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  • I find this chapter very helpful because as a woman I can understand what is going on and how my body works.
  • Our bodies,

    1. 1. Our Bodies,Ourselves<br />Hawa Sankoh<br />Chapter 13<br />This chapter offers a tour of female sexual anatomy, including parts both inside and outside the body. First part talks of the names of body parts, second part consists of periods and fertility awareness. Explains how menstrual cycle works, products of it and particle issues.<br />
    2. 2. Sexual Anatomy: The Self-Guided Tour<br />Of ways to learn of your body is to take a self-guided tour. It describes the sexual and reproductive organs both outside and inside your body.<br />Stops On The Tour<br />1. Exits, entrances, talks about the folding openings to your body: introitus, urinary opening and anus.<br />2. On the outside (and just beneath) discusses parts of the vulva and its neighbors: vulva, public hair, mons, pubis symphysis, labia majora, labia minora, perineum and vestibule.<br />3. The vaginal and its neighbors, including the following: vagina, hymen, urethral sponge fornix (part of the vagina), cervix, (part of the cervix), and pubococcygeus muscle.<br />4. Find your orgasm here! This section talks all about clitoris and its many wonderful parts: clitoris, hood of cloritus, glans of clitorus, shaft of clitoris, suspensory ligament, crura, bulbs of the vestibule, and vestibular glands.<br />5. All the way in focuses on internal sexual anatomy: uterus fundus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. <br />6. Our Breasts details the part of breast anatomy: areola, nipples sebaceous glands, fat, connective tissue, and milk-producing glands.<br />
    3. 3. Sexual Anatomy: The Self Guided Tour<br />1. Introitus The introitus leads to the vagina and through it the menstrual blood is secreted. The vagina is the birth canal through which babies are born in a natural delivery. Women sometimes insert a tampon, a finger, a penis or a vibrator into the vagina.<br />2. Urinary opening An opening leading to the urinary canal that drains the urinary bladder, in which urine is collected in the body<br />3. Vulva A general name for all the parts specified below. The vulva protects the genitals, which are the parts that react to sexual arousal.<br />Pubic hair<br />Protects from abrasions during sexual intercourse.<br />Mound<br />Skin and fat that cover the pubic bone and protect it during sexual intercourse.<br />Pubis symphysis, Pubic bone<br />The joining of the pubic bones. To feel this part of your body, put your hands on your waist and follow the bones forming a V down to the vagina.<br />Labia majora<br />Protect the Labia minora.<br />Labia minora<br />Become swollen as a reaction to sexual arousal.<br />Perineum<br />Located between the anus and the vagina, stretches during childbirth.<br />Vestibule<br />The area between the Labia minora, which contains the vagina and the urethra. <br />
    4. 4. Sexual Anatomy: The Self-Guided Tour<br />4. Clitoris Its role is to cause the orgasm, sexual arousal. The clitoris is a general name for many organs including:<br />Hood of clitoris<br />Its role is to protect the shaft of the clitoris<br />Shaft of clitoris<br />Looks like a string made of blood vessels that fill with blood during sexual arousal. We cannot see it, but we can feel it.<br />Crura<br />Protruding tissue that connects the pubic bone to the clitoris; cannot be seen.<br />Bulbs of the vestibule<br />Fill with blood during sexual arousal; cannot be seen.<br />Vestibular glands, Bartholin’s glands, vulvovaginal glands<br />These glands produce drops of fluid during sexual arousal that provide immune protection. We cannot see them, but we can feel them.<br />
    5. 5. Sexual Anatomy: The Self-Guided Tour<br />5. Vagina/ Birth canalThe vagina is a flexible canal surrounded by muscles about 10 cm long, into which the penis, fingers or vibrator are inserted during sexual intercourse and through which the sperm make its way into the uterus. The vagina also drains the menstrual blood from the uterus, and is also a part of the birth canal.<br />Hymen<br />A membrane that partly covers the vagina.<br />Urethral sponge / perineal sponge/ G-spot<br />An aroused tissue in the front side of the vagina; a place of pleasure and orgasm.<br />Fornix (part of vagina)<br />The circumferential joint between the cervix and the vagina.<br />Cervix<br />The cervix is a canal leading from the vagina to the uterine cavity. The cervix allows the sperm to enter the uterus in the right timing of ovulation and protects from infections. The cervix broadens during childbirth.<br />Os (part of cervix)<br />The opening to the cervix which opens only during childbirth; protects the uterus from penetration of foreign objects (such as tampons, etc.)<br />Pubococcygeus (PC) muscle<br />A system of muscles that support the pelvis and other organs.<br />
