Female reproductive system

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Female reproductive system (human)
A pictorial illustration of the female reproductive system
Latinsystema genitale femininum
Anatomical terminology
1. Vulva: 2. Labia majora; 3. Labia minora; 4. Vestibule; 5. Clitoris: (with 6. Glans and 7. Body). 8. Bulb of vestibule
9. Vagina: 10. Hymen; 11. Lumen; 12. Wall; 13. Fornix (lateral)
14. Uterus: Parts: 15. Cervix; 16. Body and 17. Fundus. 18. Orifices: External and Internal; 19. Cervical canal; 20. Uterine cavity; Layers: 21. Endometrium; 22. Myometrium and 23. Perimetrium
24. Fallopian tube: 25. Isthmus; 26. Ampulla; 27. Infundibulum; 28. Fimbria (with 29. Fimbria ovarica)
30. Ovary
31. Visceral pelvic peritoneum: 32. Broad ligament (with 33. Mesosalpinx; 34. Mesovarium and 35. Mesometrium)
Ligaments: 36. Round; 37. Ovarian; 38. Suspensory of ovary
Blood vessels: 39. Ovarian artery and vein; 40. Uterine artery and veins; 41. Vaginal artery and veins
Other: 42. Ureter; 43. Pelvic floor (Levator ani); 44. Femoral head; 45. Hip bone; 46. Internal iliac vessels (anterior branches); 47. External iliac vessels; 48. Abdominal cavity

The female reproductive system is the internal and external sex organs that work in the production of having children. The female reproductive system is not active at birth. It begins growing at puberty and able to produce ova and to carry a baby to full term. The internal sex organs are the vagina, womb, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The female reproductive tract includes the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes and is prone to infections.[1] The vagina is for sexual intercourse and childbirth. It is connected to the uterus at the cervix. The uterus or womb contains the embryo which develops into the baby. The external sex organs are also known as the genitals. These are the organs of the vulva: the labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening.[2]

During the woman's menstrual cycle, the ovaries release an ovum. The ovum goes through the fallopian tube into the uterus. If the ovum egg cell meets with sperm on its way to the uterus, it can combine with it, fertilizing it into a zygote.

Fertilization usually happens in the fallopian tubes. This is the beginning of embryogenesis. The fertilized egg will then go through many divisions to form a blastocyst. The blastocyst which sticks itself in the wall of the uterus. This is the start of gestation. The baby will continue to grow until full-term. When the baby has grown enough, the cervix opens and contractions of the uterus propel the newborn through the birth canal (the vagina).

External organs[change | change source]

The female external reproductive organs on the outside of the body They are the secondary sex organs.

Vulva[change | change source]

The vulva is the external parts and tissues and includes the mons pubis, pudendal cleft, labia majora, labia minora, Bartholin's glands, Skene's glands, clitoris, urethra, and vaginal opening.

Internal organs[change | change source]

Sagittal MRI showing the location of the vagina, cervix, and uterus
Illustration depicting female reproductive system (sagittal view)
Frontal view as scheme of reproductive organs

The female internal reproductive organs are the vagina, uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

Vagina[change | change source]

The vagina is a canal leading from the outside of the body to the cervix of the uterus or womb. It is also referred to as the birth canal. The vagina receives the male penis during sexual intercourse. Semen is spermatozoa and is ejaculated from the penis into the vagina.

Cervix[change | change source]

The cervix is the bottom part of the uterus. This is the lower, narrow portion joining with the upper part of the vagina. It is cylindrical or conical in shape and sticks down through the upper vaginal wall. Approximately half its length is visible. It is the opening where the baby emerges during birth.

Uterus[change | change source]

The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ. The uterus protects the growing baby. It gives nutrition and removes waste products. The contractions of the uterus pushes out the baby at the time of birth.

The uterus is a pear-shaped muscular organ. Its major function is to accept a fertilized ovum which becomes implanted into the lining of the uterus. The baby gets its nourishment from blood vessels of the uterus.

Fallopian tube[change | change source]

The Fallopian tubes are two tubes leading from the ovaries into the uterus. When the ovary releases an ovum it enters the Fallopian tube. It travels toward the uterus. This trip can take hours or days. When the ovum is fertilized by a sperm cell while in the Fallopian tube, then it normally implants in the womb.

