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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

list types epithelial tissue
Sangu Reply
Squeamus epithelial tissu Cubidal Columna Cilliated columna
Aliyu
explain how hormonal control aids in homeostasis regarding fluids and electrolytes, internal organs, clinical application, edema electrolyte imbalance?
Hensheal Reply
someone to help me explain those
Hensheal
parathyroid hormone : Calcium uptake, H+ and PO-4 wasting thyroid hormone, cortisol for temperature regulation by acting on B.V
Kartik
also renin
Kartik
thanks
Hensheal
why retro abdominal region called flank?
Huma
it is just Anatomical terminology
Kartik
meaning side of body b/w rib cage and hip bone
Kartik
r
Sangu
list down all the hormones secreted by adrenal gland
Odong Reply
adrenaline hormones
Sangu
The amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart in one contraction.
Javid Reply
how we can calculate the cardiac output
khater
and how do we calculate the strock valume
khater
stroke volume is not all the blood contained in the left ventricle; normally, only about two-thirds of the blood in the ventricle is expelled with each beat.
Javid
Cardiac output 5.5 l S. V 68.75 ml H. R 80bpm
Javid
If we consider SV 70, end systolic vol is about 15% of total(approx always) out of a total of 80-85 ml only 70ml is pumped per systole
Kartik
what is macrophages?and its function
Sajjad Reply
macrophages they are white blood cells that engulf dead cells in the body
patience
what is power stroke?
muravha
no idea
patience
what is the stroke volume of heart?
up
If an autoimmune disorder targets the alpha cells, production of which hormone would be directly affected?
Samantha Reply
what is a muscle?
Gideon Reply
A band or bundle of fibrous tissue in a human or animal body that has the ability to contract, producing movement in or maintaining the position of parts of the body
Mody
ok
Gideon
what's endolphthamities and panophthalmities?
Gideon
fluid around the brain
louise Reply
what ?
Asif
cerebro spinal fluid
Bhupender
The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by a clear fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This fluid is produced and stored in cavities in the brain called ventricles. It circulatesaround the brain, moving from ventricle to ventricle. ... Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is too much CSF
Archie
what is hydrocphalus
aminul Reply
Google krlena na madarchod yha maa chudwa rha ha sabko notification bhjke
Bhupender
when cerebrospinal fluid produce în the brain, i.e. brain ventricles, is to abundent in the brain and is not trăind out of the brain. as a consequence this lichid pute mechanical pressure oñ the brain and it pushes the cerebrum tissue. as a consequence this pressure on the neuronscan cause neurologi
Centerkinet
cal disfunctions, for example clinical headache
Centerkinet
. It is posible to drainout the fluid through a device dalles shunt,as i remember.
Centerkinet
but where are also home medicinsfor decreasing the production of cerebrospin.fluid etc
Centerkinet
there are some medicines that can decrease the production of csf
Centerkinet
a neurologist advice is needed
Centerkinet
i wrote some medicines NOT home medicines. it is a serious condition and specialized medical advice is needed. of course also general medical knowledge may be helpful, but not enough, a specialist is neede
Centerkinet
if anyone help me in physiology
Radika Reply
i am BSN student of first year which book is best for physiology
Radika
i am BSN student of first year which book is best for physiology
Radika
ross and wilson anotomy and physiology
Sajjad
it's 1 book for anotomy and physiology it's best for bs nursing
Sajjad
yes Ross and wilson physiology is better for study
Nasir
I'm also the student of bs nursing
Sajjad
I study guiton and hall &ganong
Gentle
I'm also midwif help me be the best book for midwif
nimco
what ia the function of indocrine system
sheraz
salam all friend
sheraz
help me with this question; explain at least five emergency acute pain found in fundamental emergency medicine
Christon
Fascial compartment of forearm
Hidayatullah
what's a tissue?
Mwape Reply
a group of cells with the same function
Dee
tissue is a group of cells that perform the same functions.
Rashid
explain a bit about a tissue
Mwape
A tissue is made up of cells that are similar in shape and perform the same function, for instance brain cells form up a brain tissue. Whereas a group of tissues that perform the same function form an organ... so in this case the brain which is the organ is formed as a result of brain tissues.
Isaac
what is gross anatomy
Joseph
the branch of anatomy that deals with the structure of organs and tissues that are visible to the naked eye.
Archie
1.To know how the structures functions. 2.To easily identify the micro structures and the macro structures. 3.To be able to explain that anatomy is the study of the structures and physiology is the study of how the structures functions
Abban Reply
Describe the two classes of hormones (3 with subclasses) and how they affect their target cells.
Shalaeha Reply
what is control centre
Gohil Reply
Angie The larger air passage of the lung is
Angie 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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