    6. 6. Sexual Anatomy: The Self-Guided Tour<br />6. The uterus The uterus is an internal organ in the abdominal cavity; it is hollow, shaped as a pear and has thick muscular walls. During the fertile years, our uterus is 8 cm long. The inner side of the uterus is lined with a mucus lining which allows implantation of the fetus.<br />The uterine mucus regenerates every month, from the end of menstruation until the end of ovulation. During this period of time, induced by the Estrogen hormone, the mucus develops and thickens. Progesterone, a hormone secreted after ovulation, causes more changes and the mucus is ready for the intake of a pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the uterine mucus is shed; this process is the bleeding we call menstruation.<br />7. The fallopian tubes The fallopian tubes are two gentle tubes, 10 cm long, that branch from the upper sides of the uterus to a point close to the ovaries. The fallopian tubes have a crucial role transferring the egg and the sperm, and in them the insemination occurs. In the part of the tube close to the ovary, a fringy tissue forms the fimbria, a part to which the egg is released from the ovary during ovulation. Since the egg cannot move on its own, the transference of the egg from the ovary to the uterine cavity depends on the fallopian tube’s function.<br />8. The ovaries The ovaries are our egg inventory and they contain approximately 300,000-400,000 eggs that mature (one by one) in the ovaries until ovulation. The number of eggs in the ovaries does not renew, and it is in a constant drop from the moment we are born (as apposed to the constant production of sperm in the testicles). The female sex hormones are secreted from the ovaries<br />
    7. 7. Our Breasts<br />10. In popular North American cultures, Women’s breast get an enormous amount of attention: How big they are? Are they Real? Do bigger breasts make women sexier? <br />Breasts are not of the same size or shapes , sometimes the right one is bigger than the left or vise versa. Breasts usually becomes droopier over the years as your skin becomes less elastic and your milk glands get smaller, happens even faster during menopause for the milk gland are no longer stimulated to grow. <br />During Pregnancy and nursing, breasts can enlarge considerably. They may also swell during sexual arousal. The amount of fat in the breasts is determined partly by heredity. This fat causes breast size to vary, and it explains why breast size is not related to the sexual responsiveness of the breasts or the amount of milk produced after giving birth.<br />
    8. 8. Our Breasts<br />9. The breast organs:Areola Surrounds the nipple and contains contractive muscles that cause it to become erect in response to cold, sexual arousal and breastfeeding (this is the stimulus for lactation). At this spot the infant’s mouth closes on the breast while breastfeeding. The areola also has an important part in pleasure. The circle of skin, which varies in color, is located at the center of the breast, surrounding the nipple. The areola’s color may be different from other parts of the breast, it may have small bulges, and hair might stem from it. In many cases, the areola becomes darker during pregnancy.<br />Nipple<br />The mammary ducts open at the nipple to allow passage of milk. The nipple also has a part in sexual arousal, and it can become erect as a response to sexual arousal, cold or heat. The nipple is located at the center if the breast, and may be flat, bulging or sunken.<br />Sebaceous glands<br />Secrete an oily matter protecting the nipple during breastfeeding. Appear as bulges on the areola.<br />Fatty tissue<br />Surrounding and protecting the glands and the connective tissue and is spread throughout the inside of the whole breast.<br />Connective tissue<br />The connective tissue provides support and structure to the breast. It holds the mammary ducts and glands in place and is spread throughout the inside of the whole breast.<br />Mammary glands<br />The mammary glands infuse milk to the nipple for breastfeeding and may also produce a clear fluid when we are not breastfeeding. The mammary glands are made of lobules that produce milk and ducts.<br />
    9. 9. Menstruation And Reproduction<br />In addition to the growth of breasts and public and armpit hair, the onset of menstruation is a major marker in the transition from girl to women. <br />This section explores our bodies differences and variations regarding the menstrual cycle. It also discusses fertility awareness, a method of observing and charting body signs that reflect fertility, which can be used for birth control or to increase the likelihood of conception and to learn about our health.<br />Broad Strokes-Menarche To Menopause<br />Girls experience first periods in a variety of ways , as do women experiencing last menstrual cycles. Ovulation and menstruation start near the end of puberty, on average at about twelve and a half, though any age from nine to eighteen is normal.<br />During the reproductive years, cycles of hormone rhythms determine the timing of ovulation and menstruation. This cycle the menstrual cycle, regulates fertility, allowing for the possibility of a pregnancy a number of days every month. <br />
