vagina: Wikis

  

Encyclopedia

Vagina
Human vagina with view of the Skenes Glands
Latin "sheath" or "scabbard"
Gray's subject #269 1264
Artery Iliolumbar artery, vaginal artery, middle rectal artery
Lymph upper part to internal iliac lymph nodes, lower part to superficial inguinal lymph nodes
Precursor urogenital sinus and paramesonephric ducts
MeSH Vagina
Dorlands/Elsevier Vagina

The vagina (from Latin, literally "sheath" or "scabbard") is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the oviduct. The Latinate plural (rarely used in English) is vaginae.

In common speech, the term "vagina" is often used to refer to the vulva or female genitals generally; strictly speaking, the vagina is a specific internal structure and the vulva is the exterior genitalia only.

Contents

Human anatomy

The human vagina is an elastic muscular canal that extends from the cervix to the vulva.[1] Although there is wide anatomical variation, the length of the unaroused vagina is approximately 6 to 7.5 cm (2.5 to 3 in) across the anterior wall (front), and 9 cm (3.5 in) long across the posterior wall (rear).[2] During sexual arousal the vagina expands in both length and width.[3] Its elasticity allows it to stretch during sexual intercourse and during birth to offspring.[4] The vagina connects the superficial vulva to the cervix of the deep uterus.

If the woman stands upright, the vaginal tube points in an upward-backward direction and forms an angle of slightly more than 45 degrees with the uterus. The vaginal opening is at the caudal end of the vulva, behind the opening of the urethra. The upper one-fourth of the vagina is separated from the rectum by the rectouterine pouch. Above the vagina is Mons Veneris. The vagina, along with the inside of the vulva, is reddish pink in color, as with most healthy internal mucous membranes in mammals. A series of ridges produced by folding of the wall of the outer third of the female vagina is called vaginal rugae. They are transverse epithelial ridges and their function is to provide the vagina with increased surface area for extension and stretching. Vaginal lubrication is provided by the Bartholin's glands near the vaginal opening and the cervix. The membrane of the vaginal wall also produces moisture, although it does not contain any glands. Before and during ovulation, the cervix's mucus glands secretes different variations of mucus, which provides a favorable alkaline environment in the vaginal canal to maximize the chance of survival for sperm.

The hymen is a thin membrane of connective tissue which is situated at the opening of the vagina. As with many female animals, the hymen covers the opening of the vagina from birth until it is ruptured during sexual or non-sexual activity. The tissue may be ruptured by vaginal penetration, a pelvic examination, injury, or certain types of activities, such as horseback riding or gymnastics. The absence of a hymen does not necessarily indicate prior sexual activity, as it is not always ruptured during sexual intercourse.[5] Similarly, the presence does not necessarily indicate a lack of prior sexual activity, as it is possible for light activity to not rupture it, or for it to be surgically restored.

Physiological functions of the vagina

The vagina has several biological functions.

Uterine secretions

The vagina provides a path for menstrual blood and tissue to leave the body. In industrial societies, tampons, menstrual cups and sanitary napkins may be used to absorb or capture these fluids.

Sexual activity

The concentration of the nerve endings that lie close to the entrance of a woman's vagina can provide pleasurable sensation during sexual activity, when stimulated in a way that the particular woman enjoys. During sexual arousal, and particularly the stimulation of the clitoris, the walls of the vagina self-lubricate. This reduces friction that can be caused as a result of various sexual activities. Research has found that portions of the clitoris extend into the vulva and vagina.[6]

With arousal, the vagina lengthens rapidly to an average of about 4 in.(8.5 cm), but can continue to lengthen in response to pressure.[7] As the woman becomes fully aroused, the vagina tents (last ²⁄₃ expands in length and width) while the cervix retracts.[8] The walls of the vagina are composed of soft elastic folds of mucous membrane skin which stretch or contract (with support from pelvic muscles) to the size of the inserted penis.

G-spot

An erogenous zone referred to commonly as the G-spot is located at the anterior wall of the vagina, about five centimeters in from the entrance. Some women experience intense pleasure if the G-spot is stimulated appropriately during sexual activity. A G-Spot orgasm may be responsible for female ejaculation, leading some doctors and researchers to believe that G-spot pleasure comes from the Skene's glands, a female homologue of the prostate, rather than any particular spot on the vaginal wall.[9][10][11] Some researchers deny the existence of the G-spot.[12]

Childbirth

During childbirth, the vagina provides the channel to deliver the baby from the uterus to its independent life outside the body of the mother. During birth, the vagina is often referred to as the birth canal. The vagina is remarkably elastic and stretches to many times its normal diameter during vaginal birth.

