The vulva: set of the external genitalia of women, is part of the female reproductive system .
The vulva and vagina , two different anatomical structures should not be confused, are the organs of copulation.
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- 1 The vulva is made up of the following parts:
- 2 lips (genitals)
- 3 Clitoris
- 4 Vagina
- 5 Secretions and smells
- 6 Hygiene
- 7 Diseases of the Vulva
- 8 See Also
- 9 Sources
The vulva is made up of the following parts:
- Hood or foreskin of clitoris
- Minor lips
- Vaginal entry
- Greater lips
- The vestibule, at the bottom of which the urethra and vagina open.
- The lips
- Greater lips
- Minor lips
- The pubis or mount of Venus
- The clitoris
- Vestibular bulbs (or vulvar bulbs), a pair of attached erectile bodies
- Bartholin’s glands or major vestibular glands, a pair of adnexal glands, and Skene’s glands.
The labia majora are each of the two lips that cover the corresponding labia minora at the edges of the vulvar cleft, forming skin folds of fatty tissue, covered by pubic hair after puberty.
The front end of each lip comes together in a fold that forms the hood of the clitoris, which it wraps around. These lips meet in a posterior fold in the shape of the letter ‘u’ called a hairpin. Hairpin, labia majora, and clitoral hood make up the entire boundaries of the vulvar surface. They can be large or small, short or long and have different sizes. This is all normal. They can be sexually sensitive and swell a little when the woman is turned on.
The labia minora are also tender and can swell during sexual arousal. They are located inside the labia majora and run from the hood of the clitoris to below the vagina, surrounding the orifices of the vagina and urethra .
The hole in the vagina is called an introitus, and the crescent-shaped area behind that hole is known as the vulvar hairpin. Through tiny ducts that are located next to the introitus, Bartholin’s glands, when stimulated, secrete a flow (mucus) that lubricates the vagina during intercourse. They can vary from pink to dark brown, depending on the color of the woman’s skin. Like the nipples, the labia minora can change color when a woman matures. Sometimes they protrude between the labia majora, and can be wrinkled or smooth.
The clitoris is located below the point where the labia minora meet. The head, or glans, of the clitoris may appear smaller than a pea, or be larger than the tip of a finger. But only the tip of the clitoris can be seen above the vulva, in the soft folds where the lips meet, under the skin of the hood of the clitoris.
The rest of the spongy body of the clitoris, more than 9 cm, is hidden inside the body. This organ has different measures, and can also have different degrees of sensitivity. Like the Penis , the clitoris stiffens and swells during sexual arousal. The purpose of the clitoris is solely to provide sexual pleasure for women.
For this purpose it has about 8,000 nerve terminals, twice as much as a man’s penis. Unlike the penis or vagina, the clitoris does not play a major role in intercourse or reproduction. The clitoris is only there to make the woman feel pleasure and is very sensitive. One of the ways to produce pleasure in the clitoris is through oral sex or cunnilingus.
The vagina is the passageway that connects a woman’s external sexual organs to the uterus , neck, and the way the baby is led out of the mother’s body in childbirth . It is also where menstrual flow leaves the body and where the penis enters during intercourse.
Secretions and odors
Perhaps this is the source of the greatest concerns about the vulva. Since during puberty, the vagina begins to produce a discharge that may be colorless or white, leucorrhoea. This is the way the vulva cleans itself, as secretions get rid of germs and other undesirable substances. When ovulating or sexual arousal occurs, the vagina produces a clear discharge considered a natural lubricant.
The characteristic odor of the vulva has a subjective acceptance for individuals. In a healthy woman, the natural smell of her vulva is generally not unpleasant. If it smells really bad, like fish, yeast or some other strong and unpleasant odor, gynecological advice is advisable as it can be a sign of a vaginal infection or even a sexually transmitted disease that must be treated immediately.
In an effort to remove all natural odors and secretions, many women and girls abuse showers and feminine deodorants. The vagina cleans itself, excessive washing can alter the balance of its PH and the flora of useful bacteria found in the vagina and lead to the woman contracting vaginitis: inflammation of the vagina.
The health of the vulva is linked to:
- Way of life and knowledge of each woman
- Personal soul care
- Healthy eating
- Exercise and periodic cleaning with a specific mild soap and plenty of water, applied by hand always from front to back.
Some diseases of the vulva include:
- Lichen planus
- Neoplasms (condylomas associated with HPV, Paget’s disease, vulvar and rarely vulvar cancer),
- Genital thrush
- Erythema multiforme.
Tumors of the vulva tend to be benign, although cancer of the vulva may occur:
- Vestibular papilloma, usually associated with HPV
- Benign fibroepithelial polyps.
- Accumulated condyloma, warts caused by non-oncogenic HPV (strains 6-11).
- Papilliferous hydradenoma, sweat gland nodules.
- Epidermoid cyst.
Other benign lesions:
- Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, mild to moderate dysplasias with potential for malignancy in these advanced ones.
- Carcinoma in situ
- Squamous cell cancer, mildly invasive (1-2 mm from the surface) to frankly invasive (further from the surface)