Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Has anyone ever had a labiaplasty on the NHS?

(18 Posts)
VivianDarkbloom Thu 21-Jun-12 14:52:56

This is a bit embarrassing.

My labia minora have always been a bit on the large size. For almost as long as I can remember I've had to actively, erm, "tuck them in" so they don't rub on my knickers. If ever they escape and start rubbing it's truly horrible. (I sometimes have to discreetly adjust in public, and always hope that if anyone sees they think I'm just adjusting my pants and not my actual vagine...)

Anyway, t'other day I got off a 'plane feeling very fuzzy having half-slept all the way, went to the loo in the baggage concourse thing, pulled my pants down and - OUCH. I don't know what happened, but I think my gusset had stuck and it really stung, and continued to for a couple of days afterwards.

I just snapped. I'm sick of it. It seems to be getting worse for some reason - or maybe it's just that now I know it isn't "normal" I am losing patience. I am finding it increasingly difficult to ride a bike, and sometimes sex is a problem (although that isn't such a concern yet).

Thing is, I know that this is controversial at the moment with the whole Designer Vagina thing going around. But has anyone done this on the NHS for comfort reasons? What were your experiences?

Sneezecakesmama Thu 21-Jun-12 21:57:36

No personal experience, but I doubt whether this would be considered on the nhs, with reduced funds this would be regarded as cosmetic. Try your gp anyway, you may be in an area with a good postcode lottery outcome. I feel it should be done as it can obviously make life difficult for you, but you may need to start saving.

foofcalamity Thu 21-Jun-12 22:48:39

Yes I did, last autumn, will pm you with a proper letter, but have been through what you're describing. Try your GP first, see if they can refer you to a gynae or vulval skin clinic, my GP asked burns/plastics for advice as well as far as I remember... It can be a struggle but in severe and painful cases they will generally help, it can be classed (so I was told) as a deformity/medical problem that needs treating if severe enough xx

workshy Thu 21-Jun-12 22:52:04

they will do this on the NHS if it is severe enough

I believe the criteria is along the lines of...
interferes with sex
interferes with clothing
visible when standing
causing psychological distress

it can be hard to get the GP to take you seriously though

foofcalamity Thu 21-Jun-12 23:01:06

RE; labiaplasty - I've just sat saying "Yes, yes, that was me!"
I was born with abnormally large labia. Initially I had labia adhesion but this separated naturally at puberty. The one labia was fairly OK, it was certainly bigger in proportion to everything else though and I did have a lot of excema, urine infections etc. When they naturally separated at puberty, my problems doubled overnight – literally – and I went through a lot of the same as you’re writing.
The slipping out, not being able to wear tights or knickers with lace etc, running to shop changing rooms just to adjust, having to bend forward/squat (as if picking up something) in the street so everything would fall naturally into place again.. Crying with pain after prolonged standing or sitting, having to moisturise constantly with creams and emollients, the ends becoming cracked and split and bleeding (and then eventually going near enough see through as they were so damaged). My pants once became attached to the labia, I think the skin knitted its way through a tiny hole and the skin swelled up outside. I was in agony, light headed. Ended up having to get DM to remove the pants with scissors.
It’s hell and I really want to give you a hug as I know what you’re going through, it’s a pain quite unlike any other I’ve experienced. With me the clitoral hood was apparently too big as well – it was all damaged and covered in teeny fissures which bled/stung and caused problems with sexual functioning as clitoris was very well buried. Also had major problems with period time!
Labiaplasty was apparently first discussed as an option when I was three, the GP at the time saying it was an op I’d need when older. At 17 a GP refered me to a gynaecologist who was insistent lagre labia were normal. I had further repeated appts from 17 – 20 with the same doctor, as well as numerous GPs for checkups, A&E trips with very swollen/sore/peeling skin etc..
Enough was enough for me after one night when I was sitting down watching TV, stood up and was overcome with a pain there, ran to the toilet and realised I was bleeding as a hair had gotten caught. I ended up writing my GP a two page letter asking for help. Was refered to a gynaecologist again last summer, who asked me to write down every medication and treatment I had ever tried – an A4 page worth. One examination later and she said that I was getting a labiaplasty, no questioning – she was horrified that it hadn’t been done sooner.
It was a two/three month waiting list – the appt was at the end of August, the operation was scheduled for October. It was done through a spinal – same as an epidural, numb from belly button down. Was an eventful surgery apparently as I took a weird reaction to midazolam (became very anxious and confused) but was done. Had twenty/twenty five dissolving stitches. Was kept in for 24 hours as I couldn’t walk until 7pm, was given a local anaesthetic whilst under the spinal for pain management , and was loaded up with strong pain meds for the night. I was told in some cases ladies do have to stay a while and might be given morphine/catheter etc (I had to pack enough for a week) but on the other hand they also said some people are out the same day!
It was sore, I won’t lie and it did swell. I felt like I was carrying a football between my legs.. A lot of fluid accumulates, a lot though because they inject the labia first with some to make them swell apparently..
Recovery was quite fast – vulval skin is quite like the mouth and heals well if left to it. Pouring salty water on whilst weeing did help a lot, as did airing the stitches for half an hour or so each day... Bepanthen was fantastic as well, helped the stitches when they were tightening. Had daily nurse checkups for a week and had a bit of an odd discharge. They said there was quite a high risk of infection but that never happened... The stitches did have to be removed by a nurse at my doctors’ but that was due to my discomfort more than anything. Even that, whilst a bit sore, was simple and over in a few minutes.
Almost a year on, I’m still amazed with the results. I was warned about the risks of scarring and nerve damage. I did suffer some pain on the scars to begin with (very natural and normal looking) and did suffer some temporary desensitisation, however that has over time gradually returned to normal. Amazing relief not to have to adjust etc and to be honest, looks a bitty nicer too as there’s no longer that bit “hanging”!
It really really is worth asking for help, as I posted on thread speak to your GP first who should then refer you onto a specialist for more advice. Tell them about your worst day, keep a diary even of how often you feel it etc (my own GP said she empathised as she had similar which helped with getting good referral letters etc), hopefully that should help with getting them to listen!
Hope I’ve helped xxxx

