What are labial adhesions?

Labial adhesions happen when the inner skin folds (lips) of the vagina stick together, rather than staying separated. Labial adhesion is also called labial fusion or labial agglutination.

Who has labial adhesions?

In most cases, labial adhesions affect infants and young girls. This is because adhesions can develop where there is low estrogen. Also, women who have just given birth and women who have gone through menopause can be affected. This condition does not usually happen in women who are of childbearing age.

What causes labial adhesions?

The actual cause of labial adhesions is not known, but could be related to low levels of estrogen. Skin irritation in the area is also a possible cause.

What are the symptoms of labial adhesions?

Labial adhesions might not cause any symptoms in infants or young girls. When symptoms do occur, they might include:

  • Feeling pain in the area of the vagina, especially when straddling an object (like riding a bike).
  • Having a hard time urinating, with urine coming out in dribbles.
  • Getting many urinary tract infections.
  • Having discharge from the vagina.

Although uncommon in adults, labial adhesions may happen. The above symptoms would also apply. Adult women might also have itching, or difficulty or pain during sex.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/02/2017.

References

  • North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. Adhesions Accessed 1/17/2017.
  • Liu DR. Pediatric Urologic and Gynecologic Disorders. In: Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski J, Ma O, Yealy DM, Meckler GD, Cline DM. eds. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 8e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2016. accessmedicine.mhmedical.com Accessed 1/17/2017.
  • Velander MH, Mikkelsen DB, Bygum A. Labial agglutination in a prepubertal girl: effect of topical oestrogen. Acta Derm Venereol. 2009;89(2):198-9.
  • Seehusen DA, Earwood JS. Postpartum labial adhesions. J Am Board Fam Med. 2007;20(4):408-10
  • NHS Choices. Labial fusion Accessed 1/17/2017.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy