About labial fusion
In girls, the external genitals are called the vulva. The vulva has inner lips (labia minora) and outer lips (labia majora). The labia cover the vaginal opening.
Labial fusion is when the skin of the inner lips joins together. This changes the way this part of the body looks, and it can sometimes make it harder for urine to get past where the labia are stuck together.
Labial fusion tends to happen more in early childhood, between 6 months and 2 years. It can also happen or be present later in childhood.
Labial fusion is also sometimes called fused labia or labial adhesions.
Although some babies with ambiguous genitalia have fused labia, this article doesn’t cover ambiguous genitalia.
Symptoms of labial fusion
Labial fusion usually doesn’t cause any issues or pain in early childhood.
Sometimes, labial fusion might cause some dribbling after urination, because urine gets trapped behind the skin that’s joined together. This can lead to urine leaking onto underwear or difficulties with toilet training.
Vulvovaginitis might happen at the same time as labial fusion.
Does your child need to see a doctor about symptoms of labial fusion?
There’s usually no need to see a doctor about labial fusion unless your child experiences frequent symptoms of vulvovaginitis, like a discoloured or sore vulva.
But if you’re generally worried about the labial fusion, it’s always best to see your GP or paediatrician.
Labial fusion doesn’t affect fertility, sexual function or menstruation.
Treatment for labial fusion
Labial fusion is likely to sort itself out without treatment by puberty.
Good toilet habits can help with dribbling after urination. Encourage your child to wriggle around for 5 seconds after urinating to make sure all the trapped urine comes out.
Causes of labial fusion
We don’t really know what causes labial fusion. We think it happens after the skin around the vulva gets irritated.