What Causes a Labia to Become Oversized?

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What Causes a Labia to Become Oversized?

If you can’t name the different outer parts of female genitalia, you’re not alone. A British study found that only 9% of those who took part in the survey were able to identify external female genital parts correctly. So, here’s a brief lesson. 

The outer part of the vagina is called the vulva; it contains two sets of lips that protect the internal parts of the reproductive system. 

The outer lips are called the labia majora, and the inner lips are the labia minora. Like other parts of our bodies, these lips come in different sizes and shapes. However, some women experience a condition called labial hypertrophy, where the labia minora become enlarged or oversized. 

If you experience discomfort and pain due to this condition, board-certified UROGYN Jeffrey Hanes, MD, of Female Health Associates of North Texas in Fort Worth, Texas, can help. Here, Dr. Hantes explains some of the reasons that may contribute to oversized labia minora.


Hormones fluctuate during a woman’s life. During puberty and also childbirth, estrogen production increases and fluctuates. This fluctuation or boost may contribute to swelling of the inner labia and cause them to grow. This swelling can be temporary. 


Your genetics can influence the size and shape of various body parts, including the labia. Some women may inherit a predisposition to labial hypertrophy from their mothers. Others are just born with large labia.

Chronic irritation and inflammation

Wearing tight clothes that rub against your labia can cause temporary irritation and inflammation. If you repeatedly wear tight garments or irritate the delicate skin around your labia in other ways, such as cycling, horseback riding, or excessive scrubbing, you can cause chronic inflammation. Conversely, labial hypertrophy can also cause irritation. 


As you age, you undergo hormonal changes, including a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause. These hormonal fluctuations can cause the labia to lose elasticity and volume, resulting in a perception of enlargement or looseness. While age-related changes are not technically labial hypertrophy, you can develop similar symptoms and also become dissatisfied with the appearance of your genitalia.

In some cases, labial hypertrophy does not cause any pain, discomfort, or embarrassment. But if the condition affects you, Dr. Hanes can discuss your treatment options that can relieve your symptoms.

If you have oversized labia and would like to schedule a consultation, call Female Health Associates of North Texas, today or book an appointment online.