Female Reproductive System

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The female reproductive system consists of ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes as internal sex organs and vulva, vagina, and breasts as external sex organs along with the hormones that control female sexuality and reproduction.


Female reproductive anatomy and physiology terms

(of the breast) milk-secreting cells in the mammary gland

(of the uterine tube) middle portion of the uterine tube in which fertilization often occurs

fluid-filled chamber that characterizes a mature tertiary (antral) follicle

highly pigmented, circular area surrounding the raised nipple and containing areolar glands that secrete fluid important for lubrication during suckling

(also, greater vestibular glands) glands that produce a thick mucus that maintains moisture in the vulva area; also referred to as the greater vestibular glands

tight junctions between Sertoli cells that prevent bloodborne pathogens from gaining access to later stages of spermatogenesis and prevent the potential for an autoimmune reaction to haploid sperm

middle section of the uterus

wide ligament that supports the uterus by attaching laterally to both sides of the uterus and pelvic wall

(also, Cowper’s glands) glands that secrete a lubricating mucus that cleans and lubricates the urethra prior to and during ejaculation

elongate inferior end of the uterus where it connects to the vagina

(also, glans clitoris) nerve-rich area of the vulva that contributes to sexual sensation during intercourse

nonfunctional structure remaining in the ovarian stroma following structural and functional regression of the corpus luteum

either of two columns of erectile tissue in the penis that fill with blood during an erection

transformed follicle after ovulation that secretes progesterone

(plural = corpora cavernosa) column of erectile tissue in the penis that fills with blood during an erection and surrounds the penile urethra on the ventral portion of the penis

(also, vas deferens) duct that transports sperm from the epididymis through the spermatic cord and into the ejaculatory duct; also referred as the vas deferens

duct that connects the ampulla of the ductus deferens with the duct of the seminal vesicle at the prostatic urethra

inner lining of the uterus, part of which builds up during the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle and then sheds with menses

(plural = epididymides) coiled tubular structure in which sperm start to mature and are stored until ejaculation

fingerlike projections on the distal uterine tubes

ovarian structure of one oocyte and surrounding granulosa (and later theca) cells

development of ovarian follicles from primordial to tertiary under the stimulation of gonadotropins

(of the uterus) domed portion of the uterus that is superior to the uterine tubes

haploid reproductive cell that contributes genetic material to form an offspring

bulbous end of the penis that contains a large number of nerve endings

hormone released by the hypothalamus that regulates the production of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland

reproductive organs (testes in men and ovaries in women) that produce gametes and reproductive hormones

supportive cells in the ovarian follicle that produce estrogen

membrane that covers part of the opening of the vagina

(of the uterine tube) wide, distal portion of the uterine tube terminating in fimbriae

opening in abdominal wall that connects the testes to the abdominal cavity

narrow, medial portion of the uterine tube that joins the uterus

hair-covered folds of skin located behind the mons pubis

thin, pigmented, hairless flaps of skin located medial and deep to the labia majora

ducts that connect the mammary glands to the nipple and allow for the transport of milk

area of milk collection between alveoli and lactiferous duct

cells between the seminiferous tubules of the testes that produce testosterone; a type of interstitial cell

glands inside the breast that secrete milk

first menstruation in a pubertal female

shedding of the inner portion of the endometrium out though the vagina; also referred to as menstruation

phase of the menstrual cycle in which the endometrial lining is shed

approximately 28-day cycle of changes in the uterus consisting of a menses phase, a proliferative phase, and a secretory phase

mound of fatty tissue located at the front of the vulva

duct system present in the embryo that will eventually form the internal female reproductive structures

smooth muscle layer of uterus that allows for uterine contractions during labor and expulsion of menstrual blood

cell that results from the division of the oogonium and undergoes meiosis I at the LH surge and meiosis II at fertilization to become a haploid ovum

process by which oogonia divide by mitosis to primary oocytes, which undergo meiosis to produce the secondary oocyte and, upon fertilization, the ovum

ovarian stem cells that undergo mitosis during female fetal development to form primary oocytes

approximately 28-day cycle of changes in the ovary consisting of a follicular phase and a luteal phase

female gonads that produce oocytes and sex steroid hormones (notably estrogen and progesterone)

release of a secondary oocyte and associated granulosa cells from an ovary

haploid female gamete resulting from completion of meiosis II at fertilization

male organ of copulation

outer epithelial layer of uterine wall

smaller cell produced during the process of meiosis in oogenesis

(also, foreskin) flap of skin that forms a collar around, and thus protects and lubricates, the glans penis; also referred as the foreskin

ovarian follicles with a primary oocyte and one layer of cuboidal granulosa cells

least developed ovarian follicles that consist of a single oocyte and a single layer of flat (squamous) granulosa cells

phase of the menstrual cycle in which the endometrium proliferates

doughnut-shaped gland at the base of the bladder surrounding the urethra and contributing fluid to semen during ejaculation

life stage during which a male or female adolescent becomes anatomically and physiologically capable of reproduction

(of the vagina) folds of skin in the vagina that allow it to stretch during intercourse and childbirth

external pouch of skin and muscle that houses the testes

ovarian follicles with a primary oocyte and multiple layers of granulosa cells

physical characteristics that are influenced by sex steroid hormones and have supporting roles in reproductive function

phase of the menstrual cycle in which the endometrium secretes a nutrient-rich fluid in preparation for implantation of an embryo

ejaculatory fluid composed of sperm and secretions from the seminal vesicles, prostate, and bulbourethral glands

gland that produces seminal fluid, which contributes to semen

tube structures within the testes where spermatogenesis occurs

cells that support germ cells through the process of spermatogenesis; a type of sustentacular cell

(also, spermatozoon) male gamete

bundle of nerves and blood vessels that supplies the testes; contains ductus deferens

immature sperm cells produced by meiosis II of secondary spermatocytes

cell that results from the division of spermatogonium and undergoes meiosis I and meiosis II to form spermatids

formation of new sperm, occurs in the seminiferous tubules of the testes

(singular = spermatogonium) diploid precursor cells that become sperm

transformation of spermatids to spermatozoa during spermatogenesis

bands of connective tissue that suspend the breast onto the chest wall by attachment to the overlying dermis

(also, antral follicles) ovarian follicles with a primary or secondary oocyte, multiple layers of granulosa cells, and a fully formed antrum

(singular = testis) male gonads

estrogen-producing cells in a maturing ovarian follicle

(also, fallopian tubes or oviducts) ducts that facilitate transport of an ovulated oocyte to the uterus

muscular hollow organ in which a fertilized egg develops into a fetus

tunnel-like organ that provides access to the uterus for the insertion of semen and from the uterus for the birth of a baby

external female genitalia

duct system present in the embryo that will eventually form the internal male reproductive structures

Also see Female Reproductive System Topics, and male reproductive system.

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