The vagina is a muscular tube. The lining epithelium is stratified squamous (questionwhy do you think this is?)

Underneath the epithelium is a layer of lamina propria, which is rich in elastic fibres, and does not have any glands.

Under the lamina propria layer is a layer of smooth muscle, which has an inner circular and outer longitudinal layer.

Finally, there is an adventitial layer, which merges with that of the bladder (anteriorly) and rectum (posteriorly).

Can you recognise the epithelium, lamina propria and smooth muscle layer on this photograph?

The elastic LP and smooth muscle enable the vagina to distend, particularly during birth.

The vagina is lubricated by cervical mucus, which is derived from the rich vascular network, and mucus from glands in the labia minora.

The smooth muscle contracts during/after coitus to keep the pool of semen close to the cervix.

This photograph shows the epithelium of the vagina at higher magnification.

Can you identify the stratified squamous epithelium and underlying lamina propria.