. So, we’ll try to reduce both sides and make them more symmetrical.

Voiceover: Having put Claire under using a general anaesthetic, Ms Kavouni begins by removing a fold from Claire’s labial area. The excess tissue is removed.

Ms Kavouni: The procedure has become increasingly popular. It’s not common that it’s just a cosmetic procedure, usually there are functional reasons as well and these vary. They have to do with the type of clothing that one wears or how easy it is to do certain sports. It’s quite painful, it’s a piece of tissue that is under pressure and gets pulled and it hurts. Of course it has a major impact on their confidence as well. There have been some concerns, comparing this procedure with female circumcision or other mutilating type of procedures performed by some cultures. It is very clear from this operation itself that one has nothing to do with the other and there is a specific aim of reducing the size of the inner labia in order to increase the comfort that the patient feels.

Voiceover: Next the wound is cauterised to minimise bleeding. Finally, the affected area is stitched up using dissolvable stitches which will help to aid the healing process and avoid an uncomfortable removal procedure.

Ms Kavouni: Now that the extra tissue has been removed they look a lot more symmetrical in terms of size and also it is going to be a lot more comfortable for her. There is considerable swelling and bruising for possibly I would say the first 2 weeks so it’s quite important that she rests. After that it should be OK, most patients are absolutely fine after that.
Claire had a very valid reason for having this operation because there was a lot of excess tissue that was causing her discomfort and affecting her confidence and I’m sure she will be very pleased with her results.

Voiceover: A few months later Claire is back at the clinic to give Dr Christian an update.

Dr Christian: So Claire it’s been what, I think 3 months since you had your operation? All has healed well? It went ok?

Claire: Yeah, absolutely fine. I expected quite a bit of pain but it was only sore for a couple days and pain free.

Dr Christian: And all went according to plan? So, no complications afterwards?

Claire: No, everything was absolutely fine.

Dr Christian: Really, one of the main problems you were having was that you were getting recurrent fungal infections and thrush infections, probably you thought because of this condition. Has that now stopped?

Claire: Since it’s been healed I haven’t had any problems.

Dr Christian: You’ve had nothing since?

Claire: Nothing.

Dr Christian: Well, that’s a good sign. Whereas before you might well have had a few in that time.

Claire: Probably about 3 or so.

Dr Christian: Really? Well that’s good, that’s definitely good. Are you happy with how it looks?

Claire: Yes.

Dr Christian: Because I think psychologically you were very upset and disturbed by the way you looked down below. Has that all now gone?

Claire: I feel a lot more confident now. I found that before it was an area that I would probably look at maybe 3 or 4 times a day when I was going to the toilet and before I was like ‘I can’t stand it’ and ‘I don’t like it’ but now all that’s gone away and I feel a lot better.

Dr Christian: It’s not an issue for you anymore?

Claire: It’s not an issue at all.

Dr Christian: Now listen I want to have a quick look just to make sure it really has all healed up and got better. Do you want to go over to the couch and I will get some gloves, ok?

Dr Christian: All right, let’s have a quick look. Ah, that’s a big difference from how it was before, isn’t it? The first and most obvious thing that I notice is actually now you have pretty good symmetry between the two sides, whereas before when we met the right labia was much, much longer than the left, wasn’t it? But I think over and above that actually is how you are. Psychologically you seem much happier and much more confident with your body.

Claire: Yes.

Dr Christian: And that’s the result that you wanted?

Claire: Definitely.

Dr Christian: Then that’s a good result for me. I’m happy.

Read the video transcript

23 year old Claire came to the Embarrassing Bodies clinic concerned because the size of her labia was causing recurrent problems with infection as well as physical and emotional discomfort.

Patient Name: Claire Webb
Condition: Enlarged labia minora
Specialist: Ms Angelica Kavouni, Cosmetic Surgeon
Location: Cadogan Clinic, London
Length of Operation: Approx 45 minutes

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites

Did you find this useful? YesYes NoNo

575 of 631 people said they found this useful

Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

This week I have noticed a few raised little pustule type spots on my labia ,I take a shower every morning but at the moment I have decided to take a warm bath in the evening too. I am 58 I am thinking of waiting a week to see if it goes away. I have only ever had one partner,could it be I am to rough when drying down there.My periods stopped at 52 with no problems.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I'm in my third trimester and about to give birth and my labia is getting big is not like that before and it is not giving me any pain





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am 15 and one of my lips is way bigger than the other, when i wear tight underwear and stuff it rubbs and its quite painful. Also, when i sit down it hurts sometimes too. And i know i wont be having sex until i am atleast 16 and even then, i don't see myself having sex for quite a while, i worry about when i do. It looks disgusting so what if he/she (i am bisexual) doesn't like it? What would happen if i went to the doctors to ask about it and ask about what i can do? Will they tell my parents? And what can they even do?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Basically it's like this, girls. You will only have a chance of getting a labioplasty on the NHS if the size is causing PHYSICAL problems - pain, irritation, infections etc. Even then it will be a bit of a postcode lottery depending on the attitude of your GP or specialist. If it's just for cosmetic reasons (you don't like the look of it) then get ready to go private and stump up £2000-£4000.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am sixty four and luckily went to a doctor very many years ago for a pre marriage check up. I had been worrying about my labia but without my saying anything she said 'it all looks very normal down there'. And that is what we are seeing in the comments. It is that many people do not have a 'problem', they have normal variously formed labia. I suggest pretty cotton, properly gusseted knickers and trousers that are cut to fit properly around and under the backside. Finally, please remember that the labia becomes wonderfully engorged during sex in a way that enhances sexual sensation considerably. I am personally grateful that my early sexual adventures were not haunted by the devotees of the hairless monsters we call pornstars, but by sensitive, normal men.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am 20 years old and my labias have always been large but now since I'm older they cause me pain and discomfort. Is it still considered cosmetic surgery if I am in pain due to my condition? Also, to get the surgery do I have to be referred to a specialist from my doctor?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

