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Labial Adhesions

What are labial adhesions?

Labial adhesions are very thin pieces of tissue that cause the folds of skin outside the vagina to stick together. (The folds of skin are called the labia.) Labial adhesions usually happen before puberty and are most common in girls younger than 6 years old. They normally do not cause any symptoms or problems.

What is the cause?

Labial adhesions are usually caused by something that has irritated the vaginal area. Because the labia are so close together, when the irritated area heals, the labia sometimes become temporarily stuck together.

Some possible irritants are:

  • Bowel movements (Wiping from back to front instead of from front to back may cause bowel movements to irritate the area.)
  • Urine pooling in the area outside the vagina
  • Soaps or bubble bath

How are they treated?

Hormone creams can be put on the area where the folds are stuck together. Girls respond differently to this treatment. Most girls will need the treatment for up to 8 weeks. When the labia finally separate, wash and dry the area and put petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on it. Keep putting petroleum jelly on the area after every bath for a few months.

Labial adhesions can come back. Then they may need to be treated with hormone cream again.

How can I take care of my child?

Keep your daughter’s genital area dry after changing her diapers. Avoid exposure to bubble baths or strong soaps.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider:

  • How long it will take your child to recover
  • What activities your child should avoid
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when you should bring your child back for a checkup.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-01-25
Last reviewed: 2013-01-22
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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