foofcalamity Thu 21-Jun-12 23:01:51

Damn that went wrong, ah well, that was meant to be a PM.. woops but oh well, you'll still see it here! xxx

I have a similar problem,
can't sit on a bike. underwear hurts,sex can be embarrassing for me, they ‘hang', I feel they are causing hygiene problems too even though I bathe twice a day I feel I'd need to bathe at least four, crazy I know,,
I feel your pain. it's supposed to be normal but I don't feel that way sad

VivianDarkbloom Fri 22-Jun-12 09:11:22

foof you're so kind to go into all that detail for me, I'm so touched! Sorry about the PM snafu grin but your account is really helpful and maybe it'll help someone else as well now it's public. I'm also really glad you shared because my situation doesn't sound nearly as bad as yours which makes me see how it could be seen as within the "normal" regions - for instance, although I do need to adjust whenever I dress and pee (and at odd moments during the day) that is usually sufficient that I haven't experienced bleeding like you, and as far as I can tell the skin isn't damaged. I can't believe they let you suffer for as long as you did, when there was such a short waiting list angry

liver I've had hygiene concerns too. I used to get thrush all the time, although that was helped by moving from tampons to a mooncup; and then by having the contraceptive injection so I didn't even need that. I always said that I found tampons and general internal protection really unhygienic, and a lot of my friends were a bit nonplussed. I do think that having a large labia makes you more sensitive to hygiene.

I agree,
I tend to sweat very easily ‘down there'
doing exercises etc so I'm put off by doing them, blush
I hope things turn out the way you hope,
I'm going to ask my gp about it next time i see her,
thanks for starting this thread smile

Butternutnut Wed 14-Aug-13 22:33:54

My dd has just (yesterday) had a labiaplasty on the NHS for similar reasons to above (except no sex problems as she is 16 and would not dream of letting a boy anywhere near her). Pain, inconvenience, underwear and clothing issues, vulval eczema (which may have led to the overgrowth of tissue). Anyhow early days, huge swelling, emergency 5 hour round trip (was referred by nhs to a 'sympathetic' gyny as unusual op on a teenager but even vulval eczema is unusual let alone this) to get adhesions that formed overnight separated .... Let's hope she is a bit better in the morning. Ah well a distraction from ds's A level results !!

najht Mon 04-Nov-13 17:04:31

I have been through this all too, and have been to my GP I just wondered if anyone could tell me about there experience? I am only young and am still scared and quite embarrassed too talk about it?

najht Mon 04-Nov-13 17:12:08

I aslo wondered how long you waited once the proses was approved?

mickey541 Wed 21-May-14 19:33:32

Hello foofcalamity I was wondering if you are still active ?

shouldnthavesaid Wed 21-May-14 22:21:41

Hi, yes I am - though I name changed for this thread initially, so the user names won't match smile but yes, still around smile

Poopi44 Tue 01-Jul-14 16:30:45

Hi there

I am 20 years old and so embarrassed about my vagina. I have the same issues with my labia and I can't bare it!! I have only been with two partners sexually because of this- and only after about 6-9 months of dating did I sleep with them as I just was so embarrassed, and wanted to make sure they didn't leave me after seeing how horrible it is down there. I too can only have sex with the lights off and quite a few times have asked 'him' to leave my knickers on as I feel they hold me in some what. I have never spoken about this to any one as it is just such a touchy and awkward subject. I have wanted to talk to my GP about it but when I get there I just freeze up and claim I'm there for a sore throat. I feel so ugly and I'm constantly worrying about what to wear as I don't want it to show or move around. I don't know what to do and I have read all your post a million times and wanted to write but I couldn't, but today I found some strength and just did it. If someone could give me some advice or help I'd greatly appreciate it, I feel as though my life is revolving around this issue.

Kindest Regards

summertimeandthelivingiseasy Tue 01-Jul-14 20:33:13

Poopi44 - check out this site:

largelabiaproject.org/

I have looked at so many labia on here, that they all look normal now - no need to be embarrassed.

poolweek1294 Thu 10-Jul-14 02:22:00

Hi guys, i've been looking all over the internet for answers to people having labiaplasty surgery on the NHS. can anyone help me please?? I'm desperate. Not going to go in to it to much but i was seeing if someone could point me in to the right direction, i need seriously answers and help. Would be much appreciated.

shouldnthavesaid Thu 10-Jul-14 21:29:59

You will really need to see your GP first - they can examine you, find out if there's a cause of your symptoms that can be managed a bit more conservatively. Be prepared to be asked to try some stuff like creams and that first.

If you have physical problems (e.g. pain and repeated infections) and your GP doesn't help, persist, ask to see another GP, referal to gynae, go to sexual health, etc etc and ask for help - no one should have to live in discomfort when it can be helped.

pm anytime - I name changed quite a while ago (I was foof calamity) but still here smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now