May 19 2009

Vaginal Opening (Introitus)

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The Vaginal Opening is at the bottom of the Vestibule (vulva floor). Although we think of the vagina as a ‘pipe’ leading from the vulva to the cervix, it is normally collapsed onto itself, with its walls touching each other when it is unaroused. If you could make a section through the vagina when unaroused, it will look like a capital letter H. When it is aroused, the walls and surrounding tissue engorges with blood and it opens up to resemble a pipe. The vaginal opening may be at least partly covered by the hymen or have the hymenal remnants (also called ‘tags’ – as in skin tags) around it.

 

(License: Nicholasolan at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)

 

The vaginal opening is not smooth or round. It can take many shapes that can roughly be described as round. It can have bumps, ridges and tags. Some women will be able to see right inside the vagina if aroused, some woman will have the anterior (front) wall of the vagina block the entrance. These are all normal.

The vaginal entrance is surrounded by pelvic floor muscles. It is also rich in nerve endings. During orgasm, the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vaginal entrance will normally contract rhythmically. The bulbs of the clitoral complex are also just under the skin and almost surrounding the vaginal entrance. It is thus possible to stimulate the clitoral complex from the vaginal entrance.

Two Bartholin’s glands mouth out on the sides of the vaginal opening. These secrete a drop of two of clear fluid during arousal. The function of the fluid is not well understood but it is thought to be to lubricate the vaginal opening to ease initial penetration before the penis reaches the area inside the vagina where an abundance of arousal fluid is present. It may also sanitize the vaginal entrance. The fluid from the Bartholin’s glands is the equivalent of the pre-ejaculate fluid in men.

There should however not be anything hanging from the vaginal entrance, that will normally be a sign of prolapsed of internal organs.

Some women that have septate hymens will see the fleshy bridge part of the hymen hang down outside the entrance, or if the septate hymen was torn, it might have fleshy tags hanging down (one or two).

The vaginal opening is where menstrual blood, vaginal arousal fluid and cervical mucus exits the body. It is also the exit point for a baby during natural child birth. If a woman has an infection, the discharge can also normally be seen at the vaginal entrance.

During intercourse, the penis enters through the vaginal entrance. Tampons, menstrual cups, contraceptive ring and diaphragms inter through the vaginal entrance.

The vaginal entrance is the ideal place for a woman to monitor her cervical mucus and fertility.

The posterior (back) of the vaginal entrance contains a lot of very soft tissue. It is prone to tearing during rough or non-concentual penetration and natural child birth. Luckily it heals very quickly.

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