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What is the Vaginal Wall?

A. Pasbjerg
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The vaginal wall consists of fibrous muscle, skin, and ligaments that make up the structure of the vagina. It surrounds the vaginal canal, which connects the cervix to the outside of the body. The vagina is considered to have two main walls: the anterior, or front, which is on average around seven centimeters long, and the posterior, or rear, which is typically around nine centimeters long.

One of the most important traits of the vaginal wall is its elasticity. The muscles and other tissues are extremely flexible, so that the vagina can stretch many times beyond its normal width. This allows for the accommodation of both sexual intercourse and childbirth.

During sexual activity, the vaginal wall changes to accommodate intercourse. As the woman is aroused, the wall lengthens and widens. A series of ridges along the wall, known as vaginal rugae, create more surface area as they stretch and contract when the vagina is penetrated. Stimulation of the G-spot, an erogenous zone located in the anterior vaginal wall, may increase arousal and lead to orgasm.

In order to allow an infant's head to pass during childbirth, the vaginal canal's diameter has to increase signficantly. Although the structure is designed for this, the process may sometimes damage the vaginal walls. In some cases, the doctor may choose to perform an episiotomy, where an incision is made through the posterior wall and perinium, to allow for the baby to pass and avoid tearing.

At times, weakness of the muscles in the vaginal walls may cause them to lose their shape and sag inward toward the vaginal canal. This is referred to as vaginal prolapse. When this occurs, the woman may experience pain and bleeding, difficulty urinating, and a mass inside the vagina that can restrict movements like standing and walking. Other surrounding structures, such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum, may also prolapse at the same time. Surgery is typically required to repair the problem.

Abnormal lumps or growths may occur in the vaginal walls for several reasons, and should always be seen by a physician to determine the cause and what treatment is necessary. Cysts may develop at the site of trauma or may be caused by blockage of the Bartholin's glands, which are located near the vaginal opening and secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina. Herpes may also cause painful lumps and lesions on the vaginal wall. In rare cases, growths may be caused by vaginal cancer.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A. Pasbjerg
By A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a The Health Board contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.

Discussion Comments

By anon1000775 — On Dec 25, 2018

I am male, and I do not wish to seem insensitive to incontinent women. But personally, I love a much looser, saggier vaginal area with plenty of plump folds, much as I admire a fuller-figured woman in general. I think some women need to know this, as there are surgeons out there who try to "correct" this "problem" when - as you say - Kegel may be the answer. Also, a bit of tolerance of incontinence as natural and human wouldn't come amiss. I certainly would not reject a woman for being incontinent. Men need to open their minds a bit more.

By umbra21 — On Jun 03, 2011

One of the saddest situations I know of in many countries is the women who experience fistulas which is where the vaginal wall is torn and not repaired, so that the bladder and the digestive system are not contained where they should be. It usually happens after giving birth with difficulty outside a hospital or clinic.

Women who can't afford to get vaginal wall repair face vaginal infection, constant pain, stigma from their villages because they can't control themselves, and so on. Often they can't care for their new babies, and they sometimes die, or live for years with the condition which cannot heal itself.

There are a lot of clinics which deal with this problem and women travel long distances to get to them. If you feel like doing a good deed today, look one up online and donate to them. Your money will absolutely be going to a good place.

By bythewell — On Jun 02, 2011

@browncoat - Those exercises are also good for increasing pleasure during sex, for both the woman and her partner.

That might not seem important compared to getting rid of incontinence, and I definitely feel sorry for women who are having to worry about running or coughing or whatever.

But, doing Kegels can also mean an increase in self esteem and more bonding with your partner and so on, when your sex life improves.

Plus, there are some cases when women experience vaginal wall pain and Kegel exercises can be a natural cure.

If you are experiencing incontinence or anything else though, you shouldn't just try to fix it yourself, you should talk to a doctor. It could be a sign of something else, and at the very least, she might be able to show you how to do the exercises properly.

By browncoat — On Jun 02, 2011

If you are having trouble with weak vaginal muscles after giving birth to a child you should try Kegel exercises. They even recommend you should try them before giving birth, although I didn't know that myself.

It can help to tighten and tone the vaginal wall just like any other kind of exercise and help to stop incontinence. I've talked to several women who think they have an embarrassing problem that no one else has, but it's not true. Many women experience incontinence after having a baby.

You can either do the Kegel exercises, which is mostly just tensing the muscles around there, like you would if you were trying not to pee. Or you can get more sophisticated and try buying special sets of beads from online that are supposed to help. I haven't tried the beads myself, but I know the Kegels work.

It might feel embarrassing, but remember, no one knows you're doing it. And it will really improve your quality of life.

A. Pasbjerg

A. Pasbjerg

Andrea Pasbjerg, a The Health Board contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
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