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Female reproductive organs

Female reproductive organs

The female reproductive system is a term used to collectively refer to the organs that work together to allow for the reproductive function of the female organism.These organs can be subdivided into two categories based on their placement. The internal genitalia are contained within the lesser (true) pelvis, and include the vagina, the uterus, the cervix, the uterine tubes (oviducts or fallopian tubes), and the ovaries. The external genitalia are located outside of the lesser pelvis, and include the mons pubis, the labia majora, the labia minora, the clitoris, the vestibule, the vestibular bulb, and the greater vestibular (Bartholin’s) glands.

Internal Genitalia

Vagina

The vagina is the female copulatory organ. It’s a distensible fibromuscular tube that extends upwards and backwards from the vestibule of the external genitalia, to the cervix. It has several functions that include receiving penis ejaculate and assisting its transfer to the uterus, expanding to form a channel for the delivery of a newborn, and serving as a pathway for menstrual fluid to leave the body. 

Uterus

The uterus is a hollow pear-shaped organ with thick muscular walls. It consists of a fundus, a body and a cervix, and unites with the vagina inferiorly, and with the uterine tubes laterally. Its main function is to accept the fertilized ovum and provide mechanical protection, nutritional support, and waste removal for the developing embryo and fetus. Due to its muscular nature, the uterus also aids in childbirth by contracting its walls and pushing out the fetus. 

Cervix

The cervix forms the inferior portion of the uterus. It is short and cylindrical in shape, opening into the vagina to allow the passage of semen to the uterus. 

Uterine Tubes (Fallopian Tubes)

The uterine tubes are J-shaped muscular tubes that project laterally from the superior end of the body of the uterus. They open into the peritoneal cavity, immediately adjacent to the ovaries. Their main function is to assist the transfer of the ovum from the ovary to the uterus. The fertilization of an ovum normally occurs in the uterine tubes. 

Ovaries

The ovaries are the female gonads. They are two small, oval-shaped organs located on the left and right of the uterus, near the walls of the pelvic cavity. The ovaries are the site for egg and hormone production.

External Genitalia

The external genitalia have less complex roles. Their prime functions are to allow the sperm to enter the body (thus enabling ovum fertilization), shield the internal genitalia from trauma and infectious organisms, and provide sexual pleasure.

Mons Pubis

The mons pubis is the rounded hair-bearing mass of fatty tissue covered in skin that covers the pubic symphysis and the adjacent pubic bone. 

Labia Majora

The labia majora are two fleshy folds of skin that extend back from the mons pubis to the perineum, shaping the outer female genitals.

Labia Minora

The labia minora are two smaller skin folds that are devoid of fat that lie between the labia majora. They extend from the clitoris obliquely down, and flank the vaginal orifice. 

Clitoris

The clitoris is a small erectile structure enclosed by the anterior bifurcated ends of the labia minora. It has high cutaneous sensitivity. 

Vestibule

The vestibule is a triangular cavity that lies between the labia minora. It contains the vaginal and external urethral orifices, as well as the openings of the two greater vestibular glands.

Vestibular Bulbs

The vestibular bulbs are two masses of erectile tissue that lie on each side of the vestibule. 

Greater Vestibular (Bartholin’s) Glands

The greater vestibular glands are two round bodies that flank the vaginal opening. Their role is to produce fluid secretions that provide vaginal lubrication.

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