Anatomy of the vagina

Anatomy of the vaginaAnatomical features of vagina. Functions of the vagina. Blood supply and innervation of the vagina
~ 5 min

In this note, we will consider the anatomy of the vagina (vagina).

Vagina (vagina)
Vagina (vagina)
Vagina (vagina)
Vagina (vagina)
Vagina (vagina)
Vagina (vagina)

It is an organ of the female reproductive system.

The vagina connects the uterus with the external genitals; it serves for sexual intercourse, menstrual blood excretion, and fetal birth.

Holotopy

This organ is located in the pelvic cavity.

Skeletotopy

The vagina is located at the level between the third sacral and first coccygeal vertebrae (S3-Co1).

Syntopy

Let’s consider which anatomical structures and organs adhere to the vagina.

  • The rectum is located posteriorly.
Rectum (rectum)
Rectum (rectum)
  • Anteriorly to the vagina, there is the urethra and the fundus of the bladder.
Urinary bladder (vesica urinaria)
Urinary bladder (vesica urinaria)
  • The venous vaginal plexus and the pelvic part of the ureter are located laterally from the vagina in the cellular tissue.
Venous vaginal plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis)
Venous vaginal plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis)
Venous vaginal plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis)
Venous vaginal plexus  (plexus venosus vaginalis)

Inferiorly, the vagina passes through the perineum.

Perineum (perineum)
Perineum (perineum)

Macroscopic structure

The vagina has two walls:

  • The anterior wall (paries anterior)
Anterior wall (paries anterior)
Anterior wall (paries anterior)
  • The posterior wall (paries posterior)
Posterior wall (paries posterior)
Posterior wall (paries posterior)
Posterior wall (paries posterior)
Posterior wall (paries posterior)

The vaginal fornix (fornix vaginae) is the space between the cervix of the uterus and the walls of the vagina. The fornix has 4 parts:

1. The anterior part (pars anterior)

Anterior part (pars anterior)
Anterior part (pars anterior)
Anterior part (pars anterior)
Anterior part (pars anterior)

2. The posterior part (pars posterior), which is the deepest

Posterior part (pars posterior)
Posterior part (pars posterior)

3. Lateral parts (partes laterales)

Lateral parts (partes laterales)
Lateral parts (partes laterales)
Lateral parts (partes laterales)
Lateral parts (partes laterales)

The vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae) opens into the vestibule of the vagina.

Vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae)
 Vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae)
Vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae)
 Vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae)
Vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae)
 Vaginal orifice (ostium vaginae)
Vestibule of the vagina
(vestibulum vaginae)
Vestibule of the vagina<br />
 (vestibulum vaginae)

In virgins, it is covered by a fold of the mucous membrane called the hymen (hymen).

Hymen (hymen)
Hymen (hymen)

The vaginal wall consists of several layers.

The mucous membrane (tunica mucosa).

It is lined with a non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium and does not contain glands. This membrane forms a number of rugae.

  • Transverse vaginal rugae (rugae vaginales).
Transverse vaginal rugae (rugae vaginales)
Transverse vaginal rugae (rugae vaginales)
  • Closer to the median line, the transverse vaginal rugae become higher and form longitudinally oriented columns of rugae (columnae rugarum).
Columns of rugae (columnae rugarum)
Columns of rugae (columnae rugarum)
  • The anterior column of the rugae (columna rugarum anterior), which is more pronounced.

Inferiorly, it forms a longitudinally oriented protrusion called the urethral carina of the vagina (carina urethralis vaginae), which corresponds to the urethra adhering to the vagina.

Urethral carina of the vagina (carina urethralis vaginae)
Urethral carina of the vagina (carina urethralis vaginae)
  • The anterior and posterior columns are located on different sides of the median plane.

