The muscular passage, forming part of the female reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. The vagina has muscular walls, which are highly elastic to allowsexual intercourse and childbirth and are richly supplied with blood vessels. vaginal bleeding Bleeding, via the vagina, that may come from the uterus, the cervix, or from the vagina itself.
The most common source of bleeding is the uterus and the most likely reason for it is menstruation. From puberty to the menopause, menstrual bleeding usually occurs at regular intervals. However, problems may occur with either the character or the timing of the bleeding (see menstruation, disorders of).
Nonmenstrual bleeding from the uterus may be due to a variety of causes. Hormonal drugs, such as oral contraceptives, can cause spotting. Other possible causes include endometritis, endometrial cancer (see uterus, cancer of), and fibroids. In early pregnancy, bleeding may be a sign of threatened miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, it may indicate placenta praevia or placental abruption (see antepartum haemorrhage).
Bleeding from the cervix may be due to cervical erosion, in which case it may occur after intercourse. Cervicitis and polyps may also cause bleeding. More seriously, bleeding may be a sign of cervical cancer (see cervix, cancer of).
A possible cause of bleeding from the vagina is injury during intercourse, especially following the menopause, when the walls of the vagina become thinner and more fragile. Occasionally, severe vaginitis causes bleeding. Rarely, vaginal bleeding is caused by cancer of the vagina.
The lower part of the female reproductive tract (see REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM) through which a baby is delivered. It is a muscular passage leading from the labial entrance to the UTERUS. It is lined with mucous membrane and receives the erect PENIS during sexual intercourse. The semen is ejaculated into the upper part of the vagina; from there the sperms must pass through the cervix and uterus to fertilise the ovum in the Fallopian tube.
n. the lower part of the female reproductive tract: a muscular tube, lined with mucous membrane, connecting the cervix of the uterus to the exterior. It receives the erect penis during coitus: semen is ejaculated into the upper part of the vagina and from there the sperms must pass through the cervix and uterus in order to fertilize an ovum in the Fallopian tube. The wall of the vagina is sufficiently elastic to allow the passage of the newborn child. —vaginal adj.