    10. 10. The Basis Of Eggs And Bleeding<br />Understanding the biological basis of menstrual cycle can help us when we face decisions about menstruation, such as what to do if we have severe cramps.<br />PLAYER 1: THE OVARIES<br />When we are born, the two ovaries contain approximately two million follicles. The follicles are saccules in the center of which lies an immature egg. During our childhood years, the ovaries absorb about half of these follicles. Out of the follicles that exist in the ovaries when the menses start, only about 300 to 500 mature eggs will develop. For many years, fertility researchers believed that women are born with a lifelong fixed supply of follicles that produce eggs, and cannot produce more eggs after birth. Today this belief is being challenged. <br />PLAYER 2: THE CERVIX<br />The cervix The type of moisture or fluid produced by the cervix changes throughout the menstrual cycle, as a response to hormones. There are common patterns of these fluid secretions, but each of us is advised to follow her own menstrual cycle and find out her unique pattern. It is possible to follow the moistness or dryness in the vagina by feeling the introitus with your finger and by observing and touching the secretions. Try writing down daily these changes for a number of cycles in order to have a feel of the changes in the fluid during your menstrual cycle. During the fertile period, sperm can survive up to five days in the cervix fluid. After ovulation, when the effect of progesterone contradicts the estrogen activity, the cervix fluid thickens and we can feel the vagina drying up gradually<br />
    11. 11. The Basis Of Eggs And Bleeding<br />PLAYER 3 AND 4: THE ENDOMETRIUM AND UTERUS<br />Estrogen, made by the maturing follicles, causes the glands of the uterine lining (endometrium) to grow and thickens, and increase the blood supply to these glands.<br />A fertilized egg can implant only in a secretory phase, not in a proliferative one. As the estrogen and progesterone levels drop, the tiny arteries and veins in the uterus close off.<br />Women are often taught about menstruation in a way that makes it seem like it’s a bad process, driven by failure, but actually menstruation may serve as a sign of good health and a way to clean our bodies.<br />PLAYER 5: MENSTRUAL FLUID<br />During menstruation, most of the lining of the uterus is shed, but the bottom third remains to form a new lining. Anovulatory cycles become more frequent as menopause approaches. <br />Estrogen, produced by the maturing follicle, causes the glands that line the uterus (endometrium) to grow and thicken and increases the blood supply to these glands. This thickening of the endometrium is called the proliferative stage of the menstrual cycle and it may last between six and twenty days. Progesterone, produced by the fractured follicle after the egg has been released, induces the endometrium glands to secrete nurturing factors for the embryo (this stage is called the secretion stage). An inseminated egg cannot be received in the uterus during the proliferative stage, but only in the secretion stage.<br />
    12. 12. Menstrual Cycles As A Vital Sign<br />Keeping track of your menstrual cycle you will know what is normal for you, you ll get a better sense of your unique health patterns.<br />Many women find it helpful to keep track of cycles on a menstrual calendar or a special fertility awareness chart. <br />Keeping a menstrual calendar will help you get to know your bodies, learn what is normal for you, and be advocates for and authorizes about your own health. <br />FERTILITY AWARENESS<br />One particle way of charting your cycle is to use the fertility awareness method (FAM). Your menstrual cycle can basically be divided into three phrases: the pre-ovulatory infertile phase. You can determine which of the Phases you are in by observing the three primary fertality signs: waking temperatures, cervical fluid, and cervial positions.<br />Cervical fluid is the secretion produced before ovulation that allows sperm to reach the egg.<br />Cervical Position (Optional Sign)<br />Your cervix, the lower part of the uterus that extends into your vagina, goes through changes throughout your cycles. Your cervix emits fertile-quality wet cervical fluid when the eggs is about to be released.<br />SECONDARY FERTILITY SIGNS<br />Many women experience other signs on a regular basis as secondary fertility signs, because they do not necessary occur in all women, or in every cycle in individual women.<br />Fertility signs around ovulation may include : Midcycle spotting, pain or achiness near the Ovaries, Increased sexual feelings, fuller vaginal lips or swollen vulva, abdominal bloating, water retention, increased energy level, heightened sense of vision, smell, and taste, increased sensevity in breasts and skin, breast tenderness.<br />
