Production of female gametes/ ova by process called oogenesis
Reception of male gametes/spermatozoa
Provision of a suitable environment for fertilization of ova by spermatozoa
Provision of an environment for the development of fetus
Means for expulsion of the developed fetus to the external environment
Nutrition of newborn
A. Internal genitalia
B. External genitalia
C. Accessory organs
The external genital organs of the female are the clitoris, labia minora, labia majora and the glands that open the vestibule (the space flanked by the labia minora)
Richly supplied with sensory nerve endings.
Meissner’s corpuscles are found in the papillae at the base of the epithelium
Genital corpuscles present in the subpapillary layer.
Pacinian corpuscles present in the deeper parts of the connective tissue of the labia majora and in the cavernous bodies of the clitoris.
Located below the mons pubis and is the female equivalent of the penis.
Consists of two erectile corpora cavernosa which is side by side surrounded by a fibrocollagenous sheath. An incomplete central septum partly separates the two.
Covered by a thin epidermis that is devoid of hair follicles, sebaceous glands, eccrine and apocrine glands but is richly equipped with sensory nerves and a variety of receptors.
Over the superior surface, skin forms an incomplete hood (clitoral prepuce).
Inferior surface, with a thin midline frenulum.
At the base, corpora cavernosa diverge to lie the pubic rami, where they contain fibers of ischiocevernous muscle.
Small before puberty, enlarges to greater or lesser extent with the onset sexual maturity.
Becomes engorged in a manner similar to that of the penis during sexual arousal.
Plump folds of skin containing a large amount of subcutaneous adipose tissue and a thin layer of smooth muscles that corresponds to the tunica dartos of the scrotum in male.
Outer surface bears hair in varying amount.
Inner surface is smooth and hairless.
Sebaceous and sweat glands are numerous on both surfaces.
Apocrine and sebaceous glands become active at the onset sexual maturity
Eccrine glands which are present at birth shows no change
Covered with stratified squamous epithelium which contains some pigments (melanin) in its deeper layers and a thin keratinized layer at the surface.
Have more spongy connective tissue permeated by networks of fine elastic fibers
Lacks adipose cells
Abundant with blood vessels in their connective tissue
No hairs found within the labia, but with numerous sebaceous glands
Lined with stratified squamous epithelium and into it, opens the urethra and the vagina
Around the opening of the urethra and on the body of the clitoris are several vestibular glands (glandulae vestibulares minors) which contain mucus-secreting cells that resembles that of the glands of Littre in male urethra
Two larger glands of Bartholin are located on the lateral walls of the vestibule
Tubuloalveolar glands corresponding to that of the males’ bulbourethral glands and secreting a similar lubricating mucus
Also known as Mons Veneris is a skin superimposed in the substantial pad of subcutaneous fat.
Area overlying the symphysis pubis.
Characterized by the presence of unusually oblique hair follicles which produce the coarse curly hair common to most races
Underneath the skin is a pad of fat.
A fibromuscular, collapsed tube that connects the uterus to the exterior of the body.
Lined with nonkeratinized stratified squamous with abundaant glycogen
As part of the birth canal, it is tremendously dilated during parturition.
Wall follows the pattern of the female genital tract
Longitudinal folds (rugae) extend throughout the anterior and posterior surfaces of the vagina
Stratified squamous nonkeratinized epithelium lines the cavity
Epithelium does not undergo typical menstrual changes but undergoes minor cyclic changes during sex cycle.
With the influence of estrogen in the proliferative stage, slight keratinization of the lining cells occur which stains acidiphilic. These cells store glycogen which is released in the vaginal lumen when surface cells are exfoliated.
Lamina propia contains many elastic fibers, a few lymph nodes and various leukocytes.
Has an extensive coiled venous plexus engorged with blood during sexual stimulation
Plexus also serves as a source of tissue fluid that leak into the lumen of the vagina during copulation.
Together with secretions from cervical and vestibular glands, fluid provides lubrication of the vaginal lumen during sexual intercourse.
Composed of 2 poorly defined smooth muscle layers
Thin fibers of the inner layer are oriented circularly
Thick fibers of the outer layers are situated longitudinally and are continuous with the myometrium of the uterus.
Encircling the entrance of the vagina is a weak sphincter of skeletal muscles.
A dense connective tissue layer
Surrounds the vagina and blends with adjacent organs.
Has elastic tissue.
Blood vessels, nerves and lymphatics transverse the region to supply the inner layers of the vagina
The cervix (or neck of the uterus) is the lower part of the uterus, part of which protrudes into the vagina
The tapering, almost cylindrical, inferior part of the uterus.
It is occasionally called "cervix uteri". Cervix means neck in Latin.
External surface of the part of the cervix that protrudes into the vagina is the ectocervix and the lining of the lumen is the endocervix
Ectocervix is covered by epithelium continuous with that of the vagina at the vaginal fornices.
Ectocervical epithelium in nonkeratinizing, stratified squamous and rich in glycogen in the sexually mature period.
Undergoes cyclical changes during menstrual cycle through the influence of estrogens and progesterone.
Before the menache and after menopause, the epithelium is much thinner with fewer layers and smaller cells with less glycogen
Endocervical canal runs between the uterine and vaginal cavities
Lined by a single layer of tall columnar mucus-secreting epithelium (endocervical epithelium)
There is a large surface area for the production of cervical mucus which fills the endocervical canal.
Mucin acts as a vaginal lubrication during sexual intercourse and as a protective barrier preventing bacterial ascent into the endometrial cavity.
Movement of endometrial mucus is facilitated by a few ciliated columnar epithelial cells scattered among the mucus-secreting endocervical cells.
