Labial Adhesions: What You Need to Know

Labial adhesions refer to the labial skin around a girl’s vagina becoming irritated and sticking together. The adhesions vary from a mild form which closes only part of the vaginal opening, to more severe cases where the entire vaginal opening is closed, leading to urine and vaginal secretion blockage. Labial adhesions are most common in girls between 3 months to 6 years old and the adhesions can continue until puberty.

It is unclear why some young girls develop labial adhesions. The condition may be associated with low levels of estrogen that girls normally have during childhood. Infant girls who have just been born don’t have labial adhesions because of high levels of estrogen passed from the mother during pregnancy. High levels of estrogen from puberty make it unlikely for menstruating girls to develop adhesions. Vulvar irritation can also result in the labia sticking together. Labial adhesions are usually not concerning, but should be treated. We may prescribe a cream to help the adhesions heal.

Symptoms of Labial Adhesions may Include:

Though labial adhesions may not always cause symptoms, symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the genital area
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urinary tract (bladder) infections

Diagnosing Labial Adhesions:

The primary way that labial adhesions are diagnosed is through an evaluation of the vulvar area and the vaginal opening.

Treatment Options for Labial Adhesions:

We understand that a labial adhesion diagnosis for your child may be difficult, however our doctors are here to help make you to feel at ease throughout the treatment process. Here are some things you can expect with the different treatment options:

  • Small or mild adhesions (those that do not cover the vaginal opening) may separate by themselves when your daughter reaches puberty.
  • Slightly larger or moderate adhesions (those covering the lower part of the vagina) may be treated with a mild emollient along with gentle separation twice a day for several weeks.
  • Significant adhesions (those covering the vaginal opening and often the urinary opening) are typically treated with an estrogen-containing cream. Significant adhesions may prevent normal vaginal secretions drainage, as well as impair urine flow.

We understand that processing this information may be difficult, but we are here to help you every step of the way to make this process more manageable. It is important that your doctor work with you to accurately diagnose your child’s symptoms and tailor a unique treatment plan to fit your specific needs. We at Western Michigan Urological Associates want to work with you to find the best option for you and your family. Ask Your Primary Care Provider for a Referral.