Having discussed about the female reproductive system in the last post, we now examine each female reproductive organ and female part individually. The female anatomy consists of female parts which are external and internal. The external female parts form the vulva and are visible and the internal female parts are situated inside the body.
External Female Reproductive Organs
The external parts of the female anatomy form the female genitalia and perform two main functions. They facilitate the entry of the male sperm inside the body to the internal parts of the female anatomy and they also protect the internal vital parts of the female reproductive system from infection.
Mons pubis also called the mons veneris is an elevation or a rounded eminence of adipose tissue just above the female genitals and over the symphysis pubis. It is covered with pubic hair after puberty and protects the underlying pubic bone above the bladder from trauma during sexual intercourse.
Pudendal cleft or the pudendal fissure or pudendal cleavage and called the cleft of Venus is a furrow situated at the base of the mons pubis. It is a part of the vulva which divides the two labia majora.
Image of external female parts
Labia majora are two longitudinal fleshy folds on either side of the pudendal cleft that extend from the mons pubis above to the perineum below. They contain sweat and sebaceous glands. After puberty they get covered with pubic hair. Translated they mean large (majora) lips (labia). They are comparable to the scrotum in males.
Labia minora are the “small lips” which are situated inside the labia majora and form two flaps on either side of the opening of the vagina.
The Bartholin’s glands
The Bartholin’s glands or the greater vestibular glands are two glands situated slightly to the posterior, one on either side of the vaginal opening. They secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina and moisten the vaginal opening. This usually happens when the woman is sexually aroused.
The Clitoris is a small protrusion, comparable to the male penis and is situated above where the two labia minora meet. Its size and sensitivity vary in different women. A report, I read mentions the size of the clitoris as between 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch in length. It is covered by a prepuce of skin just like the male penis. The clitoris is very sensitive to touch and becomes erect on sexual stimulation. It is the primary cause of sexual pleasure in females and capable of producing an orgasm.
Internal Female Reproductive Organs
Vagina anatomy and function
The vagina is a fibro muscular canal extending from the vulva on the outside to the cervix of the uterus. Its main purpose is to enable sexual intercourse and collection of the semen ejaculated by the man and also for passage of the fetus during childbirth.
It has great elasticity to facilitate both the above functions of accommodating the erect penis during intercourse and accommodating the baby during childbirth. Otherwise the length of the unstimulated vagina varies from 2.75 inches to 3.25 inches only.
The vaginal opening may be partially or fully covered by a membrane called the hymen. The hymen has an opening which increases with age. The hymen gets broken by sexual intercourse and other physical activity such as cycling and swimming and even by tampons.
The Uterus (womb)
The uterus is a hollow pear-shaped muscular organ which serves a very important function of housing the developing fetus during pregnancy. It is the major organ of female reproduction system. It comprises of two parts:
- The cervix or the neck of the uterus is the lower narrow part of the uterus which opens into the vagina. It is conical in shape and half of it protrudes into the vagina through the upper anterior vaginal wall. The cervix is a small channel which allows the sperm to pass into the uterus, allows for menstrual flow to the outside and passage of the baby during childbirth.
- The body of the uterus also called the corpus implants the fertilized ovum onto its inner wall. It houses the developing baby during the full length of pregnancy helping to provide it with anchoring support, nutrition and removal of waste.
Female reproductive organs diagram
The ovaries are two small oval shaped glands which are situated on either side of the uterus near the distal ends of the fallopian tube on either side. Each ovary is the size of a walnut about 3 cms long, 2.5 cms wide and about 1 cm thick during the reproductive life of a woman between the age of puberty and menopause.
They are located near the lateral walls of the pelvic cavity. The ovaries produce ova or eggs and also hormones. It is the fertilization of the ovum by the sperm that gives rise to conception and subsequent pregnancy. Each ovary contains about 2,00,000 eggs (ova).
The Fallopian Tubes
The fallopian tubes or oviducts are two narrow tubes, each about 4 to 6 inches in length, situated one on either side of the uterus and attached to its upper side. Each fallopian tube has an ovary at its distal end but not directly connected to it. The distal openings of the fallopian tubes are called distal ostia which open into the abdominal cavity very close to the ovaries.
They serve to transport the ovum after ovulation from their distal end towards uterus with the help of cilia (small hair) which propel the ovum forwards. Usually fertilization of the ovum by the sperm takes place inside the fallopian tube while on its path towards the uterus.
The female reproductive organs consists of the female parts of the female anatomy, each with its distinct function and design to perform the important task of reproduction and existence of the human species.