What Causes an Enlarged Clitoris and How Is It Treated?

Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, PhD, LCSW, CST on November 22, 2017Written by Annamarya Scaccia on November 22, 2017

Should I be worried?

Although there isn’t an “average” clitoris size, you know what the average size and appearance is for you. Enlargement is usually caused by sexual arousal, but there are a few conditions that may cause your clitoris to stay enlarged for a longer period of time.

This usually isn’t cause for concern unless you begin to feel discomfort, pain, or distress. These symptoms may be due to an underlying infection or medical issue.

Keep reading to learn more about what may be behind your symptoms and when you should make an appointment with your doctor.

If it’s only enlarged for a few days

Temporary enlargement is usually tied to sexual arousal. When you’re aroused, the blood flow to your genitals increases. Your clitoris and labia will swell as pleasure builds up. Once you orgasm, the size of your clitoris will decrease, and your genitals will go back to their unaroused state more quickly.

When you orgasm, you’re able to release all the sexual tension that has built up in your body. Without that release, the throbbing and swelling of your genitals, including your clitoris, will subside more slowly. Your clitoris may also stay enlarged for an extended period if you’re frequently aroused but not experiencing a release.

But sexual arousal isn’t the only reason why your clitoris may become enlarged. Certain conditions and infections can cause your vulva, which includes your clitoris and labia, to become temporarily inflamed.

Vulva inflammation is also known as vulvitis or vulvovaginitis. It can happen because of:

If it’s enlarged for a week or more

Sustained enlargement, known as clitoromegaly, can be caused by:

Hormone disorders

An excess of androgen hormones, like testosterone, can cause your clitoris to grow in size. High testosterone levels can occur naturally in your body or as a result of anabolic steroids.

Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or other endocrine disorders often have elevated androgen levels, which can cause their clitoris to become enlarged.

This is often seen in infants who are born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), as well. This genetic disorder can cause an infant to produce too much androgen, which may cause an enlarged clitoris.

Ovarian tumors

Certain types of ovarian tumors, such as Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor and steroid cell tumor, can produce androgen. The increase in androgens can cause your clitoris to grow in size, among other symptoms.

When to see your doctor

If your clitoris doesn’t return to its usual size within a day, you should see your doctor. You should also see your doctor if you experience pain, discomfort, or bleeding. These symptoms may be a sign of a vaginal infection or another underlying medical condition.

That said, you don’t have to wait for symptoms to appear to make an appointment. If you feel uncomfortable with your clitoris’ size, or if the size is impacting your sex life, reach out to your doctor to talk about treatment options that may work best for you.

What treatment options are available?

Your options for treatment will depend on the underlying cause. In many cases, applying a medicated cream may be enough to relieve your symptoms.

Here’s how to treat an enlarged clitoris if:

You’re having an allergic reaction.

You should stop using any products or wearing any clothing that’s causing the reaction. You may also need to use an over-the-counter (OTC) cortisone cream to reduce irritation and itching. Your doctor may also tell you to take a sitz bath and use a topical estrogen cream to ease your symptoms.

You have an infection.

If a fungal or bacterial infection is behind your symptoms, your doctor will prescribe oral medication to help clear the infection. They may also recommend an OTC or prescription cream to help ease your symptoms.

You have an endocrine disorder.

Your doctor may prescribe hormone therapy if you have high androgen levels caused by an endocrine disorder like PCOS. Hormone therapy will be able to ease the symptoms, as well as possibly reduce your clitoris’ size. Your doctor may also suggest reduction clitoroplasty, a surgical procedure used to remove volume from your clitoris.

You have an ovarian tumor.

Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are all options to treat an ovarian tumor and its symptoms. Clitoroplasty may also be performed to reduce your clitoris’ size.

It’s caused by CAH.

Doctors have performed reduction clitoroplasty on babies born with CAH to decrease the size of the clitoris, though the practice is considered controversial.

Can this lead to complications?

Having an enlarged clitoris doesn’t put you at risk for other diseases, infections, or disorders. Children born with CAH, for example, grow up to live physically healthy lives.

However, having an enlarged clitoris can cause some women distress or discomfort. It’s important to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling. They can work with you to develop a symptom management plan that best suits your needs and connect you with resources for support in your area.

What’s the outlook?

An enlarged clitoris is usually nothing to worry about. Oftentimes, your clitoris will go back to its previous form on its own. In some cases, you may need to take medication or undergo surgery that will help reduce your clitoris’ size. It’s important to speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about the size of your clitoris and any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

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