Vulva, vagina & female urethra


Anatomy & histology-female urethra

Topic Completed: 1 August 2016

Minor changes: 13 August 2020

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed search: urethra anatomy [title] normal female

Jesus Adrian Chavez, M.D.
Debra L. Zynger, M.D.
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Cite this page: Chavez J. Anatomy & histology-female urethra. website. Accessed October 15th, 2021.
Definition / general
Clinical features
Diagrams / tables

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Embryology and anatomy

Gross images

Contributed by Dr. Jesus A. Chavez and Dr. Debra L. Zynger

Female urethra (blue, distal) and bladder

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Urothelium
    • Basal layers composed of either low columnar or cuboidal cells, followed by several layers of polyhedral cells
    • Most superficial composed of round, dome shaped umbrella cells that are occasionally multinucleated and flattened according to amount of distention
  • Nonkeratinizing squamous epithelium
    • Composed of multiple layers
    • Divided in zones according to cell shapes; cuboidal (deepest), polymorphous (middle), squamous / flattened (superficial)
  • Periurethral glands
    • Periurethral (Skene) glands: lined by columnar or cuboidal epithelium with surrounding connective tissue and smooth muscle (Ann Anat 2002;184:341)
    • Minor vestibular glands (Littré glands): tubuloacinar-mucinous glands with uniform, pale eosinophilic to clear cytoplasm and basally flattened nuclei in penile urethra (Mills: Histology for Pathologists, 4th Edition, 2012)
Positive stains
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