PART 2 How well do you know the internal genitals? Do you know how long a vaginal canal is when you're aroused or unaroused? What color is it? What is your menstrual fluid made up of? All this and more in this week's episode with Josie, Natasha, and Kristal!
Vaginal opening (a.k.a. vestibule or introitus)
“When most women refer to the vagina, they are really referring to the vestibule,” says Minkin. It's the area immediately outside the vagina that extends from the labia minora to the hymen.
“The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation,” says Minkin.
A healthy vagina is a rich, deep pink color and has a number of accordion-like folds on the interior walls that allow for maximum elasticity. The vaginal wall is about three to four millimeters think and often appears moist.
In a non-aroused state, the walls of the vagina are collapsed against each other
The cervix connects your uterus to your vagina."it looks like a donut with a tiny hole in the middle" to let menstrual blood out and sperm in. “During labor, it opens or ‘dilates’ fully to allow the baby to pass through to the vagina to be born.”
You can typically feel your cervix at the end of your vagina if you insert your fingers. It's also what ob-gyns take a swab of during a Pap test (cue the cringing). Luckily, your cervix acts as the gatekeeper to the rest of your body—so don't worry about tampons or other objects getting lost inside you.
You have two ovaries—one on either side of your lower abdomen, below your belly button. “This is where the hormones—including estrogen—that trigger menstruation are produced,” says Minkin. “They also store eggs, and release at least one each month for possible fertilization, which is known as ovulation.”
You also have two fallopian tubes that extend from your ovaries to your uterus. “After the egg is released during ovulation, it moves into the fallopian tube, where it stays for about 24 hours, waiting for a single sperm to fertilize it,” says Minkin.
“If fertilization doesn’t occur, the egg moves through the uterus and disintegrates," says Minkin. That's what eventually causes your period—when those hormone levels begin to fall and your body starts shedding the uterine lining.
If there is a sperm available to fertilize the egg, however, the fertilized egg stays in the fallopian tube for three to four days before moving into the uterus for implantation, says Minkin.
Also known as the womb, this muscular organ—located in the lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum—is usually the size of a small pear when a woman isn’t pregnant.
“If an egg is fertilized and becomes an embryo, it attaches to a wall of the uterus, creates a placenta, and develops into a baby,” explains Minkin. “During pregnancy, the uterus expands to hold whatever it needs to, whether a six-pound baby or quadruplets. During labor, it contracts to push the baby down through the cervix and into the vagina for birth.”
Also, fun fact: The lower part of your uterus actually lifts toward your belly button when you're turned on. This process is called vaginal tenting, according to Planned Parenthood, and is a way for the vagina to make more room for whatever wants to come in.