Anatomy of the Female Reproductive System

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Diagram of Follicular Development:

Follicular Development

Corpus luteum:

• Secretes estrogen and progesterone.

• Ovum not fertilized: corpus luteum degenerates.

• Ovum fertilized: corpus luteum persists until 12th week and then degenerates; placenta takes over production of progesterone.

Regions of Fallopian Tube:

• Infundibulum.

• Ampulla: fertilization takes place here.

• Isthmus.

Folliular development: First to last stage.

• Primordial follicle.

• Primary follicle (pre- pubertal; arrested in prophase of meiosis I).

• Secondary oocyte within mature (graafian) follicle; secretes estrogen.

• Secondary oocyte (post- pubertal; arrested in metaphase of meiosis II) released from ruptured follicle.

• Early corpus luteum.

• Mature corpus luteum.

• Corpus albicans.

Ampulla of Fallopian tube:

• Fertilization.

• Frequent ectopic pregnancy.

Menstrual cycle:

Menstrual stage: 1-3 days

• 3-5 days; menstrual flow.

Proliferative (estrogenic) stage: 4-14 days

• Continues through 13-14th day; endometrial regrowth.

• Depends on estrogen.

• Succeeds menstrual flow and precedes ovulation.

Secretory phase: 15-27 days

• Endometrial hypertrophy; increased vascularity and edema.

• Depends on progesterone.

Premensrual (ischemic) phase: 28th day

• Anoxia and ischemia.

No fertilization:

• Corpus luteum degenerates; progesterone and estrogen levels drop.


• See Notes on Embryology.

Placental barrier:

• Blood-blood barrier formed by cytotrophoblast, syncytiotrophoblast, basement membrane, and fetal capillary circulation.

Vaginal changes due to estrogen levels.

• Estrogenic phase: lower pH by bacterial lactic acid.

• Postestrogenic phase: increased pH increases risk for infection; blastocyst implantation during pregnancy.

Additional Notes:

• Esophagus possesses submucosal glands, while vagina does not; that's the only difference between the esophagus and vagina.

• Gravid uterus: uterus of pregnancy.

• Stratum functionalis, which grows over stratum basalis of uterus, degenerates after menstrual cycle if ovum is not fertilized.

• Suspensory ligament: carries ovarian artery, vein, and nerves to and from the ovary.

• Ovary primarily supported by mesovarium.

• Stratum basalis of uterus is supplied by straight arteries.

• Round ligament found within broad ligament.

Additional Reading:

Histology and Cytology

1. Cell Components
2. Nervous Tissue
3. Muscle Tissue
4. Lymphoid Tissue
5. Integument
6. Respiratory System
7. Gastrointestinal System
8. Renal/Urinary System
9. Male Reproductive System
10. Female Reproductive System

Gross Anatomy

1. Back and Nervous System
2. Thorax
3. Abdomen, Pelvis, and Perineum
4. Upper Limb
5. Lower Limb
6. Head and Neck
7. Chest Wall
8. Shoulder

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1. Video of HEENT Examination in a Clinical Setting

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