Receives the male spermatazoa during Protects and nourishes the fertilized egg until it is fully developed Delivers fetus through birth canal Provides nourishment to the baby through milk secreted by mammary glands in the breast External Genitals Vulva The external female genitalia is referred to as vulva.
It consists of the labia majora and labia minora while these names translate as "large" and "small" lips, often the "minora" can protrude outside the "majora" , mons pubis, clitoris, opening of the urethra meatus , vaginal vestibule, vestibular bulbs, vestibular glands.
The term "vagina" is often improperly used as a generic term to refer to the vulva or female genitals, even though - strictly speaking - the vagina is a specific internal structure and the vulva is the exterior genitalia only.
Calling the vulva the vagina is akin to calling the mouth the throat. Mons Veneris The mons veneris, Latin for "mound of Venus" Roman Goddess of love is the soft mound at the front of the vulva fatty tissue covering the pubic bone. It is also referred to as the mons pubis. The mons veneris protects the pubic bone and vulva from the impact of sexual intercourse. After puberty, it is covered with pubic hair, usually in a triangular shape.
Heredity can play a role in the amount of pubic hair an individual grows. Labia Majora The labia majora are the outer "lips" of the vulva. They are pads of loose connective and adipose tissue, as well as some smooth muscle. The labia majora wrap around the vulva from the mons pubis to the perineum. The labia majora generally hides, partially or entirely, the other parts of the vulva. There is also a longitudinal separation called the pudendal cleft. These labia are usually covered with pubic hair.
The color of the outside skin of the labia majora is usually close to the overall color of the individual, although there may be some variation.
The inside skin is usually pink to light brown. They contain numerous sweat and oil glands. It has been suggested that the scent from these oils are sexually arousing. Labia Minora Medial to the labia majora are the labia minora. The labia minora are the inner lips of the vulva. They are thin stretches of tissue within the labia majora that fold and protect the vagina, urethra, and clitoris. The appearance of labia minora can vary widely, from tiny lips that hide between the labia majora to large lips that protrude.
There is no pubic hair on the labia minora, but there are sebaceous glands. The two smaller lips of the labia minora come together longitudinally to form the prepuce, a fold that covers part of the clitoris.
The labia minora protect the vaginal and urethral openings. Both the inner and outer labia are quite sensitive to touch and pressure. Clitoris The clitoris, visible as the small white oval between the top of the labia minora and the clitoral hood, is a small body of spongy tissue that functions solely for sexual pleasure.
Only the tip or glans of the clitoris shows externally, but the organ itself is elongated and branched into two forks, the crura, which extend downward along the rim of the vaginal opening toward the perineum.
Thus the clitoris is much larger than most people think it is, about 4" long on average. The clitoral glans or external tip of the clitoris is protected by the prepuce, or clitoral hood, a covering of tissue similar to the foreskin of the male penis. However, unlike the penis, the clitoris does not contain any part of the urethra. During sexual excitement, the clitoris erects and extends, the hood retracts, making the clitoral glans more accessible.
The size of the clitoris is variable between women. On some, the clitoral glans is very small; on others, it is large and the hood does not completely cover it. Urethra The opening to the urethra is just below the clitoris. Although it is not related to sex or reproduction, it is included in the vulva.
The urethra is actually used for the passage of urine. The urethra is connected to the bladder. In females the urethra is 1. Because the urethra is so close to the anus, women should always wipe themselves from front to back to avoid infecting the vagina and urethra with bacteria. This location issue is the reason for bladder infections being more common among females. Hymen The hymen is a thin fold of mucous membrane that separates the lumen of the vagina from the urethral sinus.
Sometimes it may partially cover the vaginal orifice. The hymen is usually perforated during later fetal development. Because of the belief that first vaginal penetration would usually tear this membrane and cause bleeding, its "intactness" has been considered a guarantor of virginity. However, the hymen is a poor indicator of whether a woman has actually engaged in sexual intercourse because a normal hymen does not completely block the vaginal opening.
