The vagina is the canal that provides a path to and from a woman’s uterus. It’s comprised of strong muscular and elastic tissue, as well as nerve endings which produce sensation during sex. During natural childbirth, the baby exits its mother’s body through her vagina – this is known as the birth canal.
The thin membrane of tissue that partially covers the opening of the vagina is called the hymen. Some people believe that the hymen breaks during a woman’s first time having sex and that an intact hymen means the woman is a virgin. This is a myth, however; the hymen can break in any number of ways, such as during exercise or while using a tampon.
The vagina is a delicate environment and can be susceptible to many different types of illnesses, including sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV) and bacterial or yeast overgrowth. Click on the links below to learn more about common vaginal conditions.