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Are my labia normal?

Labia size

About half of all women have labia minora that are longer than the labia majora. There is a lot of variation in the size of the labia minora and a study in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that there is nothing unusual about having labia minora that are longer than the labia majora. Some women have innies and others have outies. The gallery shows a range of labia in different shapes and sizes. All of these variations are completely healthy and normal.

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Labia symmetry

Exact symmetry is rare in nature. Most people have one foot that’s bigger than the other and most women don’€™t have symmetrical labia. It’s the exception and not the rule. The gallery shows a range of labia in different shapes.

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Labia colour

Some women have pink labia and others have brown or reddish or purplish labia. Sometimes the labia are the same colour as the woman’€™s skin, but often they are lighter or darker, just like the lips on your face. Variation in the colour of your labia is very normal. The gallery shows a range of labia in different colours.

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Labia discomfort

If your labia feel uncomfortable or itchy, you might want to try wearing underwear or clothes that are one size bigger and avoiding skimpy underwear like G-strings. It’€™s not uncommon for women to experience some labia discomfort if they’€™re wearing very tight clothes.

If your labia are painful or constantly itchy, you should contact your doctor or gynaecologist. Look here if you want information about finding a doctor.

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Changes in the way your labia look

The labia minora change during puberty and often become more prominent or change in appearance. This is completely normal, like all of the other changes that take place during puberty. They continue to change throughout your life because of hormonal changes and age.

If you develop a new mole, lump, cyst or ulcer on your labia, it’€™s a good idea to see your doctor to have it checked out- just like you should for any other area of your body. Look here if you want information about finding a doctor.

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Someone said something about your labia

It’€™s not cool for anyone (a sexual partner, a friend, your mum, a beauty therapist, or anyone) to pass judgement on your lady bits. We’™re all different downstairs and healthy vulvas come in lots of different shapes and sizes. They’€™re as diverse as faces and we don’€™t expect everyone’€™s face to be exactly the same. 

Most people don’€™t know much about what healthy genitals look like. It probably wasn’€™t covered in your sex education classes. If someone says something to you about your labia, they might have only seen vulvas in magazines or pornography. Or they might have made an assumption that everyone looks the same downstairs, and that’s just not true. Maybe they’€™ve never seen a vulva at all and don’€™t really know what to expect. Or maybe they’™re just putting you down.

Try not to worry about what they’€™ve said. Think about the level of respect and trust that you expect from a sexual partner and the people in your life. If you’™re confident about your body and showing it to someone else, that’€™s great. If you’€™re not yet, that’€™s ok too. Focus your time and energy on embracing what your labia look like. And learn to love what they do for you

If you’™re still worried, speak to someone you trust or check our Info & advice. Doctors and gynaecologists have heaps of experience in this field- they see vulvas every day! They are a good source of advice if you have any concerns. Look here if you want information about finding a doctor.

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I don'€™t look the same as everyone else

We’™re all different downstairs and healthy vulvas come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Labia sizesymmetry and colour vary a lot between women.

There’€™s so much diversity in the way vulvas look, we couldn’€™t possibly include them all in the photo gallery. Even if you can’€™t see what your vulva looks like in these images, chances are it’€™s perfectly normal and healthy. If you’™ve only seen vulvas in magazines or pornography, you might be surprised to find out that they’€™re usually photoshopped.

If you’€™re still worried, speak to someone you trust or check out our Info & advice. Doctors and gynaecologists have heaps of experience in this field- they see vulvas every day! They are a good source of advice if you have any concerns. Look here if you want information about accessing a doctor.

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If your friend is worried about her labia

If you have a friend who’s worried about their labia, send them here! Be supportive and let them know that there’€™s lots of variety in the way vulvas look and that it’™s not cool for anyone (a sexual partner, a friend, your mum, a beauty therapist, or anyone) to pass judgement on what they look like down there. 

If they’€™ve only seen vulvas in magazines or pornography, they may not be getting the full story. Labia vary heaps in sizecolourshape and symmetry

If they’€™re still worried, get them to speak to someone they trust or check out our Info & advice. Doctors and gynaecologists have heaps of experience in this field- they see vulvas every day! They are a good source of advice if your friend still has concerns. Tell your friend to come here if they want information about accessing a doctor.

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How should it smell?

It’€™s very normal for your vulva to smell a little bit musty, like sweat, or even a bit metallic around your period. Every woman’€™s scent is different and it will change throughout your menstrual cycle. This is completely normal and it’€™s a sign that the good bacteria in the vagina are doing their job. It’€™s part of the normal changes that take place as you develop during puberty. 

It’€™s important to wash your vulva daily with warm water or mild soap, but you should never scrub or use a douche or antibacterial wash. This wrecks the pH balance that keeps your vagina healthy and it makes you susceptible to lots of nasties. 

If your vulva smells very strongly or you are concerned about it, you should see a doctor or gynaecologist.

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