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Anatomy of Female Reproductive System

Ovaries, Uterus, Female duct system, Vagina, Vulva, vaginal glands, perineum, sebaceous glands.

Anatomy of the Female Reproductive System

There are two main parts to women's reproductive systems: the uterus and the ovaries, which produce eggs. There are two categories of female reproductive systems: ovulatory and oviparous.

Uterus
  • contains the developing foetus
  • secretes uterine and vaginal fluids
  • The male sperm is passed through the fallopian tubes anatomically
Ovaries
  • release anatomically female eggs.
  • They secrete estrogen and progesterone, as well as the hormone progesterone.
Labia, clitoris, and urethra are external organs of the vagina that are joined by the internal structure known as the vulva. During pregnancy, fallopian tubes connect the uterus with the ovaries, whereas the cervix connects the uterus with the vagina. A fertilized egg travels from the ovaries to the uterus along the fallopian tube regularly. During this transit, sperm may penetrate and merge with the egg, resulting in fertilization. Fertilization can occur inside the uterus but usually takes place in the oviducts. A zygote then implants itself in the uterine wall, where it begins to develop into an embryo and morph into a human being. When the foetus reaches the point of being able to survive outside the womb, the cervix dilates, allowing the foetus to escape through the birth canal (vagina). When anatomically females are born, their ova are larger than their sperm. Approximately every month, a process known as oogenesis prepares an ovary to release its egg into the fallopian tube in preparation for fertilization. The unfertilized egg is flushed through menstruation if not fertilized. Women have fallopian tubes, cervixes, and ovaries as internal reproductive organs. The external components of the vaginal system include the clitoris, the pudendal cleft, the mons pubis, the labia majora, and the labia minora.

Ovaries

Women's internal reproductive system consists of ovaries that produce ovum.
Usually found in pairs, the ovary is an ovulating reproductive organ in vertebrates. Similarly, female ovaries are gonads and hormonal glands like male testes. The ovaries produce progesterone and estrogen. A female's second sex characteristic appears at puberty, and estrogen allows the reproductive organs to mature and function properly. Together with estrogen, progesterone changes the endometrium during the menstrual cycle.

Anatomical features

The ovarian fossa is a region of the pelvis where the ovaries are located in the lateral walls of each side. Fossae are found beneath external iliac arteries and in front of ureters and internal iliac arteries.

In the pelvic cavity, on each side of the uterus, are paired ovaries that are connected by a fibrous ring called an ovarian ligament. The ovaries are connected to the body wall using the ovary's suspensory ligament. An ovary is covered by a portion of the uterus' broad ligament called the mesovarium. Only the ovary is a completely invaginated organ within the peritoneum. It is the only organ within the peritoneum. The uterine extremity of the ovary is located opposite the tubal extremity. Through the infundibulopelvic ligament, the Fallopian tube attaches to the tubal extremity. An ovarian ligament attaches the uterine extremity to the uterus and points downward.

Uterus

In the female reproductive system, the uterus is the largest and most important organ. It is the site of foetal development and is sensitive to hormonal changes.

Most mammals, including humans, possess a uterus or womb that functions in response to female hormones. An end of the cervix opens into the vagina, while the other opens into the fallopian tubes or one or both of them. Humans develop their foetuses in the uterus, like other mammals with placentas. In a female foetus, two Müllerian ducts form and eventually fuse into one uterus based on species. Both the body and cervix make up the uterus. A protruding part of the cervix meets the vaginal wall. During pregnancy, the uterus is held in place within the pelvis by the endopelvic fascia, also known as ligaments. In addition to pubocervical, transverse, cervical, and axial ligaments, there are also uterosacral ligaments. The broad ligament is covered by the peritoneum in a sheet-like fashion. Upon stimulation of the uterus by sexual stimulation, blood flow is directed to the pelvis and external genitalia, including the ovaries, vagina, clitoris, and labia. During reproduction, the uterus accepts an ovum that passes from the fallopian tube through the utero-tubal junction. During its development, it implants into the endometrium, where it receives nourishment from blood vessels created specifically for this purpose.

