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The big increases in the number of labiaplasty operations performed since 2000 cannot simply be put down to cosmetic reasons says a leading London based Gynaecologist.

In 2013 The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) suggested that restrictions be placed on labiaplasty procedures carried in NHS and private clinics due to concerns about more teenage girls having the operation for cosmetic reasons.

Some possible influences on the reasons for some women (both teenage and older) seeking this kind of operation are thought include the influence and effects of the pornography industry, and popular culture images of women, particularly those following a trend for genital shaving.

There is also some support for the idea that some women may seek a labiaplasty operation because they are not fully aware of the naturally wide variations in appearance of the labia among the female population as a whole. Whether this possible lack of awareness is greater among a certain age group however is difficult prove without more research.

At the heart of the matter though is the simple fact that greater numbers of women who feel inadequate and unhappy with some aspect of their labia appear to be willing to explore and undergo surgery in order to solve what is a serious problem to them.

Mr Nicholas H Morris MBBS FRCOG, a consultant at the Portland Hospital and the Wellington Hospital in London, and a member of the team at believes that many of these operations are also sought because of physical discomfort, physical barriers to sexual fulfilment as well as varying degrees of cosmetic motivation.

Mr Morris says:

“It is right and sensible that restrictions can be placed on labiaplasty procedures to safeguard teenage girls and young women. In my experience it is also true that good Gynaecologists would try to explore a person’s motivations for seeking a labiaplasty anyway before even thinking about performing this operation. It is not simply a case of me for example operating because someone says ‘take it all away please’ for whatever reason.”

Mr Morris points out that many women seek labial trimming surgery for reasons that are far more practical than cosmetic.

“Some women may have been experiencing problems since puberty or they may want to relieve the discomfort caused by clothing in that area. In terms of profession and interests, dancers, sportswomen and horse riders are often interested in this type of operation. The reasons women give for wanting a labiaplasty operation can of course vary a great deal. It could also be to improve a woman’s self esteem. It may be because they are embarrassed or conscious about the appearance of their genitalia particularly if there have been relationship issues.”

Mr. Morris and the team at understand and are
sympathetic to women’s reasons for wanting these operations and the approach is very much a joint one.

“With a labiaplasty / labial trimming operation I actually collaborate closely with a psychiatrist and a psychosexual therapist. I believe that a psychological and sensitive approach is essential, as is the need to rule out body dysmorphia, and self harm. It is also about being honest about normality and helping some patients to deal with their thoughts and feelings about their bodies.”

For more information contact Mr Nicholas H Morris on 0203 3180263 or visit at

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