Before puberty and after menopause, amount of cervical mucus us greatly reduced.
The columnar epithelium of the endocervical canal and the squamous epithelium of the ectocervix meet at the squamo-columnar junction.
Wall consists of largely of dense collagenous and elastic fibers with only about 15% of the wall being smooth muscle.
Mucosa contains complex mucous glands and deep branching folds (plicae palmate).
Mucosa does not participate in menstruation since it is not supplied with spiral arteries which are the functional layer of the endometrium.
Glands undergo some changes during menstruation.
Secretion is thin and watery during estrogenic phase.
Becomes abundant at ovulation and the consistency of the egg whites are useful for determining the time of ovulation.
Forms a semisolid mucous plug that prevents the passage of sperm and other microorganisms from entering the uterus from the vagina.
Although it does not enlarge during pregnancy, it undergoes tremendous dilation during parturition.
Columnar epithelium changes to stratified squamous epithelium as the cervix projects into the vagina.
About 7cm long, 4 cm across at its widest, 2.5cm thick
Has a thick muscular wall that is continuous with the wall of the Fallopian tubes
It receives the products of conception from one of the oviducts and its endometrium undergoes cytological changes to provide sustenance to the embryo throughout its development
Parts of the Uterus
Fundus – rounded upper portion above a line joinging the openings of the oviducts
Body or corpus uteri – wide upper two-thirds of the organ
Isthmus - slightly narrower portion below the body
Cervix – cylindrical lower segment
portio vaginalis – portion of cervix that protrudes into upper end of vagina
External os of the uterus – opens into vagina
Parts of the Uterus
Layers of the Uterus
Consists of smooth muscle
Composed of interlacing bundles of long, slender fibers arranged in ill-defined layers
During pregnancy, under the influence of estrogen, the myometrium increases greatly in size by both cell division and cell growth
At parturition, strong contractions of the myometrium are reinforced by the action of the hormone oxytocin secreted by the posterior pituitary. These contractions expel the fetus from the uterus into the vagina and also constrict the blood supply to the placenta, thus precipitatin its detachment from the uterine wall
Layers of the Uterus
simple columnar epithelium with or without cilia
A wide tunica propria housing extensive mucosal glands
The endometrial stroma (thick lamina propria)
Lamina basalis – basal one third
Lamina functionalis – luminal two-thirds
Layers of the Uterus
Normal locale for the implantation of the morula and the blastocyst stages of the early embryo
Usual site for the development of the placenta
Location of the glandular and vascular changes associated with the menstrual cycle
During menstruation, the functional zone degenerates while most of the basal layer remains intact, which regenerates the new mucosa for the next menstrual cycle
Portion of the female reproductive system that receives the ovum released from the ovary, provides the appropriate environment for its fertilization and transports it to the uterus.
It is a muscular tube about 12cm long
Parts of the Oviduct include:
Infundibulum – the funnel-shaped abdominal end
Fimbriae – fringe-like processes
Ampulla – an expanded intermediate segment below the infundibulum
Isthmus – the slender medial third near the uterine wall
Wall of the Oviduct
Consists of 3 layers:
Serous layer - outer
Inner circular layer
Outer longitudinal layer
Relatively thick with longitudinal folds or folia
The oviduct is lined by SIMPLE COLUMNAR EPITHELIUM
… with 2 types of cells:
The nonciliated cells produce a secretion which is propelled towards the uterus by the ciliated cells. This secretion may have a role in the nutrition and protection of the ovum.
Primary sexual organ
Small ovoid organs lying in the right and left lateral pelvic cavities
Sites of oogenesis
Paired organs about the size and shape of almonds
Mesovarium : folds of peritoneum from each side of uterus that suspend and enclose the ovary
: carries blood vessels and nerves to ovary
Source of mature ova
Endocrine organs producing steroid hormone that prepare the endometrium for conception and maintain pregnancy if fertilization occur
Epithelium of Ovary
Single layer of cuboidal or low cuboidal epithelium
Continuous with pelvic peritoneum at the hilum of ovary
Misnamed as “ germinal epithelium ”
Surface epithelial cell have prominent microvilli and occasional cilia
Small pinocytic vesicles associated with the base of some microvilli
Irregularly fissured which are lined by surface epithelium
Tunica albuginea- fibrous layer of connective tissue beneath the germinal epithelium that encloses the organ
- substantial basement membrane that separates the surface cells from underlying ovarian tissue in the mature ovary
Epithelium of Ovary
Hilum- a shallow depression on the medial surface of ovary where mesovarium attaches
- route where blood vessels, lymphatics and nerves enter and leave the ovary
- Continuous with medulla and central cortex of ovary
- Contain vestigial remnants of the embryonic Wolffian duct and clusters of hilus or hilar cells
Wolffian duct remnants- persist as irregular tubules lined by flat or cuboidal epithelium (rete ovarii)
Hilus cells- identical to interstitial (Leydig) cells of testis
- round or oval with eosinophilic granular or goamy cytoplasm containing brown lipofuscin-like pigment
- densely packed
2 Poorly Demarcated Zones
- Central zone of stroma
- contains clusters of stromal cell identical to those occupying the cortex
- Has large helical arteries and veins and nerves embedded in a dense stroma
2 Poorly Demarcated Zones
2. Cortex – outer
Peripheral zone of stroma
Contains follicles in various stages of development, their sequels and stroma of atypical fibroblasts arranged in a spiral fashion
a. Supporting stroma - composed of closely packed spindle-shaped fibroblast-like cells, reticular fibers and ground substance
- 3 main functions:
Provides structural support for developing ova
Gives rise to theca interna and theca externa
Secretes steroid hormones
b. Gamete-producing structures and their derivatives