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Female Reproductive System: Functions, Parts, Arteries, Lymph Nodes, Pelvic Viscera

Aug 23, 2023


The female reproductive system is one of the most important components of the human reproductive process. The primary reproductive organs in women are the vagina, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Although a male is necessary for reproduction, a woman carries the growing fetus and gives birth to the child.

Females have a significant number of potential eggs (sometimes referred to as egg cells or female sex cells) from birth. However, until after the start of puberty, often around age 12, these cells are not adequately developed to support life. One of the regularly growing cells is expelled each month until a woman approaches menopause. 

Female Genitalia includes:

  • Uterus
  • Uterine tube
  • Ovary 
  • Vagina
  • The ligaments and supports of the pelvic viscera, arterial supply, and lymphatic drainage. 

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Functions Of The Female Reproductive System

There are various functions that are performed by the female reproductive system. It facilitates sexual activity and helps in reproduction.

Eggs are made by your ovaries. When you ovulate, these eggs are then moved to your fallopian tube where sperm may fertilize them. The fertilized egg then travels to your uterus, where the uterine lining has expanded in response to the regular hormones of your menstrual cycle (also known as your reproductive cycle), which is when you get your period.

 The fertilized egg can grow further inside your uterus by implanting it into the thicker uterine lining. The uterine lining is shed throughout your menstrual period if implantation does not occur. Additionally, sex hormones produced by the female reproductive system keep your menstrual cycle regular.

In the course of menopause, the female reproductive system eventually ceases producing the female hormones required for the menstrual cycle to function. Menstrual cycles may then start to fluctuate and may end altogether at this time. When a woman has gone a full year without having a menstrual period, she is said to be menopausal.

Also Read: Joints: Functions, Composition, Types, Conditions, Symptoms and Prevention

What Are The Parts Of the Female Reproductive System?

Both external and internal parts make up the female reproductive anatomy.

External parts

Your external genitals serve two purposes: to keep the internal organs healthy and to let sperm enter your vagina.

All of your exterior genitals are collectively referred to as your vulva. Many individuals incorrectly refer to all female reproductive organs as "vagina." Your vagina, on the other hand, is a separate internal body structure.

Your vulva, or external genitalia, consists primarily of the following parts:

  • Labia Majora: Your labia majora, or "large lips," contain and safeguard the other external reproductive organs. On the surface of the labia majora, which also houses sweat and oil-secreting glands, hair development happens during puberty.
  • Labia minora: Your labia minora (also known as "small lips") can have different sizes and forms. They are located just within your labia majora and cover the openings to your urethra and vagina, which are the tubes that carry urine from your bladder to the outside of your body and connect the lower part of your uterus to the outside of your body, respectively. This skin is extremely sensitive and prone to swelling and irritation.
  • Clitoris: Your clitoris is where your two labia minora connect. It is a little, sensitive protrusion that resembles a penis in men or persons who were assigned male at birth (AMAB). Your clitoris is protected by a fold of skin called the prepuce and is extremely sensitive to stimulation.
  • Vaginal Opening Your vaginal opening permits menstrual blood and newborns to leave your body. Your vaginal hole can allow tampons, fingers, sex toys, or penises to enter your vagina.
  • Hymen: A piece of tissue known as a hymen surrounds or covers a portion of the vaginal opening. It is created during development and is present at birth.
  • Opening to your urethra: You urinate through a hole in your urethra.

Internal components

  • Vagina: The cervix, or bottom portion of the uterus, is connected to the outside of your body by the muscular canal known as your vagina. It can expand to accommodate a baby during delivery and then contract again to hold something little, like a tampon. Mucous membranes that coat the inside of it help keep it moist.
  • Cervix: Your cervix is the base of your uterus. Sperm can enter through a hole in the centre, while menstrual blood can exit through another hole. In a vaginal birth, your cervix opens (dilates) to let the baby come out. Tampons and other items can't get lost within your body because of your cervix.
  • Uterus: Your uterus is a pear-shaped, hollow organ that houses a fetus during pregnancy. The cervix and corpus are the two distinct components of your uterus. The larger portion of your uterus that grows during pregnancy is called your corpus.
  • Ovaries: Your ovaries are two tiny, oval-shaped glands that are situated on either side of your uterus. Both hormones and eggs are produced by your ovaries.
  • Fallopian tubes: These are tiny tubes that connect to the top of your uterus and are used to transport ovum (egg) from your ovaries to your uterus. In the fallopian tubes, an egg is typically fertilized by a sperm. Once inside your uterus, the fertilized egg inserts itself into the uterine lining.

