Female reproductive system: structure and function. (2023)

Female reproductive system: structure and function. (1)

What is the female reproductive system?

The female reproductive system is a part of the body that helps women or people born women (AFAB):

  • have sex.
  • Copy.
  • Menstruation is coming.

What parts does the female reproductive system consist of?

Female reproductive anatomy includes external and internal parts.

external parts

The function of the external genitalia is to protect the inside from infections and allow sperm to enter the vagina.

Your vulva is a collective term for all of your external genitalia. Many people mistakenly use the term "vagina" to describe all female genital areas. However, your vagina is its own structure inside you.

The main parts of the vulva or external genitalia are:

  • big lips: Your labia majora ("labia majora") surround and protect your other external reproductive organs. During puberty, hair grows on the skin of the labia majora, where the sweat and sebaceous glands are also located.
  • small lips: Your labia minora ("labia minora") can be of different sizes and shapes. They are located inside the labia majora and surround the openings of the vagina (the tube that connects the bottom of the uterus to the outside of the body) and the urethra (the tube that leads urine from the bladder to the outside of the body). ). This skin is very sensitive and can easily become irritated and swollen.
  • clitoris: Your two little lips meet on yoursclitoris, a small, sensitive penis-like bump (AMAB) in males or those born male. Your clitoris is covered by a fold of skin called the foreskin, which is very sensitive to stimulation.
  • vaginal opening: Your vaginal opening allows menstrual blood and the baby to leave your body. A tampon, finger, sex toy or penis can enter the vagina through the vaginal opening.
  • hymen: arehymenA piece of tissue that covers or surrounds the opening of the vagina. It occurs during development and appears at birth.
  • open to youurethra: The opening of the urethra is the opening through which you urinate.

internal parts

  • vaginal: arevaginalis a muscular tube that connectscervix(lower part of the uterus) towards the outside of the body. It can expand to accommodate the baby during labor and then contract to accommodate narrow items such as tampons. It is covered with a mucous membrane that helps it maintain moisture.
  • cervix: The cervix is ​​the lowest part of the uterus. The hole in the middle allows sperm to enter and menstrual blood to exit. Your cervix opens (widens) to allow the baby to come out during pregnancy.vaginal delivery. The cervix prevents items like tampons from getting lost in the body.
  • Uterus: areUterusIt is a pear-shaped hollow organ that houses the fetus during pregnancy. Your uterus is divided into two parts: the cervix and the uterus. Your uterus is the largest part of your uterus that expands during pregnancy.
  • ovary:ovaryThese are small, oval-shaped glands located on both sides of the uterus. Your ovaries produce eggs and hormones.
  • oviduct: These are thin tubes that connect to the top of the uterus and serve to move the egg from the ovary to the uterus. Fertilization of the egg by sperm usually occurs in the fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg then travels to the uterus, where it implants in the lining of the uterus.

What are the functions of the female reproductive system?

The female reproductive system performs various functions. In addition to enabling a person to have sex, it can also help them in reproduction.

Your ovaries produce eggs. These eggs are then transported to the fallopian tubes.ovulationA place where sperm fertilization can occur. The fertilized egg then travels to the uterus, where the lining of the uterus thickens with the normal hormones of the menstrual cycle (also known as the reproductive cycle). Once inside the uterus, the fertilized egg can implant in the thickened lining of the uterus and continue to develop. If it is not implanted, the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation. In addition, the female reproductive system produces sex hormones that maintain the menstrual cycle.

During menopause, the female reproductive system gradually stops producing the female hormones needed for the menstrual cycle. at this point,menstrual cycleIt can beirregularlyand finally stop. you are considered asIn menopauseWhen you don't have your period for a whole year.

What happens during the menstrual cycle?

Women of reproductive age (11 to 16 years) or people with AFAB go through cycles of hormonal activity that repeat every two months. With each cycle, your body prepares for a possible pregnancy, whether you want it or not. The term menstruation refers to the periodic shedding of the uterine lining when there is no pregnancy during that cycle. Many people refer to the days when they notice vaginal bleeding as their "period".

The menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days on average and takes place in phases. These stages include:

  • It isfollicular phase(ovule development).
  • Ovulation (release of eggs).
  • It isluteal phase(If the egg does not implant, hormone levels will drop.)

The menstrual cycle includes four main hormones (chemicals that stimulate or regulate the activity of cells or organs). These hormones include:

  • FSH.
  • Luteinizing hormone.
  • estrogen.
  • progesterone.

follicular phase

This phase begins on the first day of your period. During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, the following events occur:

  • Two hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), are released from the brain and carried by the bloodstream to the ovaries.
  • These hormones stimulate the growth of between 15 and 20 eggs in the ovaries, each of which has its own "shell" called a follicle.
  • These hormones (FSH and LH) also cause an increase in estrogen production.
  • As estrogen levels rise, it acts like a switch, turning off the production of the follicle-stimulating hormone. This careful balance of hormones allows the body to limit the number of follicles ready to release an egg.
  • As the follicular phase progresses, one follicle from one ovary becomes dominant and continues to mature. This dominant follicle suppresses all other follicles in the group. As a result, they stop growing and die. The dominant follicle continues to produce estrogen.


Ovulation (ovulation) usually begins about 14 days after the start of the follicular phase (the exact time varies). Ovulation is the second phase of the menstrual cycle. Most periods occur between 10 and 16 days after ovulation. The following events occur during this phase:

  • An increase in estrogen in the dominant follicle causes an increase in the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) produced by the brain.
  • This causes the dominant follicle to release an egg from the ovary.
  • When the egg is released (a process called ovulation), it is trapped by the finger-like protrusions at the end of the fallopian tube (Close). The pili ejects the ovum into the fallopian tubes.
  • Many women or AFAB will notice an increase in egg whites one to five days before ovulation.moco cervical. This mucus is a vaginal discharge that helps trap and nourish sperm so they can meet and fertilize an egg.

luteal phase

The luteal phase begins immediately after ovulation and includes the following processes:

  • After the egg is released, the empty follicle grows into a new structure called the corpus luteum.
  • It iscorpus luteumIt secretes estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone prepares the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg.
  • If sexual intercourse took place and the sperm fertilized the egg (concept), the fertilized egg (embryo) will travel through the fallopian tubes and implant in the uterus. That's allHardstart.
  • If the egg is not fertilized, it dissolves in the uterus. The lining of the uterus does not need to maintain a pregnancy, it breaks down and falls off. Then your period starts.

How many eggs does a woman have?

You were born with all the eggs you will ever produce. periodfetal development, you have about 6 million eggs. About 1 million eggs remain at birth. By the time you hit puberty, there are only about 300,000 left. As you age and with each menstrual cycle, your egg count continues to decline. Fertility also declines with age due to the decline in the number and quality of remaining eggs.

How does reproduction work?

In humans, the male and female reproductive systems work together to reproduce. There are two types of sex cells: sperm and eggs. When the sperm meets the egg, it can fertilize it and produce a fertilized egg. This fertilized egg eventually develops into a fetus. Human reproduction requires sperm and eggs.

Cleveland Clinic Notes

Female reproductive organs are involved in sexual activity, childbirth, menstruation and reproduction. Each person's reproductive organs look a little different. Some people are born without reproductive organs or with irregular shapes. This can affect the function of the reproductive system, causing irregular bleeding, difficulty conceiving or painful intercourse. If you are concerned about your genitals or have symptoms that worry you, talk to your doctor.


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