The fetus, the developed ovum which becomes an embryo during pregnancy, attaches to the uterine wall and develops into a fetus (gestational states). As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it is partially pushed into the abdomen due to anatomical barriers such as the pelvis. A human uterus weighs less than 2 pounds (2 kilograms) even during pregnancy. Located immediately dorsal (and sometimes somewhat rostral) to the uterus in the abdominal cavity that contains the bladder and rectum. Approximately 3 inches (7.6 cm) long, the human uterus is pear-shaped. According to its anatomical structure, the uterus consists of four segments: Fundus, corpus, cervix, and internal os.

In frontal plane, the uterus is situated at the center of the pelvic cavity (caused by the ligamentum uteri latum). The fundus does not extend beyond the line terminals. A fundus is the upper, rounded part of the uterus located opposite the cervix. In the vaginal area of the cervix, the interspinal line is not crossed. When both the bladder and the rectum are full, the uterus moves upwards under the pressure of either. The pressure inside the abdomen pushes it downward. The Musculo-fibrous apparatus provides it with mobility, consisting of a suspensory and a sustainable portion. The suspensory part of the uterus stabilizes the pelvis when the uterus is "floating" in it in most women. Retroverted uteri, also known as "tipped" uteri, can produce symptoms such as pain during sexual activity, pelvic pain during menstruation, minor incontinence, urinary tract infections, inability to conceive, and trouble using tampons. An examination of the pelvis by a doctor can reveal whether the uterus is tipped.

The uterine lining is known as endometrium. There are two types of endometrium: the functional endometrium and the basal endometrium that gives rise to the former. In the case of basal endometrial damage, adhesion and/or fibrosis can form. All mammals, including humans, have an endometrium that sheds or reabsorbs periodically if there is no pregnancy. A woman's menstrual bleeding (also known as her period) occurs when shed endometrium sheds, usually over 28 days, with seven days of flow and 21 days of progression during her reproductive years. Depending on hormonal production, cellular regeneration, and other factors, including weight, circadian rhythm, and photoperiodism (an organism's reaction to the length of day or night), menstrual cycles affect the ability of the uterus to reproduce. In a woman, menstrual cycles can range from a few days to six months, but they can also vary widely within one person, sometimes stopping for several cycles before resuming. Myometrium, also known as smooth muscle, is the main component of the uterus. During the process of adenomyosis, the junctional zone of the myometrium thickens. A parametrium surrounds the uterus and is made of loose connective tissue. During pregnancy, the perimetrium covers the fundus as well as the ventral and dorsal parts of the uterus. The diaphragm of the pelvis, the perineal body, and the urogenital diaphragm support the uterus the most. Second support is provided by ligaments and peritoneum (wide ligament of the uterus).

Female duct system

The Fallopian tubes are the tubes connecting the ovaries and the uterus. There are twelve fallopian tubes in female mammals, which extend from the ovaries into the uterus and are also known as ovarian tubes, uterine tubes, or salpinges (plural salpinx). An oviduct is an equivalent structure in non-mammalian vertebrates. The uterus receives eggs from the ovary through these tubes. Fallopian tubes can be divided into the following segments (lateral to medial):
  • Fimbriae is attached to the infundibulum near the ovary.
  • It comprises the majority of the lateral tube's ampullary region.
  • As the narrowest part of the uterus tube, the isthmus connects to it.
  • A portion of the intramural (interstitial) uterine musculature crosses it.
An ostium is a point where the peritoneal cavity meets the tubal canal, while a uterine opening is a place where the Fallopian tube enters the uterus, also known as the utero-tubal junction.

It is composed of two different types of cells: simple columnar epithelium and fallopian tube epithelium. A majority of the tube's cells are ciliated, but a greater number occurs in the infundibulum and ampulla. The production of cilia increases when estrogen is present. Peg cells, which contain granules at the apex and produce tubular fluid, are situated between the ciliated cells. Spermatozoa, oocytes, and zygotes need nutrients in this fluid to grow. As a result of the secretions, the sperm are also capable of capacitation since glycoproteins and other molecules are removed from the plasma membrane. In contrast, estrogen increases peg cells' height and secretory activity while progesterone increases their number. As the tubal fluid flows to the fimbriated end, it is against the action of the cilia.

