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Vulva

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VULVA ANATOMY

The vulva encompasses the external female genitalia. The female external genitalia include the structures which surround the vaginal orifice such as the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vaginal vestibule, vestibular bulbs, and vestibular glands. A subcutaneous pad of adipose connective tissue which covers the symphysis pubis is known as the mons pubis. This area is covered with a triangular pattern of pubic hair in a sexually mature female. It is responsible for the padding the symphysis pubis and vulva during intercourse.

VULVA STRUCTURE

The labia majora consist of 2 logitudinal folds of skin. Within these folds loose connective tissue, smooth muscle, and adipose connective tissue retain the shape of the labia majora. A post pubescent body finds these folds of skin covered with pubic hair. The mons pubis and the labia majora run connectively and continuously with each other. They experience a brief longitudinal segregation and they are reunited again along the perineum. In between them during their segregation is a pudental cleft. Sweat glands and numerous sebaceous glands reside in the labia majora. The structures of the vuvla are protected by the encasement of the labia majora and are comparable to the male scrotum.

The smaller labia minora are situated run medially to the labia majora. The hairless labia minora contain sebaceous glands. The labia majora form the prepuce anteriorly, uniting to form a hood like covering that partially protects the clitoris. The vaginal opening and the urethral opening are protected by the labia minora.

VULVA DIAGRAM

Vulva
Image: Vulva


In the upper portion of the pudental cleft a small projection known as the clitoris reveals itself. The clitoris is comparable to the male penis is location and function with the exception of its variance in size and its lack of urethra. The glans of the clitoris is slightly exposed and filled with erectile tissue. Innervated with sensory nerve endings, the clitoris can provide sexual sensation as well as urinary release. Measuring 2 cm and .5 cm in diameter, most of the clitoris is hidden under the labia majora. Two column sof erectile tissue known as corpora cavernosa deviate posteriorly and form the crura before attaching to the sides of the pubic arch.

Enclosed by the labia minora, the vaginal vestibule appears as a longitudinal cleft. Behind the glans of the clitoris the urethral orifice measures only about 2.5 cm. It is positioned immediately anterior to the vaginal orifice. Secretions of fluid from the major and minor vestibule glands lubricate the vaginal orifice during sexual excitement.

Also called Bartholin’s glands, they are positioned directly inside the opening of the vaginal orifice along the wall. The glands are attached to ducts, which open into the vaginal vestibule along the lateral boundaries of the vaginal orifice.

VULVA FUNCTIONS

Vestibular bulbs are vascular erectile tissue. Just under the skin along the lateral walls of the vaginal vestibule the vestibular bulbs are located. The vagina and the urethra segregate these bulbs. These bulbs can be found from the vaginal orifice to the clitoris. Arterial blood supplies the highly vascular vulva with the necessary supply. This supply comes from the internal pudental branches of the internal iliac arteries as well as the external pudental branches from the femoral arteries. Within the various structures which makes up the vulva a large complicated network of blood supplying arteries can be found. The veins responsible for returning the used blood can be found running alongside the same method of transport to the vulva’s various structures. Sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation is found throughout the vulva as well as extensive somatic neurons that react to sensory stimulation. Parasympathetic stimulation causes a reaction comparable to that of the male: dilation of the arterioles of the genital erectile tissue and restriction of the venous return.

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