Vulval vestibule

The vulval vestibule (or vulvar vestibule or vestibule of vagina) is a part of the vulva between the labia minora into which the urinary meatus (urethral opening) and the vaginal opening open. Its edge is marked by Hart's line. It represents the distal end of the urogenital sinus of the embryo.[1]

Vulval vestibule
Vestibule marked by a dotted line
PrecursorUrogenital sinus
Part ofVulva
SystemFemale reproductive system
Latinvestibulum vaginæ
Anatomical terminology


Structures opening in the vulval vestibule are the urethra, vagina, Bartholin's glands, and Skene's ducts.[1]

The external urethral orifice is placed about 25–30 millimetres (1-1.2 in)[2] behind the clitoris and immediately in front of that of the vagina; it usually assumes the form of a short, sagittal cleft with slightly raised margins. Nearby are the openings of the Skene's ducts.

The vaginal orifice is a median slit below and behind the opening of the urethra; its size varies inversely with that of the hymen.

To the left and right of the vulval vestibule are the labia minora. In front of it are the clitoral hood, frenulum clitoridis, and the clitoral glans. Posterior to it is the posterior commissure of the labia minora and the frenulum of labia minora.

The sides of the vestibule are visible as Hart's line on the inside of the inner lips. Hart's line is the outer edge of the area and marks the change from vulvar skin to the smoother transitional skin of the vulva.

Clinical significance

The prevalence of pain at the vulvar vestibule is relatively common. A study by the University of Michigan found that about 28% of women have experienced vulvar vestibular pain in the past, and about 8% had the pain in the last 6 months.[3]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 1264 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. Manual of Obstetrics. (3rd ed.). Elsevier. pp. 1–16. ISBN 9788131225561.
  2. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology May 2005, Vol. 112, pp. 643–646
  3. Reed, BD; Crawford, S; Couper, M; Cave, C (2004). "Pain at the vulvar vestibule: a web-based survey". Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. 8 (1): 48–57. doi:10.1097/00128360-200401000-00011. PMID 15874837.
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