For years, Tracy Kiss experienced pain in her labia, but since she'd never been taught how her labia should feel, she assumed everyone dealt with this discomfort. Then, when she was 28, she had two Bartholin cysts, she explained in a blog post. Her doctor told her that because she had very long labia, they'd caused both the cysts and would likely cause more cysts in the future. So, she decided to undergo labiaplasty, a surgery to reduce the labia, Teen Vogue reports.
Kiss described how hard it's been to live with a long labia in her blog post. "I’ve always sat back on my buttocks to keep my genitalia elevated from any surface rather than sit straight down or leaning forwards and compressing it, which leads to further pain and swelling," she explained. "I have also had my labia pushed inside my body during sex, which is horrendously painful, and I can only compare it to having piles or a Chinese burn. As my labia are so large, they protrude from my body and constantly rub and irritate against clothing, exercise, and everyday activities of which I am never free from discomfort."
After her surgery, to celebrate finally being liberated from the pain she'd dealt with her whole life, Kiss asked her doctors to give her the tissue they'd cut off. She then took it home in a jar and added glitter to make it into a necklace.
"I see my necklace as being symbolic of never suffering in silence and a reminder of the importance of us all knowing our own bodies to understand when we should ask for help," Kiss told Refinery29. "If I’d have been told I didn’t have to live in pain because of my genitals, I would’ve had the surgery a very long time ago, but it’s not something that girls (or women) talk about, and [it's] shocking to know that so many others are affected by this but don’t know that they have a choice to stop it."
Labiaplasties are often performed for cosmetic reasons, which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns against due to the potential for infections and other complications. However, in some cases, like Kiss's, they can be medically necessary.
"I hope that in sharing my experience, other women can see that there is a cure for painful labia," she said. "And a better quality of life living pain-free because of it."