The vaginal artery arises from the anterior division of the internal iliac artery. It can also arise from the uterine artery but known as a vaginal branch of the uterine artery. In some cases, the vaginal artery coming from the internal Iliac artery will anastomose with the vaginal branch of the uterine artery, if both present.
The vaginal artery is considered to be a female homologous vessel to the inferior vesical artery in males. The main function of the vaginal artery is to supply blood to the superior portion of the vaginal wall. In some cases, it can provide the inferior vesical artery which supplies the inferior portion of the urinary bladder.
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the vaginal artery.
|Origin||Internal iliac artery|
|Branches||Unnamed collateral branches, inferior vesical artery|
|Supply||Vaginal wall, urinary bladder|
Origin and course
The vaginal artery can originate from multiple sites as a single or duplicate vessel. The most common origin sites include the uterine (vaginal branch) and the internal iliac arteries. The vaginal artery then descends into the vagina and supplies its proximal aspect. In some cases, when the artery is larger in diameter, it can supply the majority of the vaginal wall.
Cervicovaginal branches of the uterine artery anastomose with the vaginal artery and create the azygos arteries of the vagina.
Branches and supply
The vaginal artery provides numerous small branches that traverse the vaginal wall and provide its blood supply.
One group of authors report that the vaginal artery is a female homolog of the male inferior vesical artery, while the others report that the vaginal artery provides a small branch that carries that name. If it exists, this branch supplies the inferior portion of the urinary bladder.
To learn more about the blood vessels of the female pelvis check out our other articles, videos, quizzes and labeled diagrams.
In the matter of origin and supply, the vaginal artery is very variable.
- It can arise from several different vessels of the pelvis including the internal iliac, middle rectal, superior vesical, inferior vesical, inferior gluteal, obturator arteries or the ischial pudendal trunk. It has been also described that it can share a common origin with the uterine or middle rectal artery.
- It can supply either the proximal part or the majority of the vagina.