Pathology > Gynecologic > Vagina > Anatomy & Histology
Objectives Anat & Hist Inf. Diseases Benign Tumors Malig. Tumors DES

I. Anatomy and Histology

Objectives:

I. Gross Anatomy and Histology

  • list and identify the various structures that form the vagina
  • describe the gross anatomy and histology of the vagina

The vagina is a partially collapsed tubular structure that extends from the vestibule of the vulva to the uterus. The anterior and posterior walls are in contact with each other except at the apex where the vagina surrounds the ectocervix and vault-like recesses, called the fornices, separate the vagina and cervix. The posterior fornix is deeper than the anterior. The base of the bladder and urethra are anterior to the vagina while the rectum is posterior to it.

The vagina is lined by non-keratizing stratified squamous epithelium, which is hormone-responsive. Estrogens stimulate the proliferation and maturation of the epithelium with accumulation of glycogen in the cells. Progestogens, however, inhibit maturation of the epithelium.

Question. What clinical use is made of the presence of glycogen in vaginal (and cervical) epithelium? (Clue: Glycogen is carbohydrate and so is starch. How do you test for starch?)

 

Objectives Anat & Hist Inf. Diseases Benign Tumors Malig. Tumors DES