The normal hymen is never actually "intact" since there is always an opening in it. Furthermore, there is not always bleeding at first vaginal penetration. The blood that is sometimes, but not always, observed after first penetration can be due to tearing of the hymen, but it can also be from injury to nearby tissues.
A tear to the hymen, medically referred to as a "transection," can be seen in a small percentage of women or girls after first penetration. A transection is caused by penetrating trauma. Masturbation and tampon insertion can, but generally are not forceful enough to cause penetrating trauma to the hymen. Therefore, the appearance of the hymen is not a reliable indicator of virginity or chastity. Perineum The perineum is the short stretch of skin starting at the bottom of the vulva and extending to the anus.
It is a diamond shaped area between the symphysis pubis and the coccyx. This area forms the floor of the pelvis and contains the external sex organs and the anal opening. It can be further divided into the urogenital triangle in front and the anal triangle in back.
The perineum in some women may tear during the birth of an infant and this is apparently natural. Some physicians however, may cut the perineum preemptively on the grounds that the "tearing" may be more harmful than a precise cut by a scalpel. If a physician decides the cut is necessary, they will perform it. The cut is called an episiotomy. Internal Genitals Vagina The vagina is a muscular, hollow tube that extends from the vaginal opening to the cervix of the uterus.
It is situated between the urinary bladder and the rectum. It is about three to five inches long in a grown woman. The muscular wall allows the vagina to expand and contract. The muscular walls are lined with mucous membranes, which keep it protected and moist. A thin sheet of tissue with one or more holes in it, called the hymen, partially covers the opening of the vagina. The vagina receives sperm during sexual intercourse from the penis. The sperm that survive the acidic condition of the vagina continue on through to the fallopian tubes where fertilization may occur.
The vagina is made up of three layers, an inner mucosal layer, a middle muscularis layer, and an outer fibrous layer. The inner layer is made of vaginal rugae that stretch and allow penetration to occur.
These also help with stimulation of the penis. The outer muscular layer is especially important with delivery of a fetus and placenta.
Purposes of the Vagina Receives a male's erect penis and semen during sexual intercourse. Pathway through a woman's body for the baby to take during childbirth. Provides the route for the menstrual blood menses from the uterus, to leave the body. May hold forms of birth control, such as a diaphragm, FemCap, Nuva Ring, or female condom.
Pelvic inflammatory disease PID is a widespread infection that originates in the vagina and uterus and spreads to the uterine tubes, ovaries, and ultimately the pelvic peritoneum. Signs and symptoms include tenderness of the lower abdomen, fever, and a vaginal discharge.
Even a single episode of PID can cause infertility, due to scarring that blocks the uterine tubes. Therefore, patients are immediately given broad-spectrum antibiotics whenever PID is suspected.
Cervix The cervix from Latin "neck" is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. Where they join together forms an almost 90 degree curve.
It is cylindrical or conical in shape and protrudes through the upper anterior vaginal wall. Approximately half its length is visible with appropriate medical equipment; the remainder lies above the vagina beyond view. It is occasionally called "cervix uteri", or "neck of the uterus".
During menstruation, the cervix stretches open slightly to allow the endometrium to be shed. This stretching is believed to be part of the cramping pain that many women experience. Evidence for this is given by the fact that some women's cramps subside or disappear after their first vaginal birth because the cervical opening has widened.
The portion projecting into the vagina is referred to as the portio vaginalis or ectocervix. On average, the ectocervix is three cm long and two and a half cm wide. It has a convex, elliptical surface and is divided into anterior and posterior lips.
The ectocervix's opening is called the external os. The size and shape of the external os and the ectocervix varies widely with age, hormonal state, and whether the woman has had a vaginal birth. In women who have not had a vaginal birth the external os appears as a small, circular opening. In women who have had a vaginal birth, the ectocervix appears bulkier and the external os appears wider, more slit-like and gaping. The passageway between the external os and the uterine cavity is referred to as the endocervical canal.
It varies widely in length and width, along with the cervix overall.