vulval vestibule
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The vulval vestibule (or vulvar vestibule or vestibule of vagina) is a part of the
vulva The vulva (plural: vulvas or vulvae; derived from Latin for wrapper or covering) consists of the external sex organ, female sex organs. The vulva includes the mons pubis (or mons veneris), labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, bulb of vestibu ...
between the
labia minora The labia minora (Latin for 'smaller lips', singular: ''labium minus'', 'smaller lip'), also known as the inner labia, inner lips, vaginal lips or nymphae are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening in the vulva, situated be ...
into which the
urinary meatus The urinary meatus, (, ) also known as the external urethral orifice, is the opening of the urethra. It is the point where urine exits the urethra in both sexes and where semen exits the urethra in males. The meatus has varying degrees of sensiti ...
(urethral opening) and the
vaginal opening In mammals, the vagina is the elastic, muscular part of the female genital tract. In humans, it extends from the vestibule to the cervix. The outer vaginal opening is normally partly covered by a thin layer of mucosal tissue called the hymen ...
open. Its edge is marked by Hart's line. It represents the
distal Standard anatomical terms of location are used to unambiguously describe the anatomy of animals, including humans. The terms, typically derived from Latin or Greek roots, describe something in its standard anatomical position. This position pro ...
end of the
urogenital sinus The urogenital sinus is a part of the human body only present in the development of the urinary and reproductive organs. It is the ventral part of the cloaca, formed after the cloaca separates from the anal canal during the fourth to seventh we ...
of the embryo.Manual of Obstetrics. (3rd ed.). Elsevier. pp. 1–16. .


Structure

Structures opening in the vulval vestibule are the
urethra The urethra (from Greek οὐρήθρα – ''ourḗthrā'') is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the urinary meatus for the removal of urine from the body of both females and males. In human females and other primates, the urethra con ...
,
vagina In mammals, the vagina is the elastic, muscular part of the female genital tract. In humans, it extends from the vestibule to the cervix. The outer vaginal opening is normally partly covered by a thin layer of mucosal tissue called the hymen ...
, Bartholin's glands, and Skene's ducts. The
external urethral orifice The urinary meatus, (, ) also known as the external urethral orifice, is the opening of the urethra. It is the point where urine exits the urethra in both sexes and where semen exits the urethra in males. The meatus has varying degrees of sensiti ...
is placed about 25–30 millimetres (1–1.2 in) behind the
clitoris The clitoris ( or ) is a female sex organ present in mammals, ostriches and a limited number of other animals. In humans, the visible portion – the glans – is at the front junction of the labia minora (inner lips), above the ope ...
and immediately in front of that of the vagina; it usually assumes the form of a short,
sagittal The sagittal plane (; also known as the longitudinal plane) is an anatomical plane that divides the body into right and left sections. It is perpendicular to the transverse and coronal planes. The plane may be in the center of the body and divi ...
cleft with slightly raised margins. Nearby are the openings of the Skene's ducts. The vaginal orifice is a median slit below and behind the opening of the urethra; its size varies inversely with that of the
hymen The hymen is a thin piece of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia, and is similar in structure to the vagina. In children, a common appearance of the h ...
. To the left and right of the vulval vestibule are the
labia minora The labia minora (Latin for 'smaller lips', singular: ''labium minus'', 'smaller lip'), also known as the inner labia, inner lips, vaginal lips or nymphae are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening in the vulva, situated be ...
. Anterior to it are the
clitoral hood In the female human body, the clitoral hood (also called preputium clitoridis and clitoral prepuce) is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoral glans, glans of the clitoris; it also covers the external shaft of the clitoris, develop ...
,
frenulum clitoridis The clitoris ( or ) is a female sex organ present in mammals, ostriches and a limited number of #Other animals, other animals. In humans, the visible portion – the glans – is at the front junction of the labia minora (inner lips), ...
, and the
clitoral glans The clitoris ( or ) is a female sex organ present in mammals, ostriches and a limited number of other animals. In humans, the visible portion – the glans – is at the front junction of the labia minora (inner lips), above the ope ...
. Posterior to it is the posterior commissure of the labia minora and the
frenulum of labia minora The frenulum of labia minora (''fourchette'' or ''posterior commissure of the labia minora'') is a frenulum where the labia minora meet posteriorly. Pathology The fourchette may be torn during delivery due to the sudden stretching of the vulval ...
. The sides of the vestibule are visible as Hart's line on the inside of the inner lips. Hart's line is the outer edge of the area and marks the change from vulvar skin to the smoother transitional skin of the vulva.


Clinical significance

The prevalence of pain at the vulvar vestibule is relatively common. A study by the
University of Michigan , mottoeng = "Arts, Knowledge, Truth" , former_names = Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania (1817–1821) , budget = $10.3 billion (2021) , endowment = $17 billion (2021)As o ...
found that about 28% of women have experienced vulvar vestibular pain in the past, and about 8% had the pain in the last 6 months.


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Vulval Vestibule Vagina