Physiology of Female Reproductive System

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Learning Objectives By the end of this section, you will be able to:

Describe the structure and function of the organs of the female reproductive system List the steps of oogenesis Describe the hormonal changes that occur during the ovarian and menstrual cycles Trace the path of an oocyte from the ovary to fertilization

The female reproductive system functions to produce gametes and reproductive hormones, just like the male reproductive system; however, it also has the additional task of supporting the developing fetus and delivering it to the outside world. Unlike its male counterpart, the female reproductive system is located primarily inside the pelvic cavity (Figure 27.9). Recall that the ovaries are the female gonads. The gamete they produce is called an oocyte. We’ll discuss the production of oocytes in detail shortly. First, let’s look at some of the structures of the female reproductive system.

Figure 27.9 Female Reproductive

 

 

11/3/21, 4:17 PM 27.2 Anatomy and Physiology of the Female Reproductive System – Anatomy and Physiology | OpenStax

https://openstax.org/books/anatomy-and-physiology/pages/27-2-anatomy-and-physiology-of-the-female-reproductive-system 2/20

System The major organs of the female reproductive system are located inside the pelvic cavity.

External Female Genitals The external female reproductive structures are referred to collectively as the vulva (Figure 27.10). The mons pubis is a pad of fat that is located at the anterior, over the pubic bone. After puberty, it becomes covered in pubic hair.

The labia majora (labia = “lips”; major = “larger”) are folds of hair-covered skin that begin just posterior to the mons pubis. The thinner and more pigmented labia minora (labia = “lips”; minor = “smaller”) extend medially to the labia major.

Although they naturally vary in shape and size from woman to woman, the labia minor serve to protect the female urethra and the entrance to the female reproductive tract.