The female organs consist of the external genitals, near the surface of the body between the thighs, and the internal genitals, inside the body. They connect with one another through the vagina and the cervix of the uterus. The external female organs are composed of the vulva and the vagina. The vulva has two large major lips and two smaller minor lips. Between the lips of the vulva is the entrance to the vagina.
High up, surrounded by the minor lips of the vulva, is the clitoris. This is a small, firm structure about the size of a pea, and just below it is the exit of the urethra. It is through the urethra that urine is passed from the bladder to the outside.
The female organs the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are shown here in relation to structures which surround them. These structures are the urethra, the urinary bladder, the ureters, and the rectum. All of these organs are located way down low, at the bottom of the abdomen. This area is called the pelvis.
The vagina in a young girl is covered by a thin membrane with holes in it. This is called the hymen, or maidenhead. The vagina is a canal, lined by mucous membrane, which extends in for a few inches and connects with the entrance to the uterus. In a grown woman, the vagina receives the sperm that the man places there during intercourse. The vagina stretches widely when childbirth occurs, and, as we know, the newborn child comes out through the vagina. The internal female organs consist of the uterus with its cervix pointing down into the vagina, two Fallopian tubes, and two ovaries.
A channel, called the cervical canal, runs through the middle of the cervix up into the uterus. It connects with a cavity, the uterine cavity, in the middle of the uterus. And the uterine cavity connects with a channel running through the Fallopian tubes. The ends of the Fallopian tubes are wide open and are located next to the ovaries.
It is amazing that so few girls-and grown women, too-have much knowledge of their female organs. Maybe it is because most of these structures are inside the body, where they can’t be seen. Many people don’t even know that females have more organs than males.
The female organs in a girl under eleven or twelve years of age are not active. When she reaches that age which we call the age of puberty-the ovaries begin to supply larger and larger amounts of hormones. When these hormones get into the bloodstream, they influence certain other organs. The girl’s breasts begin to grow, her uterus enlarges, she gets hair under her arms and over her external organs, and her figure begins to take the shape of a woman rather than of a little girl. At about this time, or perhaps a year or so later, the ovaries begin to manufacture mature eggs. One of these mature eggs, or occasionally two of them, comes out of one or the other ovary each month. When an egg leaves the ovary, it is called ovulation.
An egg from an ovary is only about the size of a pinpoint, and can really be seen well only through a microscope. It travels from the ovary into the open end of the nearby Fallopian tube. When it gets there, one of two things happens to it:
1. If sperm from the male are in the tube, the egg may become fertilized. This means that one of the sperm has joined with the egg to form an embryo. At this moment, the woman has become pregnant. The fertilized egg then travels down the three inches or so of the Fallopian tube into the uterus. The journey down the tube takes three to five days. When the fertilized egg reaches the uterus, it buries itself in the lining of the uterus and begins to grow and develop. It will take nine months for it to grow into a fully developed child.
2. If there are no sperm in the tube when the egg arrives, the egg remains unfertilized and passes down the tube into the uterus, out of the uterus through the cervix into the vagina, and out of the vagina and the body.
Each month when an egg leaves the ovary, the uterus prepares itself so it will be ready if pregnancy is going to take place. The cells lining the inside of the uterine cavity grow and swell, and more blood comes to the uterus. This will make it easy for the fertilized egg to take root, much like a seed takes root in the earth. However, if the egg is not fertilized and a pregnancy does not take place, then the uterus sheds some of the cells lining its cavity. These cells, along with some blood, are passed out of the uterus into the vagina, and out of the vagina to the outside. This is called menstruation. It usually takes from three to five days for all these cells and blood to leave the body. Therefore, a menstrual period lasts about three to five days.
When the menstrual period is over, the uterus starts all over again to make itself ready for the next month. The ovary, too, gets ready for the next month when it will ripen another egg.
Ovulation, the ripening and the discharge of the egg from the ovary, usually takes place about two weeks before the menstrual period.
So you see how wonderful Nature is. It gets the female ready to become pregnant every month from the time she is a young girl of about twelve until she is a woman of about fifty years of age. By the time a woman reaches fifty, the ovaries usually stop manufacturing ripe eggs.