The female reproductive system is the system in a woman's body with the purpose of making babies. The female reproductive system includes both external genital organs External Female Genital Organs The external genital organs include the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, Bartholin glands, and clitoris. The area containing these organs is called the vulva. The external genital organs... read more (outside the body) and internal genital organs Internal Female Genital Organs The internal genital organs form a pathway (the genital tract). This pathway consists of the following: Vagina (part of the birth canal), where sperm are deposited and from which a baby can... read more (inside the body).
The external genital organs include:
Not all of your external genitals are your "vagina." The vagina is really just the birth canal.
The internal genital organs include:
Vagina: Birth canal
Uterus (womb): The internal organ where a fetus grows and develops before birth
Cervix: The thick, round end of the uterus, which has an opening for menstrual blood to flow out and for a baby to be delivered
Ovaries: A pair of organs that make eggs and female hormones such as estrogen
Fallopian tubes: The tubes through which eggs pass from the ovaries to the uterus
Breasts are sometimes considered part of the female reproductive system.
The main activities of the female reproductive system include:
A newborn girl's ovaries already have all the eggs she will ever have. But these eggs can't become babies until the girl's reproductive system goes through a series of changes called puberty Puberty in Girls Puberty is the period of growth and development in which children and adolescents develop adult physical features, such as breasts or pubic hair, and become able to reproduce (have and create... read more . During puberty:
In the monthly menstrual cycle Menstrual Cycle A menstrual cycle is the process a woman's reproductive system goes through each month to release an egg from the ovaries and make a pregnancy possible. A menstrual period (menstruation) is... read more :
An egg matures and is released (a process called ovulation)
The lining of the uterus swells up with blood vessels so it's ready to accept the egg if it gets fertilized by a man's sperm
A fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus and starts growing OR
The egg doesn't get fertilized, so it doesn't attach, and the lining of the uterus comes off and is released as menstrual blood
If a woman doesn't become pregnant, the menstrual cycle repeats about once a month. Women have a menstrual cycle until about middle age. Menopause Menopause Menopause is when women stop having periods (stop menstruating) and can no longer get pregnant. Menopause usually happens after age 40. In the United States, the average age for menopause is... read more is when the cycles stop.
Conception is when a man's sperm joins with (fertilizes) a woman's egg. Fertilization usually happens in one of the fallopian tubes.
The reproductive system is controlled by hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers made in certain parts of your body that travel through the blood to signal other parts of the body what to do.
Some hormones come from the pituitary gland in the brain. Reproductive hormones from the pituitary gland rise and fall each month and trigger the menstrual cycle. If you become pregnant, your reproductive organs produce other hormones that turn off your menstrual cycle and signal the uterus to grow and support the baby. After birth, another hormone signals your breasts to make milk to feed your baby.
The most common problems with the reproductive system involve hormones. A woman's reproductive system involves many hormones that work together in complicated ways. Many different problems can interfere with the hormones, which can result in:
Many diseases, such as infections and cancer, can affect the reproductive organs.