Labial adhesion, or fused labia, is when the inner lips of a girl’s vulva are joined together with a thin membrane. This is a common condition that usually goes away by itself. In most cases it won’t cause any pain. But if you think your daughter has labial adhesion, it’s a good idea to see your GP.
Causes of labial adhesion or fused labia
The vulva has inner lips (labia minora) and outer lips (labia majora). The labia cover your daughter’s vaginal opening.
Labial adhesion is a condition where the skin of the inner lips joins together, leaving only a small opening for weeing.
We don’t really know what causes labial adhesion. It can happen after the skin around the vulva gets irritated. Soaps, bubble baths, nappy rash or infections can cause this kind of irritation.
Labial adhesion is also sometimes called fused labia or labial fusion.
Although some babies with ambiguous genitalia have labial adhesion, this article doesn’t cover ambiguous genitalia.
Symptoms of labial adhesion or fused labia
Sometimes, young girls with labial adhesion can have trouble weeing, because wee gets trapped behind the fused membrane. This can lead to wee leaking onto the girl’s underwear or difficulties with toilet training.
Labial adhesion can also lead to urinary tract infection or irritation of the vaginal skin.
Labial adhesion often doesn’t cause any issues or pain for young girls.
Young girls aged up to two years old tend to get this condition more than older girls, but it can happen in older girls too. It usually sorts itself out by puberty.
When to see your doctor about symptoms of labial adhesion
You should take your daughter to see your GP if your daughter is experiencing frequent irritation around her vulva or she has urinary tract infections that keep coming back.
Also see your GP if you’re concerned that your daughter might have labial adhesion.
Treatment for labial adhesion or fused labia
If your daughter has labial adhesion, she probably won’t need treatment. The condition will probably sort itself out by the time she reaches puberty.
Your doctor might prescribe an oestrogen cream, which can help prevent the labia from fusing together. If you stop using the cream, the labia can fuse together again.
Labial fusion doesn’t affect your daughter’s fertility, sexual function or menstruation.