One Reddit User’s Poignant Story Of Having Labiaplasty Might Change The Way You Think About The Surgery

'Wearing a bikini was uncomfortable because sometimes my labia wouldn't "fit" in and I was afraid they'd stick out,' she wrote straight after coming out of hospital


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

It’s fair to say labiaplasty doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. ‘1 in 5 British women are now interested in designer vaginas,’ said the recent headlines, warning of a worrying increase in young women influenced by porn to think a piece of their basic anatomy is shoddy enough to need surgery.

But is there another side to a surgery that – like it or not – seems to be on the rise? Yes, according to one girl who’s taken to Reddit to talk about the side you never normally hear about: why she, a girl in her 20s, was desperate to go under the knife.

The piece, posted in a subReddit on TwoXChromosomes the day after she got back from the hospital, is so poignant it’s had nearly 500 responses from well-wishers in the 16 hours it’s been live.

READ MORE: Meet The Women Who Look At Their Vaginas For The First Time

The user, called ThrowLab, writes about how her labia – which she describes as ‘5cm each and sort of dangled between my legs for 2/3cm’ – not only left her self-concious but also had a physical impact on her health and well-being.

‘From around puberty on I’ve had minor annoyances due to my big labia minora sticking out. They would get numb when I was riding my bike and it would hurt in the end. I always thought that was normal and other girls had that too,’ she says. ‘Wearing a bikini was uncomfortable because sometimes my labia wouldn't “fit” in and I was afraid they’d stick out.

‘When I got older, it got annoying when having sex. I’d have to guide the guy in so to say, and had to sort of hold my labia apart. When I had my period, it was a pain in the ass because everything was super dry down there and I’d had to basically pry the tampon in. When I reached my 20s, I began to notice that not everyone had these problems and I noticed that my labia were (far) above average in size.’

READ MORE: The FUPA Is Back But Why The Obsession With Expressions That Exist Purely To Make Us Hate Our Bodies

After years of just dealing with it – including one instant when a boyfriend ‘responded a bit shocked’ when he saw her vagina – she decided to seek medical advice.

‘A couple of months ago I made the decision to go see a doctor. She told me that yes, mine were above average and she could see why it’d hurt sometimes, so she sent me through to the plastic surgeon at the hospital,’ she writes. ‘Unfortunately, my insurance wouldn’t cover the surgery but that was to be expected.

‘It took all my guts to tell my mom and she was super-understanding and kind. She’d had the same problem for all her life and she told me that, if surgery like this had been available at her time, she’d have done it too. She said she’d pay for me, and I am to pay her back in the next year.’

After undergoing some ‘surprisingly easy surgery with minimal pain’, she’s already delighted with her decision to go through it, saying it’s put an end to ‘stupid bike trouble, no more putting Vaseline on my pussy just so putting a tampon in can go better, no more super-tight bikini bottoms so everything’d stay in place.’

READ MORE: These Anatomically Correct Knickers Could Teach You A Lot About What’s Inside Them

The operation improved ThrowLab’s confidence so much, she wanted to share her story with others who might feel insecure about their own labia. ‘I don’t really know why I wanted to post it here. In the years I’d contemplated surgery, I’d often look here for girls with the same problem and a lot of times everyone would just say, don’t be insecure, I love big lips blablabla,’ she writes.

‘Sure, don’t be insecure, but if they’re causing you pain, maybe go see a doctor. Just hoping to spread awareness that this is a very LIGHT and easy surgery, with minimum recovery time (for me at least). I’m up for answering questions regarding the surgery/aftercare, etc.’

Doctors still maintain that it’s very rare for there to be a medical reason for anyone to undergo labiaplasty. ‘There are unusual hormonal conditions that make the clitoris or labia abnormal. Occasionally, women can be born with labia that have not developed properly. Some people’s can be excessively large. But almost all of the women seeking surgery do not have a medical under-lying condition. When you examine them, they are completely normal,’ one told The Guardian, saying she believes that counselling would be a better alternative for many of these women.

But while it’s hard to get any medical context into ThrowLab’s surgery, the way in which her post has generated reams of discussion from other young women about their labia size and shape certainly proves one crucial point: that we need a more open discussion about this very specific body insecurity if we’re ever going to solve it. And that it’s surely time for the term ‘designer vagina’ to die a death?

Like this? Then you might be interested in:

How Being Boob Shamed In My Teens Still Affects Me In My 20s

There’s A Big Ass In The Glass Ceiling: How Being Being Overweight Affected My Career

Things You Only Know If You Have Trichotillomania

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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