    13. 13. Using The Fertility Awareness Method For Natural Birth Control Or Pregnancy Achievement<br />By checking your fertility signs everyday, you can use the fertility awareness method (FAM) either to avoid or to achieve pregnancy naturally. If you want to learn more of this topic research is needed. <br />FERTILITY AWARENESS METHOD FOR NATURAL BIRTH CONTROL <br />When your using FAM to avoid pregnancy Naturally, four rules will identify your infertile phase. To learn more about FAM for birth control, see p. 369 in Chapter 18, “Birth Control.”<br />
    14. 14. FERTILITY AWARENESS METHOD FOR PREGNANCY ACHIVEMENTS<br />When you r trying to get pregnant, the most important points are probably the following:<br />1. Take your waking temperature to determine if your indeed ovulating. You should notice a pattern of low temperatures before ovulation, followed by about 12 to sixteen days of high temperatures after.<br />2. Having intercourse or inseminate on all days of wet, slippery cervical fluid. The most fertile day of your cycle will be the last day that you have this slippery-quality cervical fluid.<br />3 if you conceive, your temperatures following ovulation will remain high for at least eighteen days.<br />4 if you don’t get pregnant within six months of timing intercourse or insemination during days of wet cervical fluid followed by a sustained temperature shift of at least ten days. Seek a fertility consolation.<br />
    15. 15. What To Do With Our Menstrual Flow<br />Across time and cultures, women have used and continue to use a variety of products for catching menstrual flow.<br />MAIN STREAMS<br />Many women use commercial tampons or pads (also called sanitary napkins) to catch menstrual blood. Whether you use a product worn outside your body (such as a pad) or a product worn inside your body(such as a tampon) is a personal choice. Common questions about tampons:<br />1. Will the tampon get lost inside me? No, certainly not. Our body is wise, and the cervix (the gatekeeper of the uterus) will not allow it to go anywhere it’s not supposed to.<br />2. Will tampons make me sick? No, most likely not, if we use them correctly and change them frequently, about every 4-6 hours. It is not recommended to use a tampon for long periods of time (such as through the night), and you should not use tampons with higher absorption capacities than you need since this kind of use might increase the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). Many of the tampon manufacturers state the risks of TSS and the risks of chemical traces and active substances that might cause irritation on the tampon packaging.<br />3. If I use tampons, will it affect my virginity? No. The use of tampons might cause an expansion of the hymen.<br />SIDE STREAMS<br />Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)<br />Dirt?<br />Our bodies’ secretions and scents are a natural part of us and our vagina has a natural cleansing process. Without an explicit instruction from a medical expert, the interior part of the vagina should not be washed. Using a bidet and vaginal deodorants, even rarely, may change the balance between acids and bases in the vagina and cause infections. Vaginal deodorants contain perfumes which can cause allergies. In order to keep our bodies clean it is advised to wash the vagina daily in lukewarm water.<br />
    16. 16. IT’s Your Period How Do You Know It?<br />Many factors can affect the way we feel towards our menstruation and the menstrual cycle in general. Regrettably, the religious and/or cultural ceremonies, prayers and traditions express at times a negative approach to menstruation. The initial experience of menstruation may affect our perception of it many years later. We should remember that it is our menstruation and our bodies, and so we can decide how to treat it; whether we love it, hate it, or are indifferent to it. Our approach can significantly affect our daughters’ approach to their menstruation.This section offers all of us new thoughts and perspectives on the topic, in search of the positive aspects of menstruation and of a change in our approach, and therefore a change in our daughters’ approach.<br />MENSTRUAL CHANGES, INCLUDING PMS<br />During the fertile years, the hormone cycle rhythm determines the ovulation and menstruation timing. Menstruation causes menstrual changes and PMS in many women. Some women experience these changes in greater severity, in the form of dysmenorrhea(painful menstruation) with nausea and diarrhea or in the form of Pre-Menstrual Depression . Menopausal women can suffer from menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding) and/or irregular bleedingor from amenorrhea(absence of menstruation). Menstrual pain can be treated by using painkillers (Acamol, Optalgin, and prescription medications). Alternative medicine also offers various treatments to these symptoms/syndromes.<br />
    17. 17. I love this chapter and I enjoyed it very much. As I woman, I can learn how my body works and what is happening with me. This is a chapter I will recommend to every woman. <br />As for me the thing that stand out in my mind the most was the use of tampon. I think it is because I hate them and I don’t use them. <br />I have always wonder why don’t all women take the time to understand their body because when there are so much information out here.<br />