Vaginas — or more accurately, vulvas, and all their components — come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Many people worry that their vaginal area doesn’t look “normal,” but there really is no normal. The only “normal” out there is what’s normal for you. And unless your normal involves pain or discomfort, everything is likely fine.
Still unsure? Take a look at these pictures of real vulvas to get a sense of how varied genitalia can really be, and read on to learn more.
In pop cultureFor Vogue's September 2018 issue, Beyoncé granted a rare as-told-to interview, getting candid about body image, pregnancy, motherhood, and more.
When discussing her relationship with her post-pregnancy body, the singer declared that "right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be." FUPA is used to describe excess fat in the upper pubic area — above your pubic hair but below your belly button.
When people mention a “fat vagina,” they’re usually referring to the fleshy area above the labia (mons pubis). Unless you go bare, your mons pubis area is typically home to your pubic hair.
Its primary purpose is to provide cushioning for you and your sex partner so that you don’t crack your pelvic bone when you’re, you know, boning. It also protects from other injury.
The size of your mons pubis depends on your overall body weight and type. People with different body types accumulate fat in different areas, so there really is no average.
Sometimes this term is used in reference to fleshier outer lips (labia majora) or excess skin in the upper pubic area (FUPA).
Like the mons pubis, inner and outer labia have dozens of natural variations. All are normal and are what make your vulva uniquely yours.
The same can be said for the upper pubic area. Although the area below your belly button is usually fleshy and soft, it ultimately depends on your overall body weight and type.
The mons pubis is a naturally fatty area. When you gain weight, more fat deposits can gather in this location.
Possible triggers include:
Although hormones do play a role, considerable weight gain is typically associated with individual lifestyle factors. This includes overall diet and physical activity.
Two out of every three women in the United States are considered overweight or obese. As skin stretches, you may notice changes to your body that you didn’t expect, such as an expanding vulva.
This area may remain pronounced even if you lose a significant amount of weight. Unless the weight is lost in the pelvic area, your mons pubis may still protrude more than before.
The skin may not return to its previous state through targeted weight loss either. Procedures like gastric bypass surgery may leave behind a “pooch” or result in drooping skin above the pelvic area.
If you gain or lose weight in your stomach, the look and shape of your stomach changes. The same can be said for your vulva.
Weight changes affecting the mons pubis can sometimes lead to changes in the outer labia. If the shape of your outer labia changes, your vulva may look different than it did before.
For example, you may find that your:
- outer lips look puffier
- outer lips hang lower than before
- inner lips are no longer exposed
Although these terms are often used to refer to the same area of skin, they aren’t interchangeable.
Your mons pubis is the area directly above your labia — no higher, no lower. This is where the bulk of your pubic hair grows.
Your upper pubic area, on the other hand, is basically your lower stomach. It’s the area above your pubic hair but below your belly button.
Some people use the term FUPA to describe excess skin in the upper pubic area, particularly if it hangs or sags above the mons pubis.
Although adopting a new exercise routine is often more accessible, it’s impossible to determine whether doing so will lead to weight loss in a certain area. It all depends on your individual weight and overall body type.
Because of this, many people opt for liposuction. This surgical procedure is used to remove excess fat in specific locations.
Regular exercise can help you lose weight and gain muscle tone. You may be surprised to find that the size of your mons pubis naturally decreases as your weight goes down.
You can also do exercises that target the lower pelvic area. Building muscle tone in the lower pelvis can help pull the mons pubis upward, creating a smoother appearance.
To do a V pull:
- Start on your back with legs out straight and arms overhead.
- Lift your legs up high and try to touch your toes.
- Return to the starting position.
This is one rep.
To do mountain climbers:
- Start in a plank position.
- Quickly bring one knee up toward your chest, then land back down on your toes.
- Bring the other knee toward your chest, and land back down on your toes.
This is one rep.
To do plank jacks:
- Start in a plank position.
- Jump both legs out and in (like jumping jacks).
This is one rep.
It takes time to lose weight and build muscle, so be patient with yourself. If you can, give it at least three to four months before turning to costly procedures.
CoolSculpting and truSculpt both target pockets of stubborn fat. However, they use different nonsurgical techniques to break up fat cells and encourage your body to naturally eliminate them.
These procedures work best on minor bulges. They aren’t considered weight loss solutions, and they don’t eliminate excess skin.
These procedures are considered cosmetic and aren’t covered by insurance.
To do a pubic lift (monoplasty), your surgeon will use a combination of liposuction and excision techniques to remove unwanted pockets of fat and excess skin.
This procedure is often done in conjunction with an abdominoplasty. Both procedures are considered cosmetic and won’t be covered by insurance.
Your recovery time depends on the exact techniques used. Your surgeon can tell you more about what to expect during recovery.
If you’re concerned about the size of your pubic area, make an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare provider. They can answer any questions you have and may help you feel more at ease with the overall appearance.
If you want to learn more about reduction, your provider can refer you to a plastic surgeon or other specialist to discuss your options.