What Is Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion?
Labial Fusion also known by the name of Labial Adhesions is a medical condition in which the inner lips of the vagina get joined together and is covered with a fleshy membrane. This is most commonly seen in small babies and young girls and is quite a common and harmless condition. The fleshy membrane completely seals off the vaginal opening with just an extremely small gap left with which the urine passes through. This condition usually does not cause any problems for majority of girls and is discovered incidentally by parents when changing diapers or when bathing the child. The condition can be confirmed by the treating physician by just a routine physical examination of the area.
What Are The Causes Of Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion?
To understand Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion, it is important to understand the anatomy of the vagina. Normally, the labia is made up of two parts the outer labia and the inner labia. It is not known as to what causes Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion but researchers believe it is caused due to some sort of inflammation or irritation in the vaginal area, a medical condition called as vaginitis. This condition results in the vulva to become sticky and when there is inadequate production of estrogen in the body it causes the lips of the vagina to join together.
Facts About Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion
Some of the facts about Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion are:
- Irritation or inflammation of the labia minora due to poor hygiene habits, strongly perfumed soaps and medical conditions like vulvitis causes Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion.
- Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion usually resolves when the girl attains puberty with the production of estrogen which changes the cells in the genital area.
- The frontline treatment for Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion is application of estrogen cream to the affected area.
Who Is Most At Risk For Developing Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion?
Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion is a condition which is quite common and affects girls between the age of three months and six years, especially girls between one and two years of age. This condition is very rare in girls who have attained their puberty as then they start producing more estrogen which lessens the likelihood of occurrence of Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion?
Some of the symptoms of Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion are:
- The inner lips of vagina are joined together.
- It is not accompanied by any pain
- Soreness in the vulval region
- Urinary leaking or dribbling
- When severe the girls may find it difficult to pass urine.
How Is Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion Diagnosed?
Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion can be easily diagnosed with just a routine physical examination. The physician may thoroughly check the genital area to look for any other abnormalities in that region like imperforate hymen which may be causing the symptoms. Additionally, the treating physician may also order certain tests to include:
- Urinalysis to look for any signs of infection
- Voiding cystourethrogram looking for enlarged bladder and kidneys.
What Are Treatments For Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion?
No specific treatment for Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion is recommended as long as there are no associated symptoms like difficulty in passing urine or urinary leakage or dribbling which may be a source of discomfort for the child. The frontline treatment for Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion in children is application of estrogen cream to be applied daily to the affected area. This application should be continued for at least six weeks until the membrane becomes weak and starts to dissolve on its own and eventually the lips start coming apart. The cream application should be stopped when the conditions resolves. Even after the lips of the vagina have separated it is advisable to apply emollients for a few months to prevent recurrence of the condition. Since estrogen creams have a significant side effect profile hence it is advised that they should not be used for greater than six weeks. Some of the side effects of estrogen cream are:
- Irritation in or around the genital areas
- Darkening of skin around the genital area
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding once the applications is stopped.
Surgery For Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion: it is extremely rare that a surgery is recommended to correct the problem. Surgery is usually recommended in the following cases:
- Estrogen cream is ineffective
- The fusion is extremely thick
- There is retained urine which is trapped in the vagina because of the fusion.
Surgery to correct Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion is fairly easy to do and is performed under local anesthesia as it may be somewhat painful for the patient. In order to expedite wound healing and to prevent further occurrences of this condition the patient is advised to apply emollients for some weeks postsurgery. There is high percentage of chance that Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion may recur even with surgery hence it is important to follow the doctor's advice postsurgery.
Is Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion A Medical Condition To Be Worried About?
- Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion in almost all cases resolves spontaneously without any specific treatment as and when the child nears her puberty with the production of estrogen in the body. In some cases even after treatment Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion may occur but this also stops when the child attains puberty.
- Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion is not associated with any medical condition and has no long term complications and in fact is quite harmless and in no way affects the fertility of the girl.
- In very rare cases Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion can cause infection or soreness in the genital area.
What Are The Ways To Cope Up With Labial Fusion Or Labial Adhesion?
Some of the ways to cope up with Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion for recurring are:
- Speak to the treating physician about long term treatment plan like how long to apply emollients or creams to the area etc.
- Changing diapers regularly
- After urinating or having a bowel movement making sure that the child's genital areas are completely clean so that no waste products come in contact with the affected area.
- It is advisable to avoid strongly perfumed soaps
- Make sure to dry the genital areas thoroughly after bathing.
- In case of any signs of inflammation or irritation to seek immediate medical attention
- Follow the doctor's instructions thoroughly about treatment options and the duration of it to prevent Labial Fusion or Labial Adhesion from recurring.