We explain what the female reproductive system is and its main functions. In addition, what are its parts and possible diseases.
What is the female reproductive system?
As the name implies, the female reproductive system is the set of organs, tissues and ducts present in human beings of the female gender (as well as other higher animals), which fulfill the various functions involved in sexual reproduction .
This implies from preparation for intercourse, fertilization of the egg, pregnancy (or its equivalents in other animals, such as laying eggs) and birth. It is also known as the female genital apparatus.
In the case of the human being , the female reproductive system is responsible for physically and biochemically promoting the encounter between the sperm ejaculated by the man inside the woman’s vagina, and the ovules generated by the woman. This union occurs in the uterus and, once fertilization of the cells occurs, a zygote is generated that after nine months of growth will become a new human individual.
The entire process of gestation of said new individual in the womb is known as pregnancy , and during the nine months it takes the woman’s body will be available hormonally, biochemically and physically to provide the fetus with the necessary nutrients for its proper development.
When it is ready to exist outside the womb, the muscles around the uterus will contract and the cervix will dilate, to expel it through the birth canal (the vagina).
The female genital system, thus, is indispensable for the reproduction of the species and is evolutionarily designed to activate at puberty, together with hormonal and sexual awakening, a stage that is part of adolescence .
Menstruation, thus, is a normal activity of uterine maintenance, which discards unfertilized eggs and renews the walls of the endometrium, so that the following month the chances of fertility are always as high as possible.
Female reproductive system function
As has been said, the function of the woman’s reproductive system could not be more indispensable for the species: to promote fertilization and to serve as a container for the new individual until the culmination of her pregnancy.
However, it should not be thought that this function is merely passive. The production of eggs begins with puberty, along with menstruation, despite the fact that women are born with the total amount of eggs formed that will be available during life.
On the other hand, the ovules do not simply wait to be fertilized, but they secrete molecules that attract sperm to them and, once the encounter occurs, facilitate the absorption of sperm content to obtain the zygote. It is a complex process that occurs in the connection between the fallopian tubes and the uterus where the baby will be born.
Parts of the female reproductive system
The genital apparatus of women is composed of two parts, each involving different sets of organs, glands and ducts.
External bodies . The female genitals are known as the vulva as a whole , and they are necessary to carry out intercourse (sexual intercourse with penetration of the penis into the vagina). This includes the clitoris, the labia majora and labia minora, the Mount of Venus and the holes in the urethra and vagina.
Internal organs . The largest portion of the female genital tract is inside the body, and encompasses various organs that deserve separate mention:
- The vagina . It is the conduit that allows the entrance of the penis into the female body, accompanied by the necessary lubrication and secretion, during intercourse. After the pregnancy, it widens and allows the newborn to leave.
- The uterus . The sac where fertilization occurs, the fetus is gestated and contains it until the day of delivery.
- Ovaries . Organs where the ovules are gestated and prepared to leave the uterus, once a month. They are usually two and are also responsible for hormonal production for the sexual development of women.
- The fallopian tubes . Ducts between 10 and 13 cm that connect the ovaries with the uterus, and in which fertilization can occur (but the fertilized zygote is rarely implanted in them).
Diseases of the female reproductive system
The reproductive system of women can suffer various ailments, such as:
- Cancer . Especially in the cervix, it has been associated with certain sexually transmitted diseases (such as HPV) as well as hereditary factors.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) . As with men, women can be affected by infectious diseases that are spread through intercourse, such as gonorrhea , syphilis, human papillomavirus or chlamydiae.
- Endometriosis . It is a disorder in which the tissue lining the uterus grows abnormally outside it.
- Infertility . Due to various causes, some congenital and others of a biochemical nature, such as too high a pH (which annihilates sperm) or too thick vaginal mucus (which prevents them from moving).