The Truth About Labial Adhesions

What Are Labial Adhesions?No one seems to talk about this one, but Labial Adhesions are a common occurrence in little girls. It's when the inner vaginal lips (labia minora) fuse together appearing to close off the opening to the vagina. It's thought to occur in 1-2% of girls aged 3 months to 6 years. A parent may notice labial adhesion, but they usually cause no symptoms and are noticed only at a routine well-child checkup with a pediatrician. They are easy to treat, if they need to be treated, but the doctor may want to rule out any other vaginal disorders before treatment.What Causes Labial Adhesions?Experts aren't 100% sure what causes labial adhesions, but most agree they are caused when the labia become irritated or inflamed, as could be the case in a wet diaper. When the raw skin heals, it creates tissue that fuses the labia together. Soap residue on clothing may play a part as well as low levels of estrogen, which is normal before puberty. They may be the result of sexual abuse, but this is certainly not the reason for the majority of cases. Labial adhesions can cause blockage of the urinary tract. A child may also complain of drips' or parents may notice urine-stained underwear. Even if the adhesions are not fully blocking the urethra, a pocket of skin may form, trapping small amounts of urine, which are released when the child stands. Bladder infections may be more common in girls with labial adhesions. Urine trapped in the extra tissue may make it's way back up into the urethra cuasing infection.If you want to see a picture of what it looks like in a baby, there is one at the bottom of this page: