Below is comprehensive information about the female reproductive system, its anatomy, functions, and conditions that may need you to contact a doctor.
Anatomy and Functions of the Female Reproductive System
The anatomy of the female reproductive system includes parts both inside and outside the body which all work together for there to be reproduction. These parts include:
- Fallopian tubes: these are narrow tubes attached to the upper part of the uterus and play a role as tunnels for the ova.
- Ovaries: these are oval-shaped glands that produce hormones and eggs(ova)
- Vagina: this is the canal that joins the cervix to the outside of the body
- Uterus: also known as the womb. It is a pear-shaped organ that houses a developing fetus.
- Vulva: this is the part that covers the opening to the vagina
- Urinary opening: this is a part below the clitoris where urine leaves the body
- Vaginal opening: this is a part below the urinary opening which is the entry to the vagina.
- Labia: two lip-like skins found on the opening of the vagina
The Menstrual Cycle
When females get to the productive age, they have hormonal activities that occur at intervals of about one month. During this time, the body gets ready for a potential pregnancy even without the intention of the woman. The menstrual cycle, which occurs in phases, takes about 28 days.
These Phases Include:
- Follicular phase: this is the time when there is the development of the eggs
- Ovulatory phase: this is the time when there is the release of the egg
- The luteal phase: during this phase, hormones levels decrease in case the egg does not implant. the phase will last 14 days in such a case, after which menstruation will take place.
The four hormones involved in the menstrual cycle include:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
- Luteinizing hormone
There are various disorders associated with menstruation. These include:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding- this is a case where one may have to put their normal lives on hold
- Amenorrhea – this is a case where you have no menstrual periods
- Severe menstrual cramps – these are mainly caused by uterine contractions
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) – these are severe psychological and physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Learn more about PMS here.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder- similar to premenstrual syndrome, though more severe and causes anxiety, irritability and depression.
Ensure That You Seek Medical Attention If:
- Your periods were once regular but now are not
- The period is heavier than usual
- Period pains are extremely painful
- Your periods last for more than seven days
Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019