Labia minora

Labia minora
Labia minora
Vulva labeled english.jpg
Labia minora (inner labia); hair has been removed
Latin labium minus pudendi
Gray's subject #270 1265
Precursor Urogenital folds
Dorlands/Elsevier Labia minora pudendi

The labia minora (singular: labium minus), also known as the inner labia, inner lips, or nymphae,[1] are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening, situated between the labia majora (outer labia, or outer lips). Inner lips vary widely in size, colour, and shape from woman to woman.

The inner lips extend from the clitoris obliquely downward, laterally, and backward on either side of the vulval vestibule, ending between the bottom of the vulval vestibule and the outer lips. The posterior ends (bottom) of the inner lips are usually joined across the middle line by a fold of skin, named the frenulum labiorum pudendi or fourchette.

On the front, each lip divides into two portions. The upper part of each lip passes above the clitoris to meet the upper part of the other lip—which will probably be a little larger or smaller—forming a fold which overhangs the glans clitoridis; this fold is named the preputium clitoridis. The lower part passes beneath the glans clitoridis and becomes united to its under surface, forming, with the inner lip of the opposite side, the frenulum clitoridis.

On the opposed surfaces of the labia minora are numerous sebaceous glands not associated with hair follicles.


Size and shape

In or around 2004, researchers from the Department of Gynaeology, Elizabeth Garret Anderson Hospital in London, measured the labia and other genital structures of 50 women from the age of 18 to 50, with a mean age of 35.6. The results were:[2]

Measuring Range Mean [SD]
Clitoral length (mm) 5–35 19.1 [8.7]
Clitoral glans width (mm) 3–10 5.5 [1.7]
Clitoris to urethra (mm) 16–45 28.5 [7.1]
Labia majora length (cm) 7.0–12.0 9.3 [1.3]
Labia minora length (mm) 20–100 60.6 [17.2]
Labia minora width (mm) 7–50 21.8 [9.4]
Perineum length (mm) 15–55 31.3 [8.5]
Vaginal length (cm) 6.5–12.5 9.6 [1.5]
Tanner stage (n) IV 4
ditto V 46
Colour of genital area

compared with surrounding skin (n)

Same 9
ditto Darker 41
Rugosity of labia (n) Smooth 14
ditto Moderate 34
ditto Marked 2

Additional images

See also


  1. ^ nymphae. Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. (accessed: November 24, 2007).
  2. ^ Lloyd, Jillian et al. "Female genital appearance: 'normality' unfolds", British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, May 2005, Vol. 112, pp. 643–646. PMID 15842291

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • labia minora — (n.) inner folds of skin around the vulva, 1781, Modern Latin, lit. lesser lips (see LABIA (Cf. labia)). The singular is labium minus …   Etymology dictionary

  • labia minora — [mi nôr′ə] n. [ModL, lit., lesser lips] the two folds of mucous membrane within the labia majora …   English World dictionary

  • Labia minora — The smaller (minor) inside pair of labia (lips) of the vulva (the female external genitalia). * * * labia mi·no·ra mə nōr ə, nȯr n pl the inner highly vascular largely connective tissue folds of the vulva bounding the vestibule called also… …   Medical dictionary

  • labia minora — noun The two inner folds of skin within the cleft of the labia majora …   Wiktionary

  • labia minora — noun plural Etymology: New Latin, literally, smaller lips Date: 1838 the inner highly vascular largely connective tissue folds of the vulva bounding the vestibule …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Labia minora — …   Википедия

  • labia minora — /lay bee euh mi nawr euh, nohr euh/, sing. labium minus /lay bee euhm muy neuhs/. Anat. the inner folds of skin of the external female genitalia. [1830 40; < NL: lesser lips] * * * …   Universalium

  • labia minora — [mɪ nɔ:rə] plural noun Anatomy the smaller inner folds of the vulva …   English new terms dictionary

  • labia minora — la•bi•a mi•no•ra [[t]ˈleɪ bi ə mɪˈnɔr ə, ˈnoʊr ə[/t]] n. pl. sing. la•bi•um mi•nus [[t]ˈleɪ bi əm ˈmaɪ nəs[/t]] anat. the inner folds of skin of the external female genitalia • Etymology: 1830–40; < NL: smaller lips …   From formal English to slang

  • labia minora — noun the two inner folds of the vulva • Hypernyms: ↑labium • Part Holonyms: ↑vulva …   Useful english dictionary

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