Image result for vagina anatomyVagina

The Vagina is a tubular tract that leads from the Uterus to the exterior of the female body. The Vagina has a very important role in Female Sexual Reproduction.

The Vaginal tract ends the Cervix. The Vaginal width and length can stretch during birth and sexual intercourse.

Men have only one genital orifice, women have two.

The first, and larger opening, is the vaginal opening and the second, the smaller, is the urethral opening. The Vulva is the outer female genitalia, or the external vaginal opening or female reproductive tract. The Labia protects both of the openings.

There is an inner area of tissue, that has a texture of tissue, which can create friction with the penis during intercourse. During the arousal portion of sexual intercourse, the vagina becomes moist to allow the entrance of the penis.

Common wording – Vagina refers to the Vulva and/or female genitals

Anatomical definitions – Vagina refers exclusively to the internal structure

Two main functions:

1.)  Sexual intercourse

2.)  Childbirth.

General Anatomy

–  The vagina is an elastic muscular canal from Vulva to Cervix
–  The internal lining is Stratified Squamous Epithelium.
–  The layer under this lining is Smooth Muscle and it may contract during sexual intercourse and during childbirth.
–  Beneath smooth muscle is Connective Tissue called Adventitia
–  Typical Length across the front: 6-7.5 cm
–  Typical Length across the posterior wall: 9 cm
–  The length will increase during sexual arousal.

1.)   Mons Pubis

–  A rounded mass of fatty tissue over the pelvic bone
–  It is anterior to the Pubic Symphysis (which is the midline cartilaginous joint that unites the Superior Rami of the Left and Right Pubic Bones)
–  Its size varies on hormones and body fat
–  After puberty – this area becomes covered with hair.

2.)  Labia Minora

–  The inner labia or inner lips
–  Two flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening
–  They sit to the inside of the Labia Majora
–  Extends from the Clitoris downward to the vulval vestibule

3.)  Clitoris

–  This is a female sexual organ
–  Near the front junction of the Labia Minora
–  Above the Urethral opening
–  In humans, not used for urination
–  This area is the female’s most sensitive Erogenous Zone and is the primary source of female sexual pleasure.

4.)  Vestibule

–  Part of the Vulva between the Labia Minora that includes the urethral opening and vaginal opening.

5.)  Hymen

–  A membrane that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening

6.)  Entrance

7.)  Urethral opening

8.)  Labia Majora

–  The two prominent folds that extend from the Mons Pubis to the Perineum

9.)  Perineum

10.)  Anus

Bartholin’s Glands

–  Glands near the vaginal opening that provide the lubrication for the vagina and the cervix.
–  Prior and often during ovulation, the Cervix will secrete mucus that increases the chances for sperm to survive.
–  After Menopause – the body will produce less estrogen – and without treatment – the vaginal wall with thin dramatically.

Skene’s Glands

–  Also known as the “lesser vestibular gland” and the “female prostate”.
–  Located on the anterior wall of the Vagina around the lower end of the urethra.
–  They drain into the urethra and near the opening.
–  May be near or part of the G-spot.
–  Swells with blood during sexual arousal.

The Hymen

–  It is an extremely thin layer of the membrane at the opening of the vagina.
–  It overlays the opening of the vagina until sexual intercourse, trauma, or activities such as horseback riding, gymnastics, or other activities.
–  An absence of hymen does not necessarily mean prior sexual activity.
–  The hymen is not always affected during sexual intercourse as well.

Vaginal Ecosystem

–  The environment of the vagina is interesting and unique.
–  There is a variety of microflora that exists.
–  Changes occur as a girl goes through puberty, into childbearing years, during menopause, and after menopause.
–  Hormones or lack thereof will influence this ecosystem throughout one’s lifetime.
–  Estrogen, Progesterone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and more are examples.
–  Menses and Pregnancy bring about different changes.

1.)  Acidity

–  Vaginal pH is important to understand
–  Premenarchial girls have a pH of 7.0
–  Reproductive Age women have a pH of 3.8-4.4
–  During Menopause, women have a pH of 6.5-7.0  (Without hormone replacement)
–  During Menopause women have a pH of 4.5-5.0 if hormone replacement is used

vagina diagram Functions of Vagina

1.) Sexual activity

–  Many nerve endings are found in the vagina that allows for stimulation or arousal and pleasure.
–  These nerve endings can be found close to the vaginal opening.
–  The Clitoris contains many nerve endings.
–  Stimulation often of the clitoris can cause arousal.

2.) Childbirth

–  The pathway for birth from the uterus
–  Referred to as “Birth Canal
–  Size and length become enlarged and stretches during Childbirth.

3.) Pathway or ending point of menstrual blood

–  Certain cultures such things as napkins, tampons, and/or pads may be used to absorb these fluids

Below is a list of Medical Conditions that affect the Vagina

1.)  Abnormal Premenopausal Bleeding
2.)  Bacterial Vaginosis
3.)  Childbirth
4.)  Cervical Cancer
5.)  Cervical Dysplasia
6.)  Cervical Polyps
7.)  Cervicitis
8.)  Ectopic Pregnancy
9.)  Endometrial Cancer
10.)  Endometriosis
11.)  Endometrium
12.)  Genital Warts
13.)  Genital Herpes

Below is a general list of health issues involved with the Vagina

1.)  Bishop Score
2.)  Breech Birth
3.)  Cervical Effacement
4.)  Caesarean Section
5.)  Gynecologic Procedures
6.)  Hormone Replacement Therapy
7.)  Human Papillomavirus or HPV
8.)  Infertility
9.)  Intrauterine Device – IUD’s