The Female Genitalia

 Female Genitalia
 Female Genitalia broad ligament

Uterus is seen from the posterior view because ovaries are seen from the posterior view. The cervix is circular in nullipara. In the case of multipara, the cervix will become a transverse slit (Babies are already passed through the cervix or vagina). 

The double fold of the peritoneum will cover the uterus and forms broad ligaments which support the uterus. The peritoneal folds support the uterus poorly. Round ligaments also support the uterus poorly. There are three accident supports for the uterus (good support) are:

  • Pelvic diaphragm
  • Urogenital diaphragm 
  • Perineal body

Section of Female Genitalia

Section of Female Genitalia

Mesenteries stabilize the female reproductive system which includes:

  • Mesosalpinx
  • Mesovarium
  • Broad ligament

Meso means a mesentery a double fold of peritoneum to suspend some organs. The ovary is present on the posterior side and it is covered by the peritoneum, Suspended posteriorly from the broad ligament.

The broad ligament is present in the inferiorly. Mesentery carries the neurovascular bundles. Mesosalpinx helps to suspend the uterine tube superiorly.

Relation of Arteries with the Urethra

Relation of Arteries with the Urethra

Sometime, Ureter can be compromised. The abdominal aorta gives the ovarian arteries to the ovaries. Ovarian artery anastomosis with the uterine artery to supply the uterus and uterine tube. The uterine artery came from the anterior division of the internal iliac artery. The uterine artery supplies the part of the vagina and ovaries. 

While operating ureter may be damaged. Ureter comes from the renal pelvis kidney. The water under the bridge, in this water, is urine and the bridge is formed by the uterine artery. Ureter works under the uterine artery posteriorly. While removing the uterus, need to litigate the uterine artery. Don’t ligate the ureter or damage the ureter inside. Ureter can be observed by the fact that it has some peristaltic movement.

Uterine Tube

Uterine Tube

It is 14cm long within the uterus it is called the myometrium. The intramural part is shorter with 1cm. Isthmus is 3 cm and further it is ampulla with 5 cm, and it becomes the 1 cm infundibulum. The fimbriated end is present at the infundibulum region.

 Fertilization occurs in the ampulla of the fallopian tube. In which sperm fuse with the secondary oocyte. It begins with one cm and ends with another 1 cm. The anatomical sphincter is an isthmus, OR the intramural part.

 The isthmus act as an anatomical sphincter for not allowing conceptus to pass towards the uterine cavity. It is also done by the intramural part. Preferred- Isthmus >> Intramural part.

Uterine Tube Along with The Abdominal Aorta

Uterine Tube Along with The Abdominal Aorta

Abdominal aorta bifurcates into the common iliac artery which itself bifurcates into

  • Internal iliac artery 
  • External iliac artery

Internal iliac artery gives the anterior division gives the uterine artery. It also gives the vaginal artery to the vagina. The uterine artery follows upward and supplies the uterine tube and anastomose to the ovarian artery. 

The ovarian artery will send the blood to the territory of the uterine tube and the territory of the uterus.

Uterine Artery

Uterine Artery

Uterine artery is present on the left and right sides which gives some radial arteries around the uterine region First the uterine tube will give you the arcuate artery and this arcuate artery further forms the radial artery. 

The radial artery will further give the basal artery. This basal artery remains at the basal endometrium, and it will not be sloughed during the menstrual cycle and remain stuck to the endometrium. This basal artery will form a lot of vascular layers which are known as the stratum vasculare.

 The spiral arteries are sloughed with the endometrium is deeper. It is the innermost region of the endometrium that sloughs off during the menstrual cycle. These spiral arteries are spiral-shaped to stop the bleeding. 

Lymphatic Drainage of the Uterus

It includes:

  • Upper uterus: It includes two parts.
  • Fundus of the uterus: Highest point
  • Isthmus: Round ligament of the uterus carries the lymphatics towards the superficial inguinal lymph nodes (Labia majora)
  • Mid uterus
  • Lower uterus (Cervix)- Cervix drains everywhere except the inguinal lymph nodes may be a superficial or deep inguinal lymph node.

