How are labial adhesions treated?
If a patient has no symptoms, medical treatment may not be necessary, and the adhesion may resolve on its own with time. In cases where the adhesion is small, we can use a non-medicated emollient or barrier cream for treatment, which helps to ease irritation and moisturizes the skin, making it more flexible. The emollient and barrier creams also help treat the underlying vulvovaginitis and prevents it from returning.
In cases where the adhesion is covering the vagina or causing symptoms, your child's doctor can use an estrogen-based cream or steroid cream, which can help to separate the tissue.
We only recommend surgical separation in rare cases, when the adhesion is very thick and topical treatment has failed.
If the doctor has prescribed estrogen cream for your daughter, apply a small (pea-sized) amount to the adhesion once or twice daily for at least two weeks or until instructed by the doctor. If you need to spread the labia majora to get to the labia minora, you can use a Q-tip or finger to apply the cream to the area where the labia minora are stuck. The area typically looks like a grey or white line. Once the labia have separated, a non-medicated emollient cream should be applied daily to prevent the labia from sticking back together and forming labial adhesions again.
These methods and techniques can help prevent vulvar irritation and recurrent labial adhesions:
- Change diapers frequently to avoid irritants on the skin.
- If toilet trained, dress your daughter in plain white, cotton underpants.
- Use unscented detergent and avoid fabric softeners or any extra cleaning or "freshening" products.
- Have your daughter wear a nightgown for sleeping (it's okay to let your daughter sleep without underwear).
- Your daughter should avoid wearing tights, one-piece leotards, tight jeans or leggings.
- Have your daughter take a bath every day and use clean, warm water only (no soap, vinegar or baking soda is needed). She should not use bubble bath or perfumed soap.
- Have your daughter gently pat her genital area dry.
- Talk about, and remind your daughter, how to wipe after a bowel movement.
- Encourage her to wipe from front to back after urinating.
- After swimming, make sure she changes into dry clothes right away.
Why choose Children's Colorado for care of labial adhesions?
Our board-certified pediatric and adolescent gynecologists have specialized training in the reproductive health concerns of girls of all ages. We understand that labial adhesions can be stressful. We will put families and patients at ease by carefully explaining the medical condition, discussing the various options for treatment, and supporting your family with follow-up visits and consultation with our colleagues in other specialties as needed.