Human Anatomy – Vagina
- Human Anatomy – Tonsils
- Human Anatomy – Teeth
- Human Anatomy – Stomach
- Human Anatomy – Tongue
- Human Anatomy – Esophagus
- Human Anatomy – Liver
- Human Anatomy – Gallbladder
- Human Anatomy – Pancreas
- Human Anatomy – Spleen
- Human Anatomy – Appendix
- Human Anatomy – Intestines
- Human Anatomy – Colon
- Human Anatomy – Abdomen
- Human Anatomy – Penis
- Human Anatomy – Bladder
- Human Anatomy – Kidneys
- Human Anatomy – Prostate
- Human Anatomy – Vagina
- Human Anatomy – Heart
- Human Anatomy – Skin
- Human Anatomy – Aorta
- Human Anatomy – Thyroid
- Human Anatomy – Lungs
- Human Anatomy – Brain
- Human Anatomy – Eyes
- Human Anatomy – Ears
- Human Anatomy – Sinuses
- Human Anatomy – Trachea
- Human Anatomy – Blood
- Human Anatomy – Rotator Cuff
- Human Anatomy – Shoulder
- Human Anatomy – Feet
- Human Anatomy – Hair
- Human Anatomy – Achilles Tendon
A vagina is the female sex organ. As the organ of sexual response, it accommodates the penis during copulation. The infant goes through it during childbirth. Furthermore, the organ serves as the passageway for menstrual fluids from the uterus.
A vagina links to the uterus, a pear-shaped hollow organ situated between the rectum and the bladder. The cervix, which serves as the channel between the vagina and uterus, projects into the vagina.
External structures, known as the vulva and labia, front the vagina. A superficial layer of tissue, called the hymen, partly constricts the vaginal opening. But it can be torn apart by sexual activities and exercising.
Vagina diseases and conditions
As is the case with males, the vagina is susceptible to many sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs or STDs). One of the most widely recorded is gonorrhea, an STI caused by bacterial infestation in the cervix, and chlamydia, brought about by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Five out of 10 women show symptoms of these infections, which often include vaginal discharges.
Trichomoniasis is another notorious – but easily treatable – sexually transmitted vaginal infection. Still another common STI is the incurable herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and leads to ulcerous growths on the vagina.
Another notable virus is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which targets the vulva and the vagina. It manifests itself with vaginal warts.
Meanwhile, bacterial vaginosis happens when the acidity of the vagina strays beyond normal levels, destabilizing the growth of healthy flora or “good bacteria” in the vagina. As a result, the vagina emits a certain stink and releases discharges. Causes of vaginosis include douching and sexual intercourse.
If a vagina comes under a yeast infection, it can get inflamed, a condition known as vaginitis. Inflammation of the vagina results in discharges, itching and reeking.
Childbirth and several other factors can weaken the pelvic muscles, causing the uterus to press on the vagina. This condition is called a vaginal prolapse. In its worst cases, prolapse causes the vagina to jut out the body.
As a point of comparison, vaginal prolapse is more common than cancer of the vagina. Telltale symptoms of this cancer are bleeding and discharges from the vagina. Surgery may be necessary.
During sexual intercourse, the vaginal muscles may involuntarily undergo spasms. This condition, termed vaginismus, is said to be caused by emotional apprehensions about sex and other factors.
Treating vagina conditions
Surgery may be required to treat a vaginal prolapse. Otherwise, the doctor may place a vaginal pessary inside the vagina to realign prolapsing organs.
With a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent vaginal prolapse by doing Kegel exercises. Whenever you urinate, stop your flow every ten seconds or so. Doing so exercises the pelvic muscles, thereby preventing vaginal prolapse.
As for STIs, antibiotics are prescribed by doctors against infections of bacterial nature, while antiviral drugs are used against herpes and other sexually transmitted viruses. Yeast infections can be treated by antifungal or antimicrobial medications.
There is a wide array of available treatments for removing vaginal warts. They include laser, freezing, electricity and chemicals.
Estrogen supplements may be necessary for menopausal women. In general, the vagina and all other female organs reciprocate well to estrogen.
Tests for vagina conditions
A Papanicolaou smear, or simply a Pap, should be done as a healthy lifestyle habit. This test looks for symptoms of vaginal cancer, but it is also used to determine cervical cancer. If the Pap smear yields suspicious results, the doctor may order a biopsy.
A pelvic exam can also identify many vaginal conditions. During a pelvic exam, the doctor uses a tool known as a speculum to scrutinize the vagina, vulva and cervix. While at it, the doctor may test the strength of the pelvic muscles and take a swab of the vagina and cervix for a lab culture.
In colposcopy, a doctor uses a microscope in the pelvic exam to spot cancer and other vaginal concerns.