Health Encyclopedia

Anatomy of the Vulva

To better understand what is happening inside you, it will help you to understand the basic anatomy of your vulva.

The vulva is the outer part of the female reproductive system, also called the external genitalia. The vulva includes the mons pubis, the rounded area in front of the pubic bones that becomes covered with hair at puberty, and the skin folds under the pubic hair that protect the opening of the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and the vagina. The vulva has two folds of skin. The outer fold is called the labia majora, and the inner fold is called the labia minora. The inner fold of the vulva forms a hood of skin called the prepuce or the hood of the clitoris. Below the prepuce is the clitoris. The clitoris is a sensitive piece of tissue that swells with blood when stimulated. At the bottom of the inner fold of the vulva is the fourchette. This is where the labia minora meet. Below the fourchette is the perineum, and then the anus.

Illustration of the vulva, or female genitalia, exterior view.
Anatomy of the Vulva

 



Medical Reviewers:

  • Akin, Louise, RN
  • MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician