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see reproductive systemreproductive system,
in animals, the anatomical organs concerned with production of offspring. In humans and other mammals the female reproductive system produces the female reproductive cells (the eggs, or ova) and contains an organ in which development of the fetus takes
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in biology.

(1) A sheath of various animal and plant organs—for ex-ample, the vagina of a tendon, of a nerve fiber, and of the notochord in certain fishes (Holocephali, Dipnoi, and Acipenseridae). The vagina of a leaf is the lower part of a leaf widened in the form of a canal and slightly (in the Umbelliferae) or greatly (in the grasses) extended to embrace the stem. The vagina protects the bud contained in the axil. In grasses, the vagina is a delicate extension of the base of the internode of the stem. In bananas, the vaginae of the leaves overlap one another to form a false high stem. In many plants the lower leaves, and in some plants all the leaves, are reduced and consist of a single vagina. Vagina is also the name given to the small saclike sheath or edging at the base of the stem of certain hymenomycetous fungi (fly agaric and death cup); it is the vestige of the so-called general spathe that surrounds the fruiting body of a young fungus and later ruptures. The presence (or absence) and the shape of both types of vagina is a regular characteristic used in classifying plants.

(2) The invagination of the skin in animals that serves as a receptacle of some organs is also called a vagina—for example, the vagina of a feather, of a hair, and of the tongue in snakes.

(3) The terminus of the genital canal in female mammals (marsupial and placental) that is used in sexual intercourse and for the emergence of the fetus. In some invertebrates (in several flatworms), the vagina is in the form of a tubelike twisting of the skin with one end opening to the outside and the other end facing the parenchyma. In tsetse flies, larvae develop in the dilated vagina. In mammals the vagina developed from the lower portion of the oviduct. It is paired in marsupials; in placental animals the oviducts merge to form a single vagina. The vagina changes further down into a shortened urogenital sinus which in female mammals forms the vestibule of the vagina. In marsupials, ungulates, rodents, lemurs, and primates, the hymen is situated between the vagina and the vestibule of the vagina.

(4) A muscular, distensible tube situated in the lesser pelvis of a woman between the urinary bladder and urethra in front and the rectum in back. In an adult, the vagina is approximately 7-8 cm in length along the anterior wall and 1.5-2 cm longer along the posterior wall. The direction of the vagina corresponds to the slope of the pelvis and forms a 100-110° angle with the corpus uteri. Entry into the vagina in virgins is blocked by the hymen. The vaginal wall consists of epithelial, muscular, and connective-tissue layers. It is lined with a mucous membrane that forms transverse folds and longitudinal ridges that diminish with age. These folds make it possible for the vagina to stretch considerably (for example, during birth as the fetus passes through). The vagina contains a small quantity (about 1 ml) of fluid, which is formed from blood serum seeping from the vascular walls and glandular discharges in the canal of the cervix uteri. The presence of lactic acid in this fluid makes it bactericidal. The vagina is the terminus of the genital conduction paths.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The canal from the vulvar opening to the cervix uteri.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The upper part of the pedestal of a terminus, from which the bust or figure seems to arise.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the moist canal in most female mammals, including humans, that extends from the cervix of the uterus to an external opening between the labia minora
2. Anatomy biology any sheath or sheathlike structure, such as a leaf base that encloses a stem
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Anterior vaginal wall (compartment) prolapse is defined as observation of descent of the anterior vaginal wall (compartment).
This report mentions various factors that are causative of fast-paced expansion of the Vaginal Slingsmarket.
* Estradiol vaginal ring (Estring): This is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina once every three months and continuously releases small doses of estrogen.
The optimal timing for a pull-through vaginoplasty (Figure 2b) is when a large hematocolpos (Figure 2a) is present, as the blood acts as a natural expander of the native vaginal tissue, increasing the amount of tissue available for a primary reanastomosis.
The rationale of this study is to utilize lower dose protocol of misoprostol (25 ug) for induction of labour in term pregnancies and compare the outcome of oral route with vaginal route.
Myth #5: diVa Laser Vaginal Therapy can improve the look of external genitalia.
The prospective analysis included 896 postmenopausal current users of vaginal estrogen in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS; 1982-2012), compared with 52,901 nonusers.
The vulvar lips of the ewe were spread, and a disposable, sterile cotton swab was introduced at the dorsal commissure of the vulva in a dorsal-cranial direction, until it passed through the sciatic arch, to collect cells from the vaginal epithelium.
"There is no clear statistics on how many women get these procedures performed, but on an average, in a well-known busy gynecology clinic the rate is about four to five surgical vaginal tightening procedures per month and 40-50 laser vaginal tightening sessions per month," she tells Khaleej Times.
'There is life and activity in the vagina, this closed narrow muscular tube that runs from the vaginal opening to the area of the cervix or opening of the womb.
This non-hormonal approach for treating GSM has been shown to rejuvenate vaginal tissue.