The female anatomy has a different physical build than the male anatomy.
Are located on the chest made of fat, muscle, ligament tissue, and an elaborate network of blood vessels and glands. These areas are specialized for producing milk to breastfeed. They are sized and shaped differently from person to person and are determined by weight, exercise, age, and pregnancy & breastfeeding. The more fat in the breast the bigger it is and the older the person is the more the breasts will sag. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, they will enlarge due to distribution of fat and tissue making the breast swell.
Major external components
- Breast tissue: is a complex system of tissues linked to nerves, blood vessels and a group of fat cells called adipose tissue. The size differs from one person to the other because of a mixture of genetics and body mass.
- Nipple: is the rounded area containing nine milk duct openings each where milk drains to feed a baby. It has several nerve endings (state of heightened sensitivity) making them a zone of sexual stimulation. Some women have nipples that stick out while others have flat or inverted nipples. They can also have hair and small bumps.
- Areola: is the pigmented circular area surrounding the nipple. It varies in size from person to person. It contains the Montgomery glands that are small and produce lubrication preventing the nipple from drying out, especially when nursing. They can grow in size during pregnancy and could remain larger and sometimes darker even after giving birth.
Internal components: The breasts are essentially made of fat. The size is determined by the amount of fat. However, the size doesn’t relate to the ability for the amount of milk production.
- Alveoli: are groups of milk producing cells inside the breasts.
- Lactiferous ducts: are passageways through which breast milk exits to feed a baby.
- Lobules: are groups of alveoli that drain into lactiferous ducts and then into lactiferous sinuses (area where milk is stored) that enable milk flow from the nipple.
- Mammary glands: start to develop after puberty in females due to the release of estrogen. These glands are in charge of milk production but only after childbirth.
is the fatty area shaped like an upside-down triangle that extends from the top of the pubic hairline to the clitoris. Its funstion is to protect the bone during sexual intercourse. The mons pubis is more prominent in females but is also present in males. The Mons Pubis is referred to as the mons in males and the mons veneris in females.
refers to the external parts of a female’s genitals that comprise the labia majora, the labia minora, and the glans clitoris. Some people refer to this part as the ‘vagina’ but the vagina is only the opening through which you have intercourse and give birth.
- Labia major (Outer Labia): are the outer folds of skin that surround the vaginal opening and are the protective layer. It is usually bigger than the labia minora but it can also be the same size. Their color differs from person to person. It can be pink, crimson (deep red), or reddish-brown. The labia majora can be short or long and could be smooth or wrinkled.
- Labia minora (Inner Labia): are the slim folds of skin within the labia majora that enclose the vaginal and urethral openings. They protect the clitoris, urethra, and vulva and can be light to dark pink, brown, or purple. Like the labia majora, labia minora can also differ in size from person to person. Some labia minora hang down past the outer labia and others are so little they aren’t very visible. It is also possible for a person to have labia majoras that look different on each side.
- Clitoris: a large amount of the clitoris is internal but has a tiny external nubis (a small protrusion). Its appearance can be larger or smaller and is extremely sensitive making it suited for sexual stimulation. It contains similar nerve endings like the Glans penis in males.
- Clitoral hood: is the fold of skin surrounding the top of the clitoris that prevents it from too much stimulation and external irritation. It has glands to produce a lubricant called sebum that enables your hood to move smoothly over the glans and shaft of your clitoris. When sexually aroused, the glans clitoris engorges and swells up to move your hood to expose your glans.
- Urethral opening: is located below the clitoris and above the vaginal opening. It allows urine to be dispelled from your body through a tube connected to the bladder. Unlike males, females use their urethra only for urinating. It is about 4.8 cm wide to 5.1 cm long.
- Vaginal Opening: is the internal canal (where penises go in, you push babies out, and for some, where tampons go in) below the urethral opening. The vaginal opening can expand and contract but doesn’t stay stretched. The hymen is a thin tissue that partially covers the vaginal opening.
is the area between your vulva and your anus that can be referred to as the perineum. It has several nerve endings that are enjoyable when stimulated.
is an opening that allows feces to leave your body. It is usually covered in pubic hair after puberty.
Is a muscular tube that is exceptionally elastic and extends from the vaginal opening to the cervix. Its function is to allow menstrual blood to flow out, sexual intercourse, and childbirth. Its size is conditional on different circumstances such as between 6.98 and 8.25 cm long and narrow when unstimulated, can stretch between 10.79 and 12.06 cm long during sex and when giving birth, the tissues can expand enough to accommodate a baby.
It is a thin tissue surrounding the opening to the vagina. Most hymens are shaped like a half-moon which enables menstrual blood to leave the vagina. However, some hymens are shaped in a way that it can interfere with menstrual flow, wearing tampons, or having intercourse. It can get torn after the use of tampons, playing sports, or having intercourse for the first time. It is also possible not to have a hymen at all and therefore can’t be linked with virginity.
The common types of hymens are:
- Normal: usually half-moon-shaped opening.
- Cribriform: has several small openings through which menstrual blood and vaginal secretions can flow out but cannot allow tampons or have intercourse.
- Imperforate: has no opening at all and requires surgery to permit menstrual flow.
- Microperforate: has a very small opening through which menstrual blood may flow out but it doesn’t allow tampons to be inserted.
- Septate: is a thin strip of tissue in the center that allows menstrual flow but prevents the use of tampons.
is a narrow tube made of tissue that separates the vagina from the rest of the uterus. It allows for menstrual blood to leave the uterus and to pass through the vagina. It also enables the semen to move through the cervix and enter the uterus. During childbirth, it can expand to allow a baby to move through the vagina.
is a muscular organ that is hollow and located between the bladder and rectum in a womans’ pelvis. The lining of the uterus allows the egg to be fertilized and implanted. Its main purpose is to sustain the growing fetus prior to birth. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the uterine lining sheds (the menstrual period). The menstrual cycle length varies from one person to the other but typically happens every 28 days.
Are small circular organs that produce eggs attached to fallopian tubes on both sides of the body. However, not all females have two. They also produce hormones called estrogen (responsible for female physical features & reproduction) and progesterone (regulates menstruation and ovulation).
Are muscular tubes that join the ovaries to the uterus. The main purpose is to allow the egg to move towards the uterus for possible fertilization. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in this tube which can cause it to burst.