Is my Vulva Normal?

By: Dr. Wendy Goodall

Have you ever thought of your vulva as another face? Well, it kind of is. The vulva consists of the labia majora, the labia minora, the mons and down the perineum. Remember the vagina is on the inside, the vulva is on the outside. The vulva can come in several shapes and sizes that are all unique. That is why I think of it like a face.

What are some normal differences that one may see with the vulva? Well, pull out a mirror and try to follow along.

Some have larger labia minora than labia majora. Some have larger or longer labia majora than the minora. Some may notice slight asymmetry from one side to the other. Some will notice that the skin of the vulva is lighter or darker than the skin on the abdomen or thighs. All of this is normal and common.

If labia are longer or take up more space, a person may need to wear underwear with a larger crotch area. They may need to use a wider bike seat if the labia are making sitting more uncomfortable. It is important to look at them periodically as well. Sometimes lumps or bumps can be normal skin cysts or sebaceous cysts.

Caring for your unique vulva also means preventing skin irritation that can lead to discomfort or hyperpigmentation. I recommend that a person uses a vulva wash that is pH balanced and formulated for that sensitive skin. If hair removal is desired, I like electric shavers because they do not disrupt the skin in the way that straight razor can. Waxing is also an option, but every person is different and the reaction to the wax could also leave the skin discolored.

At the end of the day, love yourself. The differences between one person's vulva to the next person is so vast. As different as your face. If you have concerns about the labia, be empowered and encouraged to see a healthcare provider. But if nothing else, know that your vulva is normal for you. Own it.

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