Image: grinvalds via iStock Image: grinvalds via iStock

Women should not get hung up on whether or not their vagina looks like other people's - because there is absolutely no such thing as normal, according to the results of a new study.

Researchers at Lucerne Cantonal Hospital in Switzerland assessed 657 women between the ages of 15 and 84 over the course of two years.

They took a number of measurements, including length of the labia majora and labia minora, distance between clitoris and urethra and length of the clitoris to see if there were many similarities or differences between them.

The results were startling and demonstrated a drastic range of results between individuals. For example, the average length of the inner labia was 43mm, but some were as short as 5mm, while others measured in at 100mm.

Similarly, the shortest outer labia was 12mm and the longest was 180mm. In fact, the scientists involved said they were reluctant to even mention an 'average' for each measurement, because the range was so enormous that it would be 'woefully misrepresentative'.

The news comes at a time when an alarming number of women are undergoing surgery on their lady garden to alter its appearance for purely cosmetic purposes.

Indeed, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has noted a 45 per cent increase in labiaplasty between 2015 and 2016 alone, which research shows is mainly driven by seeing pornography and photoshopped social media posts featuring 'minimalist' vulvas.

The matter is getting so serious that the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology released a vulva health guide last year, designed to show what female anatomy really looks like and to discourage young women from seeking out so-called designer vaginas.

Meanwhile, gynaecologists have spoken out to discourage a new social media trend that involves steaming the intimate area, pointing out that it could result in things becoming less than normal down there.

Chrissy Teigan and Gwyneth Paltrow are among those who have advocated vaginal steams (said to be like a facial for the vagina), which involve sitting on something akin to an outside toilet that generates hot vapour filled with essential oils in order to pamper your parts.

However, experts have said there is no scientific benefit and that the 'treatment' could actually promote the growth of bacteria and yeast, increase itchiness and strip the vagina of its natural lubricants.

So, there you have it. The moral of all these stories seems to be to leave things alone down there - and to instead simply enjoy making the most of what you have.