Ovaries[change | change source]

The ovaries are small and located near the side walls of the pelvic cavity. The ovaries produce the egg cells (ova). They also secrete hormones. After the ovary releases an egg cell it travels down the Fallopian tube to the uterus. The egg can then be fertilized by a sperm.

Development[change | change source]

The female reproductive system develops based upon chromosome characteristics at conception. The mother's egg contains an X chromosome and the father's sperm contains either an X or Y chromosome. It is the male who determines the fetus's sex. If the fetus inherits the X chromosome from the father, the fetus will be a female. Testosterone is not made and the fetus develops female sex organs. If the fetus inherits the Y chromosome from the father, the fetus will be a male. The presence of testosterone in the embryo will stimulate the development of the male sex organs.[3]

Infections and changes[change | change source]

Vaginitis[change | change source]

Vaginitis is an infection of the vagina. It is the most common vaginal condition presented.[4] It is difficult to determine any one organism most responsible for vaginitis. This is because it varies due to age, sexual activity, and method of microbial identification. Vaginitis is not necessarily caused by a sexually transmitted infection. Vaginitis is diagnosed based on the presence of vaginal discharge, which can have a certain color, odor, or quality.[5]

Bacterial vaginosis[change | change source]

This is a vaginal infection in women. It differs from vaginitis in that there is no inflammation. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by many bacteria species. A bacterial vaginosis infection happens if discharge is thin, the pH of the vigina is 4.5 and the epithelial cells in the vagina have bacteria attached.[5]

Yeast infection[change | change source]

This is a common cause of vaginal irritation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 75% of adult women have experienced one yeast infection at least once in their lifetime. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus in the vagina known as Candida. Other things can cause a yeast infection. Pregnancy, diabetes, weakened immune systems, tight fitting clothing, or douching can also be a cause. Symptoms of yeast infection include itching, burning, irritation, and a white cottage-cheese-like discharge from the vagina. A woman may experience painful intercourse and urination. Treatment creams can be applied in or around the vaginal area.[5]

Genital mutilation[change | change source]

There are many practices of mutilating female genitalia in different cultures. The most common two types of genital mutilation practiced are clitoridectomy, the circumcision of the clitoris and the excision of the prepuce the skin around the clitoris. They can all involve a range of adverse health consequences such as bleeding, irreparable tissue damage, and sepsis.

Genital surgery[change | change source]

Genitoplasty refers to surgery that is carried out to repair damaged sex organs. This is done particularly following cancer and its treatment. There are also elective surgical procedures which change the appearance of the external genitals.

Birth control[change | change source]

There are many types of birth control available to females. Birth control can be hormonal or physical in nature.[6] However, oral contraceptives can have a variety of side effects, including depression.[7]

References[change | change source]

  1. Scoullar, Michelle J. L.; Boeuf, Philippe; Peach, Elizabeth (2021). "Mycoplasma genitalium and Other Reproductive Tract Infections in Pregnant Women, Papua New Guinea, 2015–2017 - Volume 27, Number 3—March 2021 - Emerging Infectious Diseases journal - CDC". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 27 (3): 894–904. doi:10.3201/eid2703.201783. PMC 7920647. PMID 33622474. Archived from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  2. Mahadevan, Harold Ellis, Vishy (2013). Clinical anatomy applied anatomy for students and junior doctors (13th ed.). Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9781118373767.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. "Details of genital development". Archived from the original on February 25, 2020. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  4. Egan ME, Lipsky MS (2000). "Diagnosis of Vaginitis". American Family Physician. 62 (5): 1095–104. PMID 10997533. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Zaino, Nucci, & Kurman, Richard, Marisa, & Robert (2011). "Diseases of the Vagina". Diseases of the Vagina. pp. 105–154. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-0489-8_3. ISBN 978-1-4419-0488-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. Iyer, V; Farquhar, C; Jepson, R (2000). Iyer, Vadeihi (ed.). "Oral contraceptive pills for heavy menstrual bleeding". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD000154. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000154. PMID 10796696.
  7. de Wit, AE; Booij, SH; Giltay, EJ; Joffe, H; Schoevers, RA; Oldehinkel, AJ (2020). "Association of Use of Oral Contraceptives With Depressive Symptoms Among Adolescents and Young Women". JAMA Psychiatry. 77 (1): 52–59. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2838. PMC 6777223. PMID 31577333.