The female body

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Healthy sexual và reproductive organs are vital khổng lồ a woman"s sexual health. Learning about the functions of each organ & how these organs work together allows you khổng lồ be aware of your toàn thân & of any changes that might indicate a problem. This information can also help you choose a method of birth control or determine when is the best time to try and get pregnant.

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Learning about a woman"s sexual responses may also make you more comfortable with your toàn thân. If you understvà what happens khổng lồ your toàn thân when you are sexually excited, you may be able khổng lồ improve your sexual experiences.

A woman"s sexual responses change throughout her life cycle. In part, this is due khổng lồ her changing levels of experience and self-knowledge, but there are also physical changes as her body matures. Pregnancy and childbirth may have an impact on a woman"s sexual responses. Dealing with the physical & emotional changes associated with menopause is also an important part of a woman"s sexual health.

The reproductive sầu and sexual organs | The menstrual cycle | Female sexual response

The reproductive & sexual organs

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The internal organs

The largest organ in the female reproductive sầu system is the uterus. Most of the time it is relatively small, about the form size of your fist. In a normal pregnancy, the fetus develops within the uterus, stretching it lớn many times its normal kích cỡ. Visit the pregnancy virtual health centre lớn learn more about this topic.

On both sides of the uterus are pouches called ovaries. The ovaries contain unfertilized eggs or ova. When one of these ova (called an ovum) unites with a man"s sperm, it is fertilized and may eventually produce a child.

A girl"s ovaries begin releasing ova at puberty prompting the start of her menstrual cycles.

When the ovaries stop producing ova, a woman has reached menopause. Tubes attached to the ovaries called Fallopian tubes allowing the ovum lớn travel khổng lồ the uterus.

The vagina connects the uterus to the outside of the body. This passage has several important functions for women:

a man"s penis may enter a woman"s vagimãng cầu during sex (Vaginal penetration by a penis is called intercourse. Intercourse is the most probable way for a woman lớn become pregnant. Fingers or other clean objects may also enter the vagina during sexual play. Each woman is chất lượng in her enjoyment of sexual intercourse. Deciding what gives us pleasure is an important part of learning about our sexual selves).menstrual blood is carried out of the body through the vaginawhen a baby is delivered normally, it passes through the vagina

When the vagina of an adult woman is healthy, it contains many types of harmless bacteria. Some of these bacteria are similar to lớn those found on the skin, but other bacteria called lactobacilli are found mainly in the vagina. These bacteria help protect the vagimãng cầu from infections with yeast & other bacteria.

The connection between the uterus và the vagimãng cầu is called the cervix. This is a narrow opening, which helps protect the uterus from outside contaminants.

The external organs

The clitoris is the reproductive organ most involved in sexual pleasure. The top part of the clitoris is a short protrusion above sầu the vaginal opening. However, most of the clitoris is inside the body. Its tip is very sensitive sầu, so the clitoris is protected by a flap of skin called the hood. Blood rushes khổng lồ the clitoris when a woman is sexually aroused, making it the most important organ for female sexual response.

Between the clitoris & the vagimãng cầu is the tiny opening connected khổng lồ the urethra. A woman urinates from this opening.

Folds of skin called the labia protect the clitoris and the vaginal opening.

The menstrual cycle

Changes in a woman"s hormones that happen every month direct her body khổng lồ release a tiny egg or ovum. The different stages in the production of this ovum are used to lớn describe a woman"s menstrual cycle. On average, the body toàn thân produces an ovum once every 28 days và this is the average length of a menstrual cycle. Some women have longer or shorter cycles.

A woman"s menstrual cycle begins with her period. To measure your own menstrual cycle, record the date of the first day you see blood during your period. The time from the first bleeding day of one period khổng lồ the first bleeding day of the next period is the length of your menstrual cycle.

Women usually begin having periods in their early teens, but a woman"s periods can start as early as age 9 or as late as 16 or 17. Having a period means that a woman"s menstrual cycles have sầu begun và that she can become pregnant if the ovum she releases combines with a man"s sperm.

