The female reproductive system is made up of many different parts. Each of these body parts plays their own important role in the functioning of your body. Together, all of these parts specialize in the production of female sex hormones and the reproductive cycle. Each individual’s genitals are shaped differently and are unique in their own way. For instance, not everyone’s vulva looks the same. Let’s take a look at the roles each body part plays.

external female anatomy
External female reproductive system

Outer Labia
The outer labia (sometimes called the “outer lips”) protects the external female genitals including the clitoris and the openings to the urethra and the vagina. During puberty, pubic hair grows on the outer labia.

Inner Labia
The inner labia (or “inner lips”) come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The inner labia surround the openings to the vagina and the urethra.

Clitoris
The clitoris is located where the inner labia meet towards the front of the body. The part you can see is the tip of the clitoris – the rest is covered by the clitoral hood and extends inside the body. The size and shape of the clitoris varies between all bodies, but it’s interesting to know that when you include both the internal and external parts of the clitoris, it’s about the same size of a penis. The clitoris is sensitive to touch and pressure. This is because there is a high concentration of nerve endings in the clitoris and the area surrounding it. The sole purpose of the clitoris is to provide sexual pleasure.

Hymen

The hymen is a thin piece of tissue that surrounds or partially covers the opening to the vagina. Typically, the hymen has an opening about the size of your finger. The opening allows menstrual blood to come out. You may have heard about the hymen “breaking” the first time a female has sex. That could happen, but it also may stretch as a part of growing during puberty or through masturbation. It’s impossible to tell if someone has had sex by looking at their hymen.

Vulva
The vulva is the correct name for the parts (genitals) you can see on the outside of the body. The openings to the vagina, the inner and outer labia and the clitoris make up the vulva. This whole area is often mistakenly called the vagina.

Urethra

The urethra is a tube connected to the bladder from which urine (pee) comes out.

Anus

The anus is the opening of the rectum where the body gets rid of solid waste (poop).

internal female reproductive anatomy
Internal reproductive organs

Vagina
The vagina is an organ shaped like a tube that goes from the outside of the body to the uterus. Menstrual blood exits the body through the vagina, and babies are delivered through the vagina (unless a woman has to have surgery to deliver her baby).

Uterus
There are two parts of the uterus: the cervix, which opens into the vagina, and the corpus, which is the main “body” of the uterus. The uterus sheds its lining of blood during menstruation or period. During pregnancy, a fetus grows inside the uterus.

Cervix

The cervix is located at the bottom of the uterus and has an opening through which menstrual blood flows into the vagina and out of the body. During vaginal birth, the cervix dilates (opens) in order for the baby to be delivered.

Ovaries
Ovaries are responsible for both the production of eggs (ovum) and hormones. Once a month, the ovaries release an egg through the fallopian tubes into the uterus; this is known as ovulation.

Fallopian tubes
The fallopian tubes attach to the upper section of the uterus and act as pathways for eggs to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Fertilization off an egg can occur inside the fallopian tubes.

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