We are like this: the female genital system

Female reproductive system

We often talk about many problems relating to women, their intimacy, but sometimes the knowledge of the basic anatomy offemale genital system, that is, how we are made and how we work. In this article I would like to talk about precisely this: how we are made.

Female reproductive system, diagram

I would start with a simple scheme to understand from the outside to the inside which are the organs of the female reproductive system:

  • Vulva
  • Vagina
  • Uterus
  • Tube of Falloppio or salpingi
  • Ovaries

This is the female genital or reproductive system, at first glance it may seem very simple but each of these elements has its own characteristics and functions. Let's now find out what exactly we mean by external genital system e internal genital system and what are the functions of the various elements that constitute them.

External female reproductive system

Only the external genital system is part of the vulva, because, precisely, it is external to the body.

  • At the top of the vulva, where the labia majora meet, we find a small fleshy triangle which is the clitoris. The clitoris is internally formed of erectile tissue (presumably a remnant of sexual differentiation that occurred during the early stages of pregnancy). It is the part that if stimulated produces excitement and pleasure during the sexual act. Thanks to this stimulation, the glands present on the sides of the vulva and in particular near the vaginal inlet, the Bartolini and Skene glands, which secrete lubricating liquid, are activated.
  • The labia minora instead they cover and "protect" the vaginal intake, in proximity to their position are the two glands I mentioned earlier, with the aim of facilitating the entry of the penis into the vaginal cavity. It seems that as for the "older sisters" their main function is to protect against external agents.

Internal female reproductive system

All the other organs present in the diagram we have done before are part of the internal female genital system, because obviously internal to the body.

  • The vagina is a virtual muscular channel, in the sense that if there is no penis, the two walls are attached to each other. This ensures a kind of protection of higher organs (uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries) against external agents that are able to penetrate. Furthermore, its secretions and low PH counteract and often eliminate the bacteria and fungi that can cause infections. Basically the purpose of the vaginal canal is to receive the penis and seminal fluid and direct it towards the cervix. At the end of the canal there is in fact a small pocket, a sort of ampoule in which the cervix is ​​said to "fish". The seminal fluid is concentrated in this pocket and from there the spermatozoa can go back to the ovary to fertilize the egg.
Also read: Urinary tract infections in pregnancy
  • The uterus on the other hand, it is that organ in the shape of an inverted pear that takes care of hosting the fertilized egg and the growing child. If the pregnancy is not in progress, each month is its innermost part, the endometrial surface that detaches and causes menstruation. The uterus is also a virtual cavity, in the sense that if the pregnancy is not hosted the walls are very close to each other, almost in contact, but unlike the vagina it is sterile, i.e. it does not contain bacterial flora.
  • In the terminal part of the uterus there is the so-called neck, this part has the function of an additional "filter" for the spermatozoa, and its secretions in the ovulatory phase create a sort of channels through which the spermatozoa can pass. There are two tubas or salpingi, each "attached" to the uterus on one side and very close to the ovary on the other. Their fundamental purpose is to direct the eventually fertilized egg towards the uterus where it will then grow.
  • Their main characteristic is that of having, in the part facing the ovary, a series of "fringes", the fimbria, which capture the egg released from the ovary and direct it to the uterus. Usually it is in the terminal part of the tube, near the ovary, that the fertilization of the ovum by the spermatozoon takes place.
  • Le ovaries instead they are the secretory organs of the female genital apparatus, the so-called gonads. They are the site where the follicles present from birth develop one by one once a month, generating the egg that can be fertilized by spermatozoa. They are secretory organs because stimulated by hormones coming from the pituitary they produce estrogen and progesterone, regulating the menstrual cycle of every woman.

Female reproductive system, problems

However, even this system may not always work well and give rise to very common problems among women, let's see the main ones.

  • As regards the ovaries, the most common pathological condition is certainly the presence of the polycystic ovary (or micropolicistic or ovarian polycystosis). It happens that the follicles mature but either do not generate the egg, or even if they have generated and released it, they are not destroyed as it normally happens. Therefore, real cysts are formed that can cause irregular and particularly painful cycles, as well as difficulties in conceiving that must be treated with a specialist gynecologist. In fact, the administration of the contraceptive pill does not always lead to resolution, each situation must be studied both from an ultrasound and from a hormonal point of view, so it is important to contact specialists.
  • The uterus may be subject to the formations of miomi (or fibroids), are aggregates of material of different origin (sometimes even residues of material similar to that of the teeth have been found) that grow in different areas. Often the cause of the formation of these aggregates is not known, certainly the familiarity and genetics matter but there may also be other reasons. As with polycystic ovaries it is necessary that these masses are monitored with a referral gynecologist to understand if it is necessary to remove them surgically or if waiting may be the best way.
  • Finally the vaginal canal and vulva. These two organs are the most prone to bacterial and fungal infections and irritation due to chemical or physical agents. Vulvo-vaginal problems are often interrelated in the sense that an external infection / inflammation can also involve the vaginal canal and vice versa. Usually the inflammations due to chemical agents (such as too aggressive detergents) are manifested by swelling of the vulva, even very very pronounced, and redness. The same thing applies to irritation due to rubbing with synthetic clothing or the constant presence of the panty liner. For this reason it is advisable, at least when possible, to let the vulvar area transpire without underpants for some time. Besides the inflammations we must consider the infections by pathogens that can be recognized because they give symptoms such as itching, burning, redness and often vaginal discharge different from the usual ones (different color, different quantity, and even different smell). In some cases, the vulvar swelling often due to the fact that the itching leads to scratching the part and swelling it accordingly. In this case it is necessary to perform a vaginal swab to understand which bacterium is responsible and then carry out the treatment to eradicate it. However, we need to distinguish swelling from sexual intercourse from swelling caused by inflammation and infection. In fact, vulvar swelling can occur even after sexual intercourse. The reason is that the mechanical act of penetration draws blood and fluids to that area from the whole body and this causes an absolutely physiological swelling that tends to disappear within a couple of hours after intercourse.
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