Sexually responsive vascular tissue of the vulva
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2005
Volume 97, Issue 4, pages 766–772, April 2006
How to Cite
YANG, C. C., COLD, C. J., YILMAZ, U. and MARAVILLA, K. R. (2006), Sexually responsive vascular tissue of the vulva. BJU International, 97: 766–772. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05961.x
- Issue published online: 20 DEC 2005
- Article first published online: 20 DEC 2005
- Accepted for publication 13 September 2005
- female genital anatomy;
- magnetic resonance imaging;
- female sexual arousal;
To better understand the genital changes that occur during the female sexual response, using a gross anatomical and histological study of the vascular tissue of the vulva, supplemented with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Seven cadaveric vulvectomy specimens were used; they were serially sectioned in coronal, sagittal, and axial planes, and stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Selected blocks were stained with elastic Masson's trichrome. Axial MR images were taken of two healthy women with intact sexual functioning using a gadolinium-based blood-pool contrast agent. A 1.5 T system was used for all MRI studies, with images taken at baseline and during sexual arousal while viewing an erotic videotape.
There are five vascular compartments of the female external genitalia, found in the clitoris, clitoral bulbs, labia minora, urethra, and vestibule/vagina. Of these five compartments, two distinct types of vascular tissue were identified, i.e. erectile and non-erectile/specialized genital. The erectile tissue compartments had the greatest change in blood volume during sexual arousal, as assessed by MRI.
The vulva contains a substantial amount of vascular tissue. These specialized tissues show a variable, but unified response to sexual arousal.