Women-specific health issues are still all-too-often shrouded in mystery, shame, and secrecy. But after experiencing frequent discomfort due to “excess labia tissue,” one woman turned her “excess” into a wearable necklace to proudly display the fact that she overcame a lifetime of pain.
London-based model and blogger, Tracy Kiss, 29, often felt pain “down there” when doing mundane daily activities. But one day, when that pain became unbearable, Kiss visited her doctor and learned she had a cyst on her labia minora caused by excess labia tissue.
“I have always found wearing underwear, jeans, cycling, and sitting on hard surfaces very uncomfortable,” Kiss told TeenVogue.com, “and didn’t actually realize it was because my genitals were different to what is normal — if there is such a thing.”
The doctor informed Kiss that her labia minora was longer than her labia majora, which caused irritation and eventually a cyst formation. If Kiss decided to not go through with surgery to correct the issue, she would continue to experience cysts on her labia minora in the future.
While she contemplated having the labiaplasty, she developed yet another cyst within the same month. Not wanting to deal with the unbearable pain for the rest of her life, Kiss decided to go through with the procedure.
Kiss told TeenVogue.com that the surgery changed her life, and she wished she had been involved in more conversations about vaginal health in her past. Perhaps then she would have been more in-the-know and done something about her excess labia tissue years earlier.
“I feel gutted that I went 29 years without knowing there was anything wrong with me,” she said. “If I’d been told during sex education at school, or given advice by a midwife during my pregnancy, then I’d have made the decision a lot sooner to have treatment.”
“Seeing as I was awake for my labiaplasty surgery,” Kiss continued to tell TeenVogue.com, “whilst chatting to my surgeon, I casually asked if I could keep my labia as a trophy of finally being pain-free.” The surgeon complied and Kiss was able to take the excess tissue home in the surgical fluid.
When the tissue started to turn “grey and curly” about a year out from her surgery, Kiss looked into other preservation options to keep her trophy long-term. That’s when she decided to make her labia into a pendant.
Kiss DIY-ed her own labia pendant, drying the tissue out, painting it, and adding glitter before dunking the duo into clear resin. You can watch her process in the video below:
“Nobody recognized my necklace contains labia because it’s not something you would ever expect to see,” Kiss added during her interview, “but…I did see my glittery labia pendant as a reminder to never suffer in silence.”
Kiss hopes that by sharing her experience and funky DIY project, she’s opening up communication lines and raising awareness about vaginal health. Reach out to your doctor if you have any questions regarding your health and never be embarrassed by your inquiries.
You can read Kiss’ full labiaplasty story on her website.