What is labial adhesion?

Jump To

Labial adhesion in children: Overview

The labia are the small lips around the opening of the vagina and urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body. Labial adhesion means that those lips have joined together instead of staying apart.

This is common in girls, especially those younger than 6 years. It often causes no symptoms and will go away by itself. But it may cause symptoms such as pain or urinary problems. If so, you can treat it with a prescription cream.

How can you care for your child's labial adhesion?

  • Don't try to separate the labia yourself.
  • Keep the groin area clean and dry. If your child is old enough, teach your child to wipe front-to-back after going to the bathroom.
  • Protect the skin in your child's groin area:
    • Have your child wear cotton underpants during the day.
    • Wash your child's underpants in nondetergent laundry soap. Don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets.
    • Don't give your child bubble baths. The soap can irritate the skin.
  • If your doctor has prescribed a prescription cream, follow the doctor's directions about how often to apply it and how long to use it.
  • After the labia separate, use petroleum jelly or a diaper rash cream for 1 to 2 months. This helps keep the labia lips from joining again. For infants and toddlers, use the jelly or cream with each diaper change. For older children, use it once a day.

Labial adhesion in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of a urinary infection, such as:
    • Blood or pus in the urine.
    • Pain (for example, constant squirming and irritability, complaining of burning or pain when urinating).
    • A fever.
  • Your child has vaginal discharge. This can be a sign of infection.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • There is no change in the adhesion after several weeks.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.