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Labial Adhesions

Expert Q&A

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Updated January 29, 2005

Q. My daughter is 11 months old. Her vagina is closing up. I don't mean the labia, I mean the inner part that closes over the clitoris. What causes this? What can I do to stop this? She is beginning to have trouble using the bathroom. Is this a common problem? I have never seen anything like this before. Help! Judith, Battle Creek, MI

A. She is likely developing labial adhesions, a common problem in girls before they go through puberty. In this condition, the skin around the vaginal opening becomes stuck together.

If a child has extensive adhesions, it can lead to trouble urinating, pooling of urine, and irritation (vulvovaginitis). If that happens, the adhesions are usually treated with a topical estrogen cream and gradual, gentle separation. When that doesn't work, separation is sometimes done after using a topical anesthetic. Keep in mind that mild cases sometimes aren't treated at all and often separate on their own.

Once the labia are separated, it is important to continue to use a bland ointment, such as Vaseline, so that the adhesions don't form again.

It is not clear what you are describing though. The 'inner part' is the labia minora, but it doesn't cover the clitoris.

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