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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


What are vaginal adhesions?


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Vaginal Adhesion

Vaginal (labial) adhesion is one of those problems in childhood which causes parents a lot of shock and worry after it is discovered but in fact is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. This condition is usually pointed out during a routine well-baby exam or when a parent notices an odd appearance to their daughter’s genitalia while bathing or wiping after using the bathroom. Labial adhesions are most often seen in the first few years of life and are not hereditary.

These adhesions develop because the vaginal skin of young girls is often irritated from wet and soiled diapers, detergent excess on underpants and from using various soaps (especially bubble bath). While healing from the irritation, the inner vaginal skin attaches itself to the opposite surface, creating an adhesion, or an area where the two surfaces stick together and become firmly attached. It appears like a membrane of cellophane-like skin with a thin line running down the middle where the edges of the labia met.

Most of the time, the adhesions themselves produce no symptoms. In some cases, there may be discomfort and difficulty urinating. If the adhesions are causing soreness, the child may excessively rub the area.

No treatment is necessary unless the adhesions are associated with repeated urinary tract infections and pain on urination. If there is no obstruction to the urine stream, the adhesion is harmless and can be left alone. When the adhesions require treatment, most pediatricians will prescribe an estrogen cream to be applied to the labia. This treatment, resolves almost all adhesions. Doctors do not recommend separating the adhesions forcefully. This will not only hurt the child, but the procedure will cause the labia to refuse during the healing process. We have never seen a case that required surgery. Once puberty begins, the tendency to get vaginal adhesions disappears.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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