Reproductive Parts: Definitions
Anatomy is about bodies. When we study female anatomy, we study how the female body is made, and how it functions. The "reproductive system" is just like the other systems in your body —your skeletal (bone) system, muscle system, and respiratory (breathing) system. The reproductive system is how humans have sex, get pregnant and give birth. Each part of the system does a different thing, but it all works together. First we'll start with a list of the external, reproductive parts of the body. External means outside —these are the reproductive parts of the anatomy that are outside the female body. Mons pubis (Mons PEW-bis) — The mons pubis is the fatty tissue that covers your pubic bone. (The pubic bone is at the top of your pubic area, between your legs. After puberty, it is covered with thick hair [pubic hair]). Vulva (VUL-vuh) — This is the name for all of the external reproductive parts of your reproductive system: the labia, vaginal opening, and hymen. Labia (LAY-be-uh) — These folds of skin, or lips, cover your vaginal opening. Clitoris (CLIT-or-is) — The clitoris is a small, firm organ at the top of the vulva. Stimulation of the clitoris is associated with sexual pleasure for some women. Vaginal Opening (VAJ-in-ul) — This is the opening of the vagina, the passageway that leads to the reproductive organs inside your body (see How Reproduction Works). The vaginal opening is where menstrual blood and vaginal discharge leave the body, and where a tampon is inserted for menstrual protection; it's also the "birth canal" where a baby passes through during delivery. Hymen (HI-min) — The hymen is a thin, delicate membrane (a membrane is like skin but much thinner). It partially covers the opening of the vagina in most girls. Urethra (You-REE-thruh) — This is the small opening above the vaginal opening where urine leaves your body. (Although the urethra is near the reproductive system, it is not part of it.) Anus (A-niss) — This opening is where bowel movements leave your body when you go to the bathroom. It is not part of the reproductive system. Perineum (Per-in-EE-um) — The perineum is the area between the vagina and the anus. Bartholin's glands (BAR-tho-linz glans) —Bartholin's glands cannot be seen or felt because they are under skin. These two glands help keep the vaginal opening moist. An important note about keeping clean The urethra, the small opening where you urinate from, and the anus, the small opening in the back where you go to the bathroom, are actually pretty close together. Because the anus is where your body lets go of solid waste, it can contain bacteria that can cause infections. It is important to keep those bacteria away from your urethra and your vaginal opening. Here's how to do that: When you use the toilet, wipe the toilet paper from the front of the body to the back. When you take a bath or shower, wipe with a washcloth or soapy hand the same way —from front to back. Be sure to wash the entire area with soap and water every day.
Find info about reproductive parts and get helpful puberty information at BeingGirl.com.