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The Female Reproductive System

Everything You Need to Know

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Updated September 18, 2009

The Female Reproductive System

Picture of the normal female anatomy

Photo © A.D.A.M.

The female reproductive system is a well-coordinated group of organs that exist for the sole purpose of preparing for and maintaining a normal pregnancy.

Under usual circumstances for women in the child-bearing years, the body goes through a series of monthly hormonal changes that cause an egg follicle to develop in the ovary, and the uterine lining to prepare for a potential pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining and egg are removed through menses, or a woman’s period. If pregnancy does occur, the reproductive system is responsible for maintaining the pregnancy throughout the 9 months.

Here are the major organs that make up the internal anatomy of the female reproductive system.

  • Vagina – elastic, muscular tube that connects the outside of the body to the cervix

  • Cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects the vagina to the uterus

  • Uterus – a small, pear-shaped organ that maintains the necessary environment for a pregnancy to occur

  • Fallopian tubes – relays the egg from the ovary to the uterus after ovulation

  • Ovaries – where an egg matures each month; also responsible for responding to and producing key hormones

Here are the structures that make up the external anatomy of the female reproductive system.

Hormones play a major role in the regulation of the menstrual cycle and in the maintenance and growth/development of a pregnancy. The following are the hormones which play the largest role in female health and sexuality.

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