During the development of an ovum in an ovary, it is enclosed in a sac called an ovarian follicle. During maturation, the ovary walls and mature follicles rupture, allowing ovum escape. In the ampulla, the sperm meets the egg through the fimbriated end and is fertilized by it. Through the tubal cilia and tubal muscle, the fertilized ovum travels to the uterus as a zygote. Embryos are implanted within a few days of entering the uterine cavity approximately five days after conception. Ectopic pregnancy results when an embryo implants in the Fallopian tube rather than the uterus.

Vagina

The female reproductive tract is primarily responsible for sexual activity and childbirth. Sexual intercourse and childbirth are two main functions of the vagina, a female sexual organ. Humans undergo vulvovaginal openings which lead to the opening of the uterus, however, the vaginal tract ends at the cervix.

Anatomy of vagina

There is a larger opening in the vaginal area than in the urethral area. Arousal requires moistening of the vagina so that the penis can enter. The vaginal wall and the penis come into contact with each other interstate. The vaginal canal is accessible at the caudal end of the vulva, behind the urethral opening. The rectouterine pouch separates the vagina from the rectum in the upper quarter. The vagina and the interior of the vulva, as well as most of the internal mucous membranes, are reddish-pink. The vaginal rugae are ridges that appear when the outer third of the vaginal wall is folded. A transverse epithelial ridge increases the surface area of the vagina, allowing it to stretch and extend more easily. By lubricating the vaginal opening and cervix, the Bartholin's glands provide lubrication. Moisture is also produced by the skin of the vaginal wall, although there are no glands present. Mucus glands on the cervix produce a variety of mucus before and during ovulation, which creates an alkaline environment in the vaginal canal that helps sperm survive. Hymens are membranes that surround or partially cover the external vaginal opening. When vaginal penetration occurs, the tissue is ruptured or not. Childbirth, pelvic exams, sports injuries, or even childbirth can rupture it. If there is no hymen, this does not necessarily indicate previous sexual activity. In addition, its appearance does not necessarily indicate that there has been no prior sexual activity.

Vulva

Vulval organs are located immediately outside the genital orifice in the female reproductive tract. The vulva is comprised of the female mammal's external genital organs. It develops throughout several phases, in particular during the pubertal and foetal periods. Defending its opening, the vulva features two labia: labia majora and labia minora (large and small lips). In addition to containing the opening of the female urethra, the vulva serves a vital function by facilitating urine passage. Humans have the following major structures in their vulva:
  • Labia majora and labia minora
  • Mons pubis
  • Pudendal cleft
  • The vulval vestibule
  • The external portion of the clitoris and the clitoral hood
  • The hymen
  • The opening of the vagina (the introitus)
  • The opening of the urethra (the urinary meatus)
  • The frenulum labiorum pudendi or fourchette
The other structures are
  • The vaginal glands
  • The perineum
  • The sebaceous glands on labia major

The perineum

It consists of the perineal body and surrounding structures, situated between the genitals and the anus. Perineums are located between the pubic symphysis and the coccyx in both men and women. Boundaries are usually classified by genitals and anus, but there are many classifications. Females and males can associate erogenous zones with this area. As a term, the term perineum refers to both superficial and deep structures in the perineum. When the perineum is massaged beforehand, the risk of perineal tears and episiotomies reduces significantly during first-time deliveries.

An outlet for the pelvis is the perineum. This includes:
  • An arch of the pubis and an arcuate ligament at the pubis
  • Coccyx tip
  • The inferior rami and ischial tuberosity of the pubis, and the Sacro tuberous ligament
By the pelvic diaphragm, the perineum is divided into two distinct areas. It consists of:
  • Anal canal
  • A branch of the internal pudendal artery and a branch of the internal pudendal nerve run throughout the canal.
  • A fat-filled space located at either side of the anal canal and bordered by the obturator internus muscle laterally and the pelvic diaphragm medially.
  • Perineal pouches are deep and superficial.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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