Female External and Internal Reproductive Organs – What Role Do They Play in Procreation?
How well do you know about your body? There are still many women who have little idea about their genitals and reproductive organs and what roles do they actually play. Here is everything a woman wants to know about her reproductive anatomy.
Female reproductive system
The female reproductive system is a complex and interconnected group of organs. The sole aim of this group of organs is to prepare a woman for normal pregnancy and its maintenance till the child is delivered. Female reproductive anatomy consists of external genitals and internal reproductive organs.
What organs make up the external genitals in females?
If we talk about the functioning of the external reproductive structure i.e. the genitals, they basically serve two main purposes. One is to allow the sperm to enter into the body and other is to provide protection to the internal genitals against infection.
In layman language, the external genital organs of a woman are usually called as the ‘vagina’. But actually, the vagina is one of the many organs that forms the external genital structure with each organ has a respective role to play. In fact, all these parts of the external genital structure are collectively known as Vulva. The vulva gives sexual pleasure to women when stimulated.
The primary external genital structure of a woman’s body includes:
Also known as mons veneris, it is a fatty area which is located above the pubic bone. This region is generally covered by pubic hair. The main task of mons pubis is to provide physical protection or cushioning to the pubic area.
This two-folded fleshy tissue encloses other external genital organs including the vagina. The labia stretches from the front part of the vagina to the rear opening. The labia consist of sebaceous glands which secrete fluids and are responsible for lubrication. When a girl reaches puberty, hair starts appearing on labia majora.
In between labia majora, lies labia minora. It is also a two-fold skin that can be very small in size, about 2 inches in width. Labia minora extends or cover the vaginal opening and is pinkish in color which comes from the bunch of blood vessels that lies beneath. This skin can be torn during the sexual violence or during vaginal childbirth.
It is a small bulge located on the top of the vagina that plays a crucial role in sexually arousing a woman. The functioning of the clitoris can be related to the male penis. During sexual intercourse or stimulation, this sensitive organ erects like penis in man. In other words, stimulation of the clitoris is necessary for achieving orgasm.
This external portion consist of the urethral orifice or opening of the vagina, Bartholin’s glands, Skene’s glands and the hymen. Bartholin’s and Skene glands secrete fluids that help in lubrication. Hymen does not have any specific purpose except it tears apart when a female indulges in sexual intercourse for the first time or during any other physical activity.
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The outer genital structure of women also consists of the urethra which is located in between the front of labia minora and above the vaginal opening. The urethra is the organ through which a woman expels urine.
What organs make up the internal reproductive system in females?
The major organs which form the internal anatomy of the female reproductive system include:
This is the most common term used to describe female genitals. This 3-4 inches long muscular tube is the end of the birth canal. The vagina is the organ where a man inserts his penis during sexual intercourse. This very organ is externally visible and protected by labia (liplike structure).
Also called as the womb, it’s a hollow pear-shaped organ which is located between the bladder and the rectum. The lower part of the uterus known as cervix opens into the vagina. The uterus has plenty of crucial function to perform the most important of which is to carry a developing fetus and nurture it to its full term. Uterus also plays a role in the monthly menstrual cycle of a woman by shedding its lining or endometrium to release blood.
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This organ is the lower part of the uterus and the connecting link between the vagina and the uterus. Cervix is responsible for preventing bacteria and other harmful organisms from entering the uterus. It also acts as a passageway for the sperm to reach the uterus for fertilizing the egg and a channel allowing menstrual blood to exit from the body.
In most part of the month, the cervix is covered with thick sticky mucus that makes an inhospitable environment for the bacteria. But on the other hand, when a woman is around the time of ovulation, this mucus dilutes or thins out to allow the sperm to enter the uterus.
These oval shaped almond-sized glands is the place where estrogen hormone is produced. Ovaries are located on either side of the uterus and act as storage for eggs. During the menstrual cycle, the ovaries release egg (ovulation) which can be fertilized by the sperm.
These narrow tube-like organs are connected with the uterus on one side and ovaries on the other. Fallopian tubes serve as a passageway for the eggs to travel to the uterus for fertilization during the ovulation. If a woman has had sexual intercourse, the sperm would travel through the uterus and into the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg. This fertilized egg then moves through the fallopian tube into the uterus where it gets implanted and completes its term.
Do women organs changes in shape and position during pregnancy?
The internal reproductive organs of women go through changes throughout the course of pregnancy. This change comes due to a new life nurturing inside who needs some space to grow and mature till the full term of nine months. This also physically and mentally impacts a woman as it start experiences a number of symptoms such as abdominal pressure, pain, ache, vaginal discharge and other discomfort.
Credit : Scienmag
These changes do not happen until the beginning of the third trimester. If you are planning pregnancy, you must know about the following changes in your body:
- Lungs move upwards and become constricted in size
- Stomach stick out upwards against the lungs
- Intestines get away and makes room for the uterus
- The bladder is gently squashed by the uterus at the bottom
- Uterus which is normally the size of orange before pregnancy, can grow upto the size of a watermelon during third trimester
During the labor, the organs are further squeezed and the heart works harder. This is the reason for pain and discomfort a woman experiences during live birth. Six weeks after giving birth, the uterus returns to its normal size and hence, all other organs come back to their default position.
It is perfectly ok to get to know about your own body. Basic understanding of the reproductive organs and the sexual anatomy let you know certain conditions such as lumps, abscess, cysts, and tumor well in advance. If left untreated, these conditions can sometimes become cancerous.