Here is our quick overview of female anatomy
On the outside
Labia majora (Large Lips): These surround and protect the other external reproductive organs. During puberty, hair grows on the skin of the labia majora.
Labia minora (Small Lips): These lie inside the labia majora and surround the vagina and the urethra. The labia minora can come in a variety of different sizes and shapes.
Urethral Opening: The opening of the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside.
Clitoris: This is the female version of a penis, it is a small, very sensitive protrusion which is found where the two labia minora meet. A fold of skin covers it and when a woman is aroused it becomes erect.
Vaginal Opening: This is the opening of the vagina, which leads to the uterus. This is where the penis is inserted during sexual intercourse and how a period/menstrual exits the body.
There are so many different shapes and forms of vagina that are still very much ‘normal’. If you feel something is not correct or is worrying you, please see a doctor.
On the inside
Vagina: The vagina is a canal that joins the cervix (the lower part of uterus) to the outside of the body. It’s sometimes also called the birth canal.
Hymen: The hymen is a thin piece of tissue, which partially lines the vaginal opening. It can be any size or shape. During first sexual intercourse the hymen is stretched out of the way, or the hymen can also be “broken” when a girl is younger during physical activity or using a tampon.
Uterus (womb): The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ, which is normally about the size of a fist. It is the home to a developing fetus (baby). The uterus can easily expand to hold a developing baby. The lower part of the uterus is called the cervix; sperm passes through this and meets the egg during conception. It can also dilate during labor to allow a baby to pass through during birth.
Ovaries: The ovaries are small, oval-shaped pockets that are located on either side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs each menstrual cycle and hormones.
Fallopian tubes: These are narrow tubes that form the pathway for egg cells to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. It is here that sperm normally fertilizes the egg cells. The fertilized egg then moves to the uterus, where it implants into the uterine lining.
Uterine Lining: This is the made up of blood and tissue which builds up every menstrual cycle (month) and is shed as a period. This is where a fertilized egg will implant and a baby will develop.
What happens in my reproductive organs?
Girls generally begin menstruating (having periods) at any age between 9 and 16 years old.
Periods normally happen about once every month, but hormones, which are different in everyone, can cause periods to happen more or less frequently.
The menstrual cycle is the monthly cycle, including a period. Each month an egg is released from the ovary and the uterine lining builds up to allow the egg to implant if it is fertilized by a sperm. The uterine lining is renewed and sheds every month to create the best possible environment for a pregnancy to begin and a baby to develop.
When an egg is not fertilized the uterine lining is not needed that month. When the body realizes this, the uterus then contracts to remove the lining, which leaves through the vagina as a period.
Each girl is born with around 1 million eggs in their ovaries. During a woman’s lifetime they release 300 to 400 eggs, one per month.
Disclaimer: We realise that not all females are born with a vagina and the correlating reproductive organs. This is a quick overview intended for young people to understand the basics. We apologise for any offence as a pro-trans* organisation.