Clitoris - Small knob of tissue in front of the vaginal opening. A rich supply of nerve endings and
blood vessels. Only part of the female sexual anatomy with no known reproductive function. Has an
important function in producing sexual arousal. Exposed portion is the glans.
Mons Pubis - Rounded fatty pad of tissue, covered with pubic hair. Located on anterior side of the
female body. The mons pubis is directly on top of the pubic bones, top of pubic symphysis. Provides
protection to some degree for the pubic symphysis.
Labia majora - The outer fold of tissue on either side of the vaginal opening.
Labia minora - The inner fold of skin on either side of the vaginal opening. These inner folds extend
forward forming a hood like covering over the clitoris. They serve as a line of protection against germs
entering the body and also serve a function in sexual arousal. Both the majora and minora are rich in
nerve endings and blood vessels.
Vaginal opening - Becomes visible when the labias are parted. Just inside the vaginal opening may be a
thin membrane called the hymen.
Hymen - This membrane stretches across the opening of the vagina. It has no known function and is
not present in all females. The hymen usually has several openings in it, thus allowing for the passage
of the menstrual flow. Misconceptions have developed throughout history: an intact hymen was the
sign of a virgin, with first intercourse and the tearing of the hymen, a female experienced pain and
bleeding. Neither of these things is true. Some females are born without a hymen. Others may tear the
hymen through a variety of physical activities - often without even knowing it. Some hymen tissue is very
flexible and may stay intact during intercourse. Because there are usually openings in the hymen, sperm
released at the vaginal opening can swim into the vagina and up to an egg cell, resulting in fertilization
and pregnancy. Thus, a female could become pregnant and still have an intact hymen.
Sterility – Usually takes a number of forms. Once cause of female sterility is the blocking of the Fallopian
tubes. The egg cell cannot pass into the uterus. Another cause is the female's failure to ovulate.
Endometriosis, a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (or tissue similar to the tissue) – the
endometrium – is present abnormally in the abdominal cavity. Surgery can usually correct this condition.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – Refers to a variety of symptoms that some females experience
before their menstrual periods. Usually experienced two weeks before the menstrual period or several
days before it. Many females never experience PMS. Symptoms may include nervous tension, anxiety,
irritability, bloating, weight gain, depression, mood swings, and fatigue. More common in women in their
30s. PMS is related to a hormonal imbalance. Others attribute the cause to a nutritional deficiency. Most
doctors recommend a diet and life-style changes as the first treatment of PMS. Encourage women to
find ways to reduce stress. PMS sufferers need to evaluate their diets, reducing the intake of sugar,
salt, caffeine, nicotine, and alcoholic beverages. They should also increase their intake of B vitamins,
magnesium, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. Finally a regular exercise program should be
Dysmenorrhea (dis-men-or-e-uh) – Painful contraction in the uterus during menstruation. Relief can
usually be had by a warm bath or by doing certain exercises as outlined by a physician.
Vaginitis - Very common condition in females.
Topics Related to Female Reproduction
Human female reproductive system, Mammal female reproductive system, Fertility, Midwifery, RTT, Vagina, Sexual intercourse, Sexually transmitted infection, Vulva, HIVAIDS, Cervix, Reproductive system
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