Female external genitalia (vulva)

Picture of female external genitalia

The external female genitalia (vulva) include:

  • The opening of the vagina (also called the birth canal). The vagina is part of the reproductive tract and extends from the womb (uterus) to outside the body.
  • The fleshy lips (labia majora and labia minora) around the vagina.
  • A small bump of tissue (clitoris) covered with a thin flap of tissue. The clitoris is the main source of sensations during sexual activity.

During a vaginal self-examination, you can also see the urethra, an opening that leads to the bladder, and the anus, the opening that leads to the colon.

Last Updated: February 10, 2010

Author: Maria Essig

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

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