Genital Anatomy

The clitoris has been the subject of recent studies ranging from description of the anatomy to the alleged functional benefits of clitoral hood piercing (62-64). A chapter in this text adds accuracy and completeness to the subject of genital anatomy, a subject that has been underemphasized in the past despite the valuable contribution of an encyclopedic illustrated text (65). The appropriate restrictions on exposure of the sexual anatomy in the clinical realm lead to a distressing lack of knowledge in medical students whose teaching of this subject is largely from texts that are inadequate in this area. Computerized and virtual anatomy teaching may improve knowledge of this body region.

Although representing only a small fraction of the external topography, the vulva is the location of many vital normal functions including coitus leading to conception, the terminal passage for birth and egress of urine with contributions to the control of defecation. Pathologic processes of the vulva can lead to troubling symptoms as well as life-threatening disease. Sexually transmitted diseases and ectoparasites as well as the full range of other dermatologic conditions and degenerative processes and trauma may involve the vulva. The vulva and its pathology are certainly subjects that merit attention and study and it is hoped that this text reflects those goals, provides useful information and reference sources, and will provoke further like efforts.

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