The vagina is the female body part that connects the womb (uterus) and cervix to the outside of the body.
The vagina is a muscular tube lined with mucous membranes. Its opening is between the urethra (where urine leaves the body) and the anus.
Menstrual blood leaves the body through the vagina. The vagina also allows for sexual intercourse, and it is the passageway a baby goes through when it is born.
Inflammation of the vagina is known as vaginitis.
Dolan MS, Hill C, Valea FA. Benign gynecologic lesions: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, oviduct, ovary, ultrasound imaging of pelvic structures. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 18.
Valea FA. Reproductive anatomy: gross and microscopic, clinical correlations. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 3.
Review Date 9/16/2019
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.