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Microsoft word - 6 female reproductive system.doc


The female organs of reproduction include: the ovaries, which produce ova
(eggs); the uterine or fallopian tubes (also called the oviducts), which
transport the ova to the uterus (womb); the vagina and the external organs that constitute
the vulva or pudendum. The mammary glands or breasts (lactating (milk-producing) organs)
are also considered part of the female reproductive system.
The female reproductive system consists of the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina,
and vulva.
Gynaecology is the medical specialty concerned with diseases of the female genital
tract, as well as reproductive physiology of the female.
Obstetrics is a branch of medicine concerned with female reproductive system-
pregnancy and birth.
Word root
Combining form
The ovaries or female gonads are paired glands resembling unshelled almonds in size and shape. They are positioned in the upper pelvic cavity, one each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce and discharge ova (ovulation) and secrete the female sex hormones - progesterone and oestrogen. Word root
Combining form

Activity 1
Write the meaning of
1. oocyte _______________________________________________________ 2. oogenesis ____________________________________________________ 3. removal of an ovary _____________________________________________ 4. surgical puncture of an ovary ______________________________________ Uterine Tubes
The female body contains two uterine or fallopian tubes (also known as oviducts) which
transport the ova from the ovaries to the uterus. Each measures about 10cm long. The
funnel-shaped open end of each tube, called the infundibulum, lies close to the ovary but is
not attached to it and is surrounded by a fringe of fingerlike projections called fimbriae.
Approximately once a month an ovum erupts from the surface of the ovary and is released into the uterine tube, a process called ovulation. If the ovum is fertilised by a sperm cell, it usually occurs in the upper third of the uterine tubes. Word root
Combining form
Activity 2
Write the meaning of
1. salpingo-oophorectomy _____________________________________________ 2. salpingo-oophoritis ________________________________________________ Uterus
The uterus is the site of menstruation, implantation of fertilised ovum, development of the
foetus during pregnancy and labour. Situated between the urinary bladder and the rectum,
the uterus is shaped like an upside-down pear. The dome-shaped portion above the
fallopian tubes is called the fundus, the major tapering centre is called the body and the
inferior, narrow portion opening into the vagina is called the cervix. The uterus is composed
of three layers: the outer layer is referred to as the serous layer or the serosa; the middle
layer of the uterus, the myometrium is composed of smooth muscle fibres and during
childbirth its co-coordinated contractions help expel the foetus; the inner layer is called the
endometrium - the inner layer of which is shed during menstruation.
The menstrual cycle is a series of changes in the endometrium of a nonpregnant female.
Each month the endometrium is prepared to receive a fertilised ovum. If implanted, the
fertilised ovum eventually develops into an embryo and then a foetus, which normally
remains in the uterus until delivery. If no fertilisation occurs the inner portion of the
endometrium is shed. The ovarian cycle is a monthly series of events associated with the
maturation of an ovum.
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Activity 3
Build words which mean
1. hardening of the uterus ___________________________________________ 2. removal of the womb _____________________________________________ 3. instrument to view the womb _______________________________________ 4. metrostaxis _____________________________________________________ 5. endometritis _____________________________________________________ 6. endometriosis ___________________________________________________ Word root
Combining form

Activity 4
Write the meaning of
1. menopause _________________________________________________ 2. menarche ___________________________________________________ 3. dysmenorrhoea ______________________________________________ 4. premenstrual ________________________________________________ Curettage of the lining of the uterus is a surgical procedure in which the uterus is scraped with a curette. Word root
Combining form

Pap test – a sample of cells (smear) is taken from the cervix and subjected to cytological
The vagina serves as a passageway for the menstrual flow. It is also a receptacle for the
penis during coitus or sexual intercourse and the lower portion of the birth canal. It is a
muscular, tubular organ lined with mucous membrane. At the lower end of the vaginal
opening is a thin fold of mucous membrane called the hymen, which forms a border around
the orifice, partially closing it.
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Activity 5
Write the meaning of
1. colposcopy _________________________________________________________ 2. metrocolpocele ______________________________________________________ 3. vaginitis ____________________________________________________________ 4. vaginovesical ______________________________________________________ Investigation of disorders of the vagina and cervix usually require the use of a vaginal speculum to hold the walls of the vagina apart. Vulva
The term vulva, or pudendum, is a collective designation for the external genitalia of the
female. The labia majora are the outer lips of the vulva and are covered with pubic hair on
their outer surface. Medial to the labia majora are two folds of skin called the labia minora.
The clitoris is a small mass of erectile tissue and nerves. It is located at the anterior junction
of the labia minora. A layer of skin called the prepuce or foreskin covers the body of the
clitoris. The clitoris is the female equivalent of the penis in that it assumes a role in sexual
excitement in the female.
The cleft between the labia minora is called vestibule. Within the vestibule are the hymen,
vaginal orifice, urethral orifice and the openings of several ducts. These ducts secrete
mucous produced by the Bartholin’s glands. These secretions supplement lubrication during
sexual intercourse.
Word root
Combining form Meaning
Vulva, pudendum femina or external genitalia
The perineum is the diamond-shaped area at the inferior end of the trunk, between the
thighs and buttocks of both the males and females. In the female it is from the vagina to the
anus. The perineum should not be confused with the peritoneum, which refers to the
abdominal cavity.
Dilatation (expand) and curettage (scraping) Total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
Terms and word parts

Corpus luteum - a yellow mass which forms in the ovary after rupture of the graafian follicle. It secretes progesterone and persists and enlarges if pregnancy supervenes Ovary (female sex glands that form ova & secretes oestrogen
Conditions and terms:

Menses occur, but there is no external manifestation due to Obstructive lesion of lower genital canal Abnormally heavy bleeding of menstruation Absence or stopping of menstrual periods The presence of endometrial tissue (lining of the uterus) at other sites in the pelvic and/or abdominal cavity. An abnormal position of the uterus in which it is tilted backwards with the base lying against the rectum instead of the bladder
Cervical smear
A specimen of cells scraped from the cervix is examined under a Microscope to detect cell changes indicative of cancer Operation where the cervix is dilated and stretched and the uterus Removal of the breast with skin and underlying pectoral muscles Radical mastectomy together with all the lymphatic tissue of the armpit


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