Sexual health and hygiene

The vagina is self-cleansing and therefore usually needs no special treatment. Doctors generally discourage the practice of douching. Since a healthy vagina is colonized by a mutually symbiotic flora of microorganisms that protect its host from disease-causing microbes, any attempt to upset this balance may cause many undesirable outcomes, including but not limited to abnormal discharge and yeast infection. The acidity of a healthy vagina is due to lactic acid secreted by symbiotic microorganisms which retards the growth of many strains of dangerous microbes.

The vagina is examined during gynecological exams, often using a speculum, which holds the vagina open for visual inspection of the cervix or taking of samples (see pap smear).

Signs of vaginal disease

Vaginal diseases present with lumps, discharge and sores:

The presence of unusual lumps in the wall or base of the vagina is always abnormal. The most common of these is Bartholin's cyst. The cyst, which can feel like a pea, is formed by a blockage in glands which normally supply the opening of the vagina. This condition is easily treated with minor surgery or silver nitrate. Other less common causes of small lumps or vesicles are herpes simplex. They are usually multiple and very painful with a clear fluid leaving a crust. They may be associated with generalized swelling and are very tender. Lumps associated with cancer of the vaginal wall are very rare and the average age of onset is seventy years.[14] The most common form is squamous cell carcinoma, then cancer of the glands or adenocarcinoma and finally, and even more rarely, melanoma.

The great majority of vaginal discharges are normal or physiological and include blood or menses (from the uterus), the most common, and clear fluid either as a result of sexual arousal or secretions from the cervix. Other non infective causes include dermatitis, discharge from foreign bodies such as retained tampons or foreign bodies inserted by curious female children into their own vaginas. Non-sexually transmitted discharges occur from bacterial vaginosis and thrush or candidiasis. The final group of discharges include sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomonas. The discharge from thrush is slightly pungent and white, that from Trichomonas more foul and greenish and that from foreign bodies resembles the discharge of gonorrhoea, greyish or yellow and purulent (like pus).

All sores involve a break down in the walls of the fine membrane of the vaginal wall. The most common of these are abrasions and small ulcers caused by trauma. While these can be inflicted during rape most are actually caused by excessive rubbing from clothing or improper insertion of a sanitary tampon. The typical ulcer or sore caused by syphilis is painless with raised edges. These are often undetected because they occur mostly inside the vagina. The sores of herpes which occur with vesicles are extremely tender and may cause such swelling that passing urine is difficult. In the developing world a group of parasitic diseases also cause vaginal ulceration such as Leishmaniasis but these are rarely encountered in the west. HIV/AIDS can be contracted through the vagina during intercourse but is not associated with any local vaginal or vulval disease.[17] All the above local vulvovaginal diseases are easily treated. Often only shame prevents patients from presenting for treatment.[18]

Additional images

See also

References



Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also vagína, vágina, and Vagina

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Etymology

From Latin vāgīna (sheath).

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
vagina

Plural
vaginas or vaginae or vaginæ

vagina (plural vaginas or vaginae or vaginæ)

  1. (anatomy) The passage leading from the opening of the vulva to the cervix of the uterus in female mammals.
  2. (zoology) A similar part in some invertebrates.
  3. (botany) A sheath-like structure, such as the leaf of a grass that surrounds a stem.
  4. (colloquial) The vulva.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Translations


Finnish

Noun

vagina

  1. (anatomy) vagina

Declension


Italian

Noun

vagina f. (plural vagine)

  1. (anatomy) vagina

Derived terms

See also


Latin

Alternative spellings

  • uāgīna

Pronunciation 1

Noun

vāgīna (genitive vāgīnae); f, first declension

  1. sheath, scabbard
    Mitte gladium in vaginam.
    Put the sword into [its] sheath.
    Gladium vāgina proripere.
    To draw a sword from the sheath hastily.
  2. covering, sheath, holder of any thing
    Omnia principalia viscera membranis propriis ac velut vaginis inclusit natura.
    Cremato eo (corpore), inimici ... remeanti animae veluti vaginam ademerint.
  3. sheath of an ear of grain, etc., the hull, husk
  4. female vagina
  5. sheath of a claw, in cats
  6. vocative singular of vāgīna
Inflection
Number Singular Plural
nominative vāgīna vāgīnae
genitive vāgīnae vāgīnārum
dative vāgīnae vāgīnīs
accusative vāgīnam vāgīnās
ablative vāgīnā vāgīnīs
vocative vāgīna vāgīnae
Descendants

Pronunciation 2

Noun

vāgīnā f.

