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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the structure and function of the organs of the female reproductive system
  • List the steps of oogenesis
  • Describe the hormonal changes that occur during the ovarian and menstrual cycles
  • Trace the path of an oocyte from ovary to fertilization

The female reproductive system functions to produce gametes and reproductive hormones, just like the male reproductive system; however, it also has the additional task of supporting the developing fetus and delivering it to the outside world. Unlike its male counterpart, the female reproductive system is located primarily inside the pelvic cavity ( [link] ). Recall that the ovaries are the female gonads. The gamete they produce is called an oocyte    . We’ll discuss the production of oocytes in detail shortly. First, let’s look at some of the structures of the female reproductive system.

Female reproductive system

This figure shows the structure and the different organs in the female reproductive system. The top panel shows the lateral view and the bottom panel shows the anterior view.
The major organs of the female reproductive system are located inside the pelvic cavity.

External female genitals

The external female reproductive structures are referred to collectively as the vulva    ( [link] ). The mons pubis    is a pad of fat that is located at the anterior, over the pubic bone. After puberty, it becomes covered in pubic hair. The labia majora    (labia = “lips”; majora = “larger”) are folds of hair-covered skin that begin just posterior to the mons pubis. The thinner and more pigmented labia minora    (labia = “lips”; minora = “smaller”) extend medial to the labia majora. Although they naturally vary in shape and size from woman to woman, the labia minora serve to protect the female urethra and the entrance to the female reproductive tract.

The superior, anterior portions of the labia minora come together to encircle the clitoris    (or glans clitoris), an organ that originates from the same cells as the glans penis and has abundant nerves that make it important in sexual sensation and orgasm. The hymen    is a thin membrane that sometimes partially covers the entrance to the vagina. An intact hymen cannot be used as an indication of “virginity”; even at birth, this is only a partial membrane, as menstrual fluid and other secretions must be able to exit the body, regardless of penile–vaginal intercourse. The vaginal opening is located between the opening of the urethra and the anus. It is flanked by outlets to the Bartholin’s glands    (or greater vestibular glands).

The vulva

This figure shows the parts of the vulva. The right panel shows the external anterior view and the left panel shows the internal anteriolateral view. The major parts are labeled.
The external female genitalia are referred to collectively as the vulva.

Vagina

The vagina    , shown at the bottom of [link] and [link] , is a muscular canal (approximately 10 cm long) that serves as the entrance to the reproductive tract. It also serves as the exit from the uterus during menses and childbirth. The outer walls of the anterior and posterior vagina are formed into longitudinal columns, or ridges, and the superior portion of the vagina—called the fornix—meets the protruding uterine cervix. The walls of the vagina are lined with an outer, fibrous adventitia; a middle layer of smooth muscle; and an inner mucous membrane with transverse folds called rugae    . Together, the middle and inner layers allow the expansion of the vagina to accommodate intercourse and childbirth. The thin, perforated hymen can partially surround the opening to the vaginal orifice. The hymen can be ruptured with strenuous physical exercise, penile–vaginal intercourse, and childbirth. The Bartholin’s glands and the lesser vestibular glands (located near the clitoris) secrete mucus, which keeps the vestibular area moist.

Questions & Answers

what is pelvis
Aisha Reply
Complex of bones that connect the trunk and the legs,supports and balance the trunk.
Orpha
What is d most heaviest organ in d body
Abraham Reply
Liver
Akasi
The skin
Akasi
What is the meaning? What does it entails to? What are the works of Arthropologists?
Orpha Reply
bones of appendicular skeleton
hemalatha Reply
Fore limbs, hind limbs, pectoral and pelvic girdle
Abraham
Functions of the thoracic cage
Fereh Reply
protect all the organs and tissues from any impact or injury
Javier
It protects the heart other tissues in the chest region
Abraham
why sickle cell carrier people don't get malaria
Boakye Reply
Bcos mosquitoes are not attracted by their blood due to poor oxygen
Abraham
What is the amniotic fluid
bollywood Reply
structure of heart and it's function (10 mark )
Priyanka Reply
not possible
Abraham
What is the best book on physiology?
cesar Reply
describe varicocele
malulu
what do you mean by peritoneum
Siba Reply
It is thick covering surrounding the abdomen
Awais
r8
how to become good in Anatomy and physiology
malulu
hi
Milkah
hlo
Wani
What are is the last solution to abdomen pain in pregnant women
Umoru
no it is in kidney
Tantray
Kk
Umoru
structure of heart and it's function
Priyanka
Serous membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen
bollywood
it is four lobs structure and it is triangular in shaped. it 's function pumping the blood
ABDULLAH
explain root of lungs
ABDULLAH
Glomerular pressure -capsule pressure -colloid osmosis pressure
malulu Reply
how to describe mechanism of micturition
malulu
spleen is important?
AKASH Reply
helpful in destruction of rbc
It is imp in storing blood and destruction of microbes and harmful particles
Awais
ty sir
AKASH
K
Umoru
what are the sources of glucose in the body
malulu
describe mechanism of micturition
malulu
Pancreatic hormones with function
mami Reply
Insulin, which helps to regulate our blood sugar levels.
Bb
glucagon which is antagonistic to insulin increase the blood glucose level,. Somatostatin help to regulate the levels of both insulin and glucagon
Ashish
thnks for helping
nimco
thanks
Narendra
what is a lymph node.?
AKASH
lymph nodes are small kidney shaped organs of the lymphatic system.
Trishauna
there are several hundred lymph nodes found mostly throughout the thorax and abdomen of the body with the highest concentrations in the auxiliary (armpit) and inguinal groin regions.
Trishauna
what is life
Yar Reply
life is the existence of an individual human being animal or plant
Furmose
how I join this
Ahmed
meaning
Furmose
to day I am new person and I can't participate questions so to morow I shall participate question sopleas excuse me
Ahmed
I had a debate earlier about nutrition and it didn't get a clear answer on that,can one tell me what the definition of nutrition.?
kelvin
the nutrition is nourish person is feeling an nutrition
Ahmed
I think nutrition is the process of taking food and using it for growth, metabolism and repair.
Methila
life is full of happy and sorrow
Sanamacha
life is achievement
Nandini
life is the nothing but god gave us 1 body. and we all service k in this body. The things which we do for the Survivation for this body I felt that this is called as the life
AKASH
Yes God gave us life but not god who gave us the life. Hope u understood what i meant by God n not god who gave life..... ?
laku
What's the question?
Sherman Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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