The muscular coat / layer (tunica muscularis)

Muscular coat (tunica muscularis)
Muscular coat (tunica muscularis)

It consists of two layers of smooth muscles:

  1. Circular layer (stratum circulare), which is an internal layer
  2. Longitudinal layer (stratum longitudinale), which is an external layer

In the area of the vaginal orifice, there is a cluster of striated circular fibers of the perineal muscles.

This is the vaginal sphincter (m. sphincter vaginae).

The outer sheath consists of the peritoneum and adventitia.

In relation to the peritoneum, the organ lies extraperitoneally, it is covered with the peritoneum only within the recto-uterine pouch.

Blood supply

Arterial blood flows through the branches of the internal iliac artery (a. iliaca interna):

  • The uterine artery (a. uterina);
  • The inferior vesical artery (a. vesicalis inferior);
  • The middle rectal artery (a. rectalis media);
  • The internal pudendal artery (a. pudenda interna).

Venous drainage

Venous blood drains through the eponymous veins to:

  • The vaginal venous plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis);
  • The vesical venous plexus (plexus venosus vesicalis);
  • The uterine venous plexus (plexus venosus uterinus);
  • The rectal venous plexus (plexus venosus rectalis).

Lymph drainage

Lymph drains mainly into:

  • The internal iliac lymph nodes (nodi lymphatici iliaci interni);
  • The deep inguinal lymph nodes (nodi lymphatici inguinales profundi);
  • The superficial inguinal lymph nodes (nodi lymphatici inguinales superficiales);
  • The pelvic lymph nodes (nodi lymphatici sacrales).

Innervation

Along the course of the organ, nerve fibers form the so-called vaginal plexus (plexus vaginalis), which is part of the uterovaginal plexus (plexus uterovaginalis).

  • Afferent innervation is provided by the sensitive fibers of the sacral spinal nerves.
  • Parasympathetic innervation is provided by the fibers of the pelvic splanchnic nerve.
  • Sympathetic innervation is provided by the fibers of the hypogastric plexus.
Dictionary

Anatomy of the vagina

Female genitalia
organa genitalia feminina
Ovaries
ovarium
Uterus
uterus
Uterine tubes
tuba uterina
Vagina
vagina
Mons pubis
mons pubis
Labia majora
labia majora pudendi
Labia minora
labia minora pudendi
Greater vestibular glands
glandulae vestibulares majores
Lesser vestibular glands
glandulae vestibulares minores
Bulb of the vestibule
bulbus vestibuli
Clitoris
clitoris
Hymen
hymen
Mammary gland
mamma
Anterior wall
paries anterior
Posterior wall
paries posterior
Fornix of the vagina
fornix vaginae
Anterior part
pars anterior
Posterior part
pars posterior
Lateral parts
partes laterales
Vaginal orifice
ostium vaginae
Transverse vaginal rugae
rugae vaginales
Vaginal columns
columnae rugarum
Anterior vaginal column
columna rugarum anterior
Urethral carina of the vagina
carina urethralis vaginae
Mucous membrane
tunica mucosa
Muscular layer
tunica muscularis
Circular layer
stratum circulare
Longitudinal layer
stratum longitudinale
Sphincter muscle of the vagina
m. sphincter vaginae
Uterine artery
a. uterina
Inferior vesical artery
a. vesicalis inferior
Middle rectal artery
a. rectalis media
Internal pudendal artery
a. pudenda interna
Vaginal venous plexus
plexus venosus vaginalis
Vesical venous plexus
plexus venosus vesicalis
Uterine venous plexus
plexus venosus uterinus
Rectal venous plexus
plexus venosus rectalis
Internal iliac lymph nodes
nodi lymphatici iliaci interni
Deep inguinal lymph nodes
nodi lymphatici inguinales profundi
Superficial inguinal lymph nodes
nodi lymphatici inguinales superficiales
Pelvic lymph nodes
nodi lymphatici sacrales
Vaginal plexus
plexus vaginalis
Uterovaginal plexus
plexus uterovaginalis
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