Explanation of Lymph Nodes

Explanation of Lymph Nodes
  • Fundus of the uterus drains into the pre and para-aortic lymph nodes.
  • Isthmus: Round ligament of the uterus carries the lymphatics towards the superficial inguinal lymph nodes (Labia majora)
  • Mid uterus drain into the external iliac lymph node
  • External iliac lymph node
  • External iliac veins
  • External iliac arteries
  • Cervix drains everywhere that includes.
  • External iliac lymph nodes
  • Sacral lymph nodes
  • Obturator lymph nodes
  • Internal iliac lymph nodes
  • It doesn't drain into the inguinal lymph node either superficial or deep.

Supports of the Pelvic Viscera 

It includes:

  • Excellent support
  • Good support
  • Poor support

Supports of Pelvic Viscera


Excellent Support

  • Pelvic diaphragm (Made by the levator ani muscle, Ischiococcygeus)
  • Urogenital diaphragm (Made by the external urethral sphincter, deep transverse perineal muscle)
  • Perineal body: It is a common peroneal tendon receiving the insertion of all the perineal muscles except some lateral muscle.

Good Support

  • Pelvic fascia condensation 
  • It forms the hypogastric sheath is formed around the uterus and pelvic viscera to carry the neurovascular bundles.
  • Pelvic fascia includes.
  • Urinary bladder
  • Uterus 
  • Rectum
  • The ligaments that attach to the uterus and cervix
  • They attach anterior to the pubic region and posteriorly to the sacrum and laterally to the pelvic wall.
  • Names of the ligaments
  • Pubouterine ligament or pubocervical ligament anteriorly
  • Uterosacral or sacrocervical ligament posteriorly. 
  • Cardinal ligament, transverse cervical ligament of Mackenrodt is present laterally.

Poor Support

  • These are the peritoneal folds. 
  • It includes
  • Broad ligaments covering the uterus.
  • Round ligament of uterus

Pelvic Fascia

Pelvic Fascia

Pelvic fascia condensation called Sacrocervical ligament posteriorly or uterosacral ligaments. The pubocervical ligament will come anteriorly (Pubic bone and the cervix of the uterus). The round ligament of the uterus pulls the uterus anteriorly such that the uterus folds on itself (Angle of anteflexion or anteversion). This round ligament works along with the Sacrocervical ligament.

Angles of the Ligaments

Angles of the Ligaments

Angle of Anteversion 

Long axis of the vagina is making the angle with the long angle of the cervix.  The angle is 90 degrees. This is known as anteversion. Due to this round ligament, the uterus is pulled anteriorly. The sacrocervical ligament is pulling posteriorly.

The Angle of Anteflexion 

The body of the uterus is folded on the longitudinal axis of the cervix. Between them the angle of the Anteflexion is present it may be 120 or 170 degrees, But the preferred answer is 120 degrees. This is the normal position of the uterus to prevent the prolapse of the uterus. If it is retroverted then we are increasing the chances of the prolapse of the uterus. So vagina into the perineum ureterocele procidentia.

Transverse Section Pelvic Fascia Condensation

Transverse Section Pelvic Fascia Condensation 

It includes the transverse cervical ligament of Mackenrodt. The sacrocervical ligament is located posteriorly, or it is called the uterosacral ligament. The cervix of the uterus is located in the middle. To support this lateral or transverse muscles attach lateral to the pelvic wall In the uterine cervix, the pubocervical ligament is present.

Transverse Section of Pelvic Fascia Condensation

Transverse Section of Pelvic Fascia Condensation

Anteriorly pubis bone is present. Laterally bone is known as the ilium or ischium bone. Posteriorly, sacrum, coccyx bone. The cervix of the uterus is located in the middle. To support the uterus, lateral cervical ligaments move laterally to the pelvic wall. This lateral cervical ligament is also known as the transverse cervical ligament of Mackenrodt. The pubocervical ligament attaches to the cervix of the uterus for support. The sacrocervical ligament is also attached to the cervix of the uterus. Not only the uterus they are also supporting the urinary bladder anteriorly and the rectum posteriorly (supports the pelvic viscera).

Also read: Erb's Palsy: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

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