Where does my pee come out? Said no woman out loud ever, yet I find myself on multiple occasions throughout the day clarifying the trivial fact that urine does not exit the body through the vaginal hole. It is not surprising that some women might be confused by their anatomy considering historical taboos and societal bashfulness about the subject matter. Just to set the record straight, “you do not urinate out of your vagina” in fact, the tube responsible for draining your bladder is called your urethra.
Your urethra and vagina are separate
Your urethral meatus is the small opening where urine exits your body, it is located below the clitoris and above the vaginal opening. The urethra is a tube about 4-5cm in length and forms the end of the lower urinary tract. The vagina and urethra share a wall (like a duplex apartment), with the urethra sitting on the second floor and the vagina on the first floor. The urethra is made of many layers of muscle to help it remain closed when bladder fills and relax when the bladder is ready to empty. When the urethra fails to close properly, you can develop urinary leakage. On the other hand, if the urethra does not open well then you will have difficulty emptying your bladder. The urethral opening and vaginal holes are separate; thus, you can wear a tampon and still be able to urinate.
Problems which affect the vagina, can also affect the urethra
Many problems which affect the vagina, also affects the urethra. A common problem that can affect the urethra is a lower urinary tract infection or bladder infection. Women with bladder infections report pain as urine passes along the urethra due to inflammation. Vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections may also cause a similar type of pain. Like the vaginal tissue, the lining of the urethra also becomes more sensitive during menopause because of decreased estrogen in the tissue, this can result in discomfort and burning around the opening of the urethra and vagina.
Given the significant overlap in clinical conditions and the proximity of these two openings it is not unusual that some women might consider them to be the same hole. But don’t take my word for it if you’re confused or even remotely curious you should look for yourself. I am quite certain that you will confirm that your urine comes out of your urethra and not your vagina.
I am board certified in Obsetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). I currently serve as the Medical Director of Female Pelvic Medicine for the Crozer Health Medical Group in the greater Philadelphia area. I obtained my residency training in OBGYN at the Los Angeles County+ University of Southern California Medical Center and fellowship training in FPMRS at Johns Hopkins. I am passionate about the field of Women’s Health and the treatment of pelvic floor disorders like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.