  1. ablative singular of vāgīna

Slovene

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Slovene Wikipedia has an article on:
Vagina

Wikipedia sl

Noun

vagina f.

  1. vagina

Spanish

Noun

vagina f. (plural vaginas)

Singular
vagina f.

Plural
vaginas f.

  1. vagina

Simple English

File:Female reproductive system
Human female internal reproductive system

The vagina is a part of the female human body. Menstrual fluid (red blood-like liquid lost during a monthly period or menstruation) leaves the body through the vagina. During birth, the vagina opens to let the baby through from the uterus for independent life. The vagina is reddish pink in color.

Contents

Location

It is on the lower centre of the vulva. It is the tube leading from the uterus (womb) to the outside of the body. The opening is found between the legs, inside the labium, behind the opening to the urethra, a tube leading to the bladder, and in front of the anus, the opening to the rectum.

Anatomy

The vagina is an elastic, muscular tube starting from the cervix and ending at the vulva.[1] It is about 6 to 7.5 cm (2.5 to 3 in) wide, and 9 cm (3.5 in) long.[2] During sexual intercourse and childbirth, the vagina gets wider and bigger.[3]

The vagina has to be lubricated to stay clean and allow sexual intercourse and childbirth. It is lubricated by the Bartholin's glands. This mucus also allows sperm easier access to fertilize an ovum.

Functions

Release

The vagina releases blood and tissue during menstruation. Tampons can be used to absorb some of the blood.[4]

Sex

During sexual intercourse, the man’s penis is placed in the woman’s vagina. The vagina is warm and grips the penis, which feels really good for the man and usually causes him to have an orgasm. During his orgasm he ejaculates semen from his penis into the vagina. The semen contains sperm, which can then travel from the vagina into the uterus to fertilize an egg and make a woman pregnant. (The man may also have an orgasm and release semen into the woman’s vagina even when she is not likely to get pregnant, such as when she is using birth control.)The vagina has lots of nerves, so when a woman is aroused, she has a pleasurable sensation sometimes causing her to have an orgasm too. Touching the clitoris or G-spot can help lead her to an orgasm.

During arousal, the vagina gets up to 8.5 cm (4 in) wider, but can get bigger with more stimulation.[5]

G-spot

The G-spot is found near the entrance of the vagina. The G-spot, if stimulated, leads to a strong orgasm or female ejaculation.[6][7][8] Some researchers deny the existence of the G-spot.[9]

Childbirth

During birth, the vagina acts as a 'path' for the baby to pass through. The vagina is very elastic and stretches to many times its normal diameter during birth.

Pregnancy

Sperm needs to be deposited at the top of the vagina near the cervix, or ring of muscle at the entry to the uterus, and fertilize the ovum (egg) if pregnancy is to occur.

In a normal childbirth, babies come out through the vagina.

Other pages

Other websites

  • Pink Parts - More information on female sexual anatomy.

References

  1. http://www.womenshealth.gov/glossary/#vagina Womenshealth.gov
  2. Gray's Anatomy
  3. "The sexual response cycle". EngenderHealth. http://www.engenderhealth.org/res/onc/sexuality/response/pg2.html. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  4. "All about Menstruation". http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/girls/menstruation.html. Retrieved 2010-05-14. 
  5. "Does size matter". TheSite.org. http://www.thesite.org/sexandrelationships/havingsex/performanceproblems/doessizematter. Retrieved 2006-08-12. 
  6. Crooks, R; Baur, K. Our Sexuality. California: Brooks/Cole. 
  7. Jannini E, Simonelli C, Lenzi A (2002). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Sexological approach to ejaculatory dysfunction."]. Int J Androl 25 (6): 317–23. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2605.2002.00371.x. PMID 12406363. 
  8. Jannini E, Simonelli C, Lenzi A (2002). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Disorders of ejaculation."]. J Endocrinol Invest 25 (11): 1006–19. PMID 12553564. 
  9. Hines, T (August 2001). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "The G-Spot: A modern gynecologic myth"]. Am J Obstet Gynecol 185 (2): 359–62. doi:10.1067/mob.2001.115995. 
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