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Adhesion of the labia

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • labial fusion/labial adhesions may be defined as the partial or complete adherence of the apposing vulval labia minora
    • most frequently seen in infants and very young children
    • believed to be most often an acquired clinical condition rather than a congenital anomaly
    • labial adhesions and fusion in children in the absence of any other pathology is well documented
      • many cases are discovered incidentally during routine examination
      • only extremely rarely been noted to be present at birth - most authors regard it as an acquired condition
      • "physiological" fusion is postulated to arise in infants and young children with endogenously low estrogen levels who may or may not have an associated inflammatory condition such as vulvovaginitis
      • Leung et al found that labial fusion was most frequently seen in infants and young children, with a peak incidence of 3.3% in children ages 13 to 23 months o labial fusion has been described as a result of childhood genital lichen sclerosis, primary genital herpes, and chronic inflammation such as recurrent vulvovaginitis and urinary tract infections
    • labial fusion may be seen as a result of female circumcision
    • labial fusion is rarely seen in the postpartum period
      • may be spontaneous approximation of minor lacerations of the labia - uncommonly may result in distorted anatomical healing, with resultant dyspareunia, among other distressing symptoms
    • treatment methods described to divide labial adhesions vary considerably and include oestrogen cream, blunt or sharp surgical dissection under general anaesthesia, oral estrogen, bland emollients, and observation alone


  1. Arkin AE, Chern-Hughes B.Case report: labial fusion postpartum and clinical management of labial lacerations. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2002 Jul-Aug;47(4):290-2.
  2. Powell J, Wojnarowska F. Childhood vulvar lichen sclerosis: an increasingly common problem. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44: 803–806.
  3. Leung AKC et al. The incidence of labial fusion in children. J Paediatr Child Health 1993;29:235 236.

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