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The functions of the female reproductive system

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The female reproductive system is located in the pelvis and consists of both external and internal components. Different organs are responsible by the main functions of the female reproductive system.  

Internal components include:
1. Vagina
2. Uterus
3. Fallopian tube
4. Ovaries

And external components include:
1. Mons pubis
2. Labium minora
3. Labium majora
4. Clitoris

If we overlook the anatomy of female reproductive system, we can see the external components with the naked eye. Through the opening of the vagina, at first, comes the cervix which can be named as the mouth of the uterus. The uterus is a pear-shaped cavity in the female reproductive system which is the site of implantation for the embryo. On each side of the uterus, one fallopian tube is attached which will lead to the respective ovary2.

Starting from the ovary, ovaries are both endocrine organs and gonads. There are two ovaries both are situated on each side of the body of the womens. The prime function of the ovaries is the production of egg cells which are released after every 3 to 4 weeks periodically. There are follicles present in the ovary which are of different types and densities3

The phases of a menstruation cycle

At the start of a menstruation cycle, the egg matures in the follicle and at the same time ovary also secretes estrogen in the blood circulation. This phase is known as follicular phase and it lasts from day 1 to day 14 after menstruation. During this phase, the body temperature is lower on average as compared to other days.
At 14th day, there is the sudden peak in the secretion of LH and FSH hormone which stimulates the process of ovulation during which the egg containing follicle ruptures and the mature egg gets out from it. This phase is known as Ovulation and is one of the most imporatant part of the female reproductive system.

The process of ovulation is mainly controlled by hypothalamus and hormones from the anterior lobe of pituitary gland such as FSH and LH. After ovulation starts the luteal phase( from day 15 to 28 ), during this phase, the ovary secretes progesterone instead of estrogen which prepares the uterus for implantation of fertilized egg.
During the luteal phase, the body is usually on higher than usual temperature. Days from 10 to 18 of the 28 days cycle are the most fertile days45.

If the egg is not fertilized, then the secretion of progesterone will decrease so will decrease the blood supply of the uterus and the endometrial lining will shed resulting in bleeding. If the egg is fertilized by sperm then it will implant in the uterus and take the form of a blastocyst. The blastocyst will secrete hCG hormone which will give positive feedback to the secretion of progesterone leading to pregnancy6.

This is the function of the ovary as gonads. As an endocrine organ, ovary secretes estrogen which helps in the deposition of subcutaneous fat in the body giving female contour to the body. Secondary sexual characteristics are also developed due to estrogen such as the growth of pubic and armpit hair in the female7

References
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0025040/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19107809
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15833266
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279054/
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18574203
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10882512
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK29/

Topics: Female Reproductive System

Dr. Owais Amin

Written by Dr. Owais Amin