Changes in your cycle

Sometimes a woman"s cycles are irregular, which means they come at a different time every month. This is particularly common for teenagers, however, most women miss a period or experience other variations in their cycle at some point in their lives. You might miss a period because:

you are pregnantyour body toàn thân is still maturingyou are under bức xúc at work, trang chính or schoolyou are approaching menopauseyou"ve sầu been exercising vigorouslyyou"ve sầu lost a lot of weight in a short period of timeyou have sầu a hooc môn disorderyou"ve sầu been using prescription or street drugs

Although some of these changes are part of a woman"s natural life cycle it is always wise khổng lồ discuss changes in your menstrual cycle with your doctor.

The stages of the menstrual cycle

Two important hormones govern the menstrual cycle:

estrogenprogesterone

Hormones are chemical messengers, which the toàn thân uses to lớn sover instructions from one part of the body to another. The levels of estrogene and progesterone signal the changes that happen during the menstrual cycle. It is important lớn remember that these hormones also influence other parts of the body toàn thân. For example, estroren helps a woman retain calcium in her bones. The influence of these hormones is also thought to lớn cause many of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

A woman"s menstrual cycle is said to lớn begin on the first day of her bleeding. A woman"s menstrual cycle only occurs if she is not pregnant.

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Day 1

estrogene and progesterone levels are at their lowest levelthe inner lining of the uterus, or endometrium is discharged as menstrual bloodthe unfertilized ovum produced in the last cycle is also discharged

Day 2-12

menstruation continues for three khổng lồ six days for most womenwhen menstruation begins, a new ovum begins lớn mature in the ovariesthe sac around the maturing ovum produces estrogen, increasing the levels in the bodyincreasing estrogene levels prompt the uterine lining lớn thicken beginning around day nine. If a woman becomes pregnant this nutrient-rich lining supports the developing embryo.

Ovulation

estrogene levels peekaround Day 14 the sac containing the mature ovum, splits open releasing it from the ovaryThis is called ovulation. Some women feel a slight pain when this occurs. This is called a mittelschmerz. Some women also have spotting (light bleeding) at this time.the endometrium continues lớn thicken

Days 15-22

the empty sac left in the ovary begins to produce both estroren & progesterone This sac is called the corpus leuteum.the uterine lining continues lớn thicken thanks to estrogene produced in the ovarythe ovum travels from the ovary down the fallopian tubeIf the egg is going khổng lồ be fertilized (unite with a sperm) it is likely to lớn happen now. When a fertilized egg reaches the uterus, high levels of estrogene & progesterone signal the uterine lining khổng lồ allow it to lớn implant on the wall of the uterus.

Day 22 - Day 1 of next cycle

around this time the corpus luteum stops producing estroren and progesteroneIf the egg has not been fertilized, levels of both estrogen và progesterone will begin lớn drop.blood vessels in the uterine wall contract & spasm due to the laông chồng of estroren & progesteronethe uterine lining is shed as menstrual blood beginning the first day of the new cycle

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a poorly defined condition used lớn describe symptoms, which occur after ovulation & before a woman"s period. They are usually most intense in the week just before a woman"s period when the levels of estrogene và progesterone are the lowest. Symptoms include:

abdominal bloatingirritabilitymood swingsheadacheweight gainfatiguefood cravingstensionbreast swellingbackache

Many women experience some of these symptoms.

Some illnesses may become worse during the two weeks before a woman"s period. This is known as "menstrual magnification." Illnesses where this occurs include:

depressionmigraine headachesseizure disordersirritable bowel syndromeasthmachronic fatigue syndromeallergies

These conditions should be ruled out before a diagnosis of PMS is made. If PMS-like symptoms occur outside of the two-weeks before your period, you doctor should kiểm tra for other illnesses.

Treatment

Changes in a woman"s diet and lifestyle may help relieve sầu the symptoms of PMS. Here are some things that retìm kiếm has shown may improve sầu PMS symptoms:

aerobic exercisea complex carbohydrate diet that involves whole grains like brown flour và ricevitamin supplements of calcium, magnesium and/or Vi-Ta-Min E

Other changes in a woman"s diet may help, such as eating more fruits và vegetables or eating less:

fatsugarsaltcaffeinealcohol

Some women have sầu found herbs such as evening primrose oil or chasteberry helpful.

For women with serious symptoms, particularly mood changes, a group of antidepressant drugs known as SSRIs may be useful.

Birth-control pills are sometimes prescribed khổng lồ treat PMS to lớn increase hormone levels. This is for women with primarily physical symptoms. There is little evidence to lớn tư vấn this approach.

More about periods

Menstrual periods usually last from three to five days, but periods as