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Is a hanging labia normal?

Many women worry that their labia aren't normal or typical, but most of the time, they shouldn't. Both inner and outer labia come in all shapes, sizes and colours--there is a great deal of benign variation from woman to woman. Also known as Sinus pudoris, hanging labia is most common among women of the Khoisan and San ethnic groups in South Africa. Though some women are self-conscious about their vaginal architecture, many exhibit this condition to some extent.

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Women actually have two sets of labia--the inner labia, or labia minora, and the outer labia, or labia majora. "Inner" and "outer" refer to how close the labia are to the centre of the body; many women have inner labia that hang lower than the outer labia. Sinus pudoris is a common condition in which the labia minora (inner lips) of the vagina visibly distend past the labia minora (outer lips).


Sinus pudoris is common among women of Khoisan and San ethnic groups in South Africa, but it's also common in women of English, Germanic or Russian ancestry.


About 60 per cent of all women have a labia minora that distends between 1 to 2cm per side, 6 per cent have 3 to 4cm and less than 1 per cent have more than 5cm.


Almost no mammal has true bilateral symmetry. As such, most women will see a difference of 1 to 2cm between the length of the left and right labia minora.

Length changes

Labial length can be changed by intentional stretching, childbirth and ageing. An increase in labial distension of 2 to 3cm over 40 or more years is not uncommon. On extremely rare occasions, a woman may have inner labia that are so long that they cause persistent, continuous discomfort when sitting, riding a bike, or performing other routine everyday activities. Occasional discomfort is normal, however (just as a man sometimes has to adjust his testicles for comfort).

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About the Author

Richard Rowe

Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.

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