hi got the same problem, so will i be able to get pregnant after such labia plasti surgery?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I'm 18 and I have the same problem, I've never let someone go down on me and I hide my bits during sex incase my partner sees, we've been together 14months now and I wanna be able to feel like myself but I can't I gotta hide myself, the hood of my clit is on show too and it just makes me feel so down all the time. It's not nice not being able to wear nice underwear and have the fun in the bedroom but I can't. its making my partner feel he's not good enough or that I'm not comfortable infront of him which I am just not in underwear, sex or anything. We seem to ruck about it quite a lot. Me and my partner are very sexual people to so not to be able todo the things I'd like is hard. I don't wanna tell my boyfriend why I'm so uncomfortable but I don't want him to leave as I know he's had a few girls in the past. I can't have the normal experience most couples do. Any advice? i need help





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Im so depressed with my hanging labia. It hangs down and is visable when standing it sticks out from the front and is horrible. Im only 18 and i have started taking drugs to block the pain out. It rubs on my clothes and gets sore and itchy and it gets squashed when i sit down! I have no confidence at all and im going of sex because i cant enjoy it im always worrying and crying inside :( i want to exerciseand get healthy but i sweat alot down there and have to wash like 4 times a day and get thrush alot. Im going to my gp tommorow to see if she will refer me to nhs but im so scaredshe will say no. I would be so upset and will get urges to cut them of myswlf like i tried to before.. what can i do if she refuses me to the nhs?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi, I'm nearly 17 and my Libiya is large, I'm a Dancer so I can wear leotards which is going to stop me having a career because I'm so conscious about what I wear and obviously when you dance, we have to wear very small amounts of clothes, that's tight.I haven't done anything with a lad because I'm so scared of what they will think. Some people have said it causes pain during sexual activities such as sex. My Libiya lips are very painful as they rub against my clothing (pants and leotard). I have tried to cut it off myself as it is at painful and itchy, it is also very red as I scratch it a lot because of the itchiness. It has made me depressed to think I'm not 'normal' and I would like it removed!!!!! the 'NHS' are stupid because they won't remove it for me. But yet do not understand how myself and others feel! Especially me being a dancer and wearing the type of clothes a show it off. A HUGE buldge in my pants and leotard, not attractive for someone who's on stage everyday of their life. Does anyone know where I can get it removed at a cheap price? Please I wold dearly love some help and advice! I would go on embarrassing bodies but I'm too embarrassed to admit it to the Reston the world of alone myself :( please help me





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi there I have the problem and I went to my doctor and they sent me to see some one at the clinic and you can have it done on the nhs.don't feel alone go see you doctor


More Information

  1. Doctor Responses: Enlarged Labia

    In Videos - Dr Pixie answers your most frequently asked questions about enlarge…

  2. Consultation: Enlarged Labia

    In Videos - A woman comes to see Dr McKenna about her enlarged labia.

  3. How To Check Your Vulva

    In Videos - Dr Harper's guide to how to self-check your vulva against vulval ca…

  4. Vaginas

    In Episodes - The EI team roll into Norwich to setup a clinic in one of the count…

  5. Doctor Responses: Vaginal Discharge

    In Videos - Dr Pixie answers your most frequently asked questions about vaginal…

  6. Enlarged Tongue

    In Conditions - An enlarged tongue could be caused by a large number of medical pro…

  7. Doctor Responses: Female Sexual Dysfunction

    In Videos - Dr Dawn frankly and honestly answers your questions about female se…

  8. Vulvodynia

    In Conditions - This unpleasant condition causes chronic pain and discomfort in the…

  9. Vaginal Tearing

    In Conditions - A vaginal tear most commonly occurs during the birth of a baby, whe…

  10. Boils

    In Conditions - A boil is an inflamed swelling normally caused by infection to the…

  11. Enlarged Labia

    In Conditions - Many women are born with larger or more noticeably asymmetric labia…

  12. Pilonidal Sinus

    In Conditions - This condition is more common than some might think, and is caused…

  13. Shingles

    In Conditions - Shingles is a skin rash that is caused by the chickenpox virus, and…

  14. Palmar Plantar Psoriasis

    In Conditions - Palmar-Plantar Psoriasis also known as hand and foot psoriasis is a…

  15. Lichen Aureus

    In Conditions - This is a chronic skin condition that results in yellowish or golde…


Am I Normal?

Share, explore, vote, watch… Am I Normal? is a bold new Channel 4 project that will redefine what you think of as ‘normal’.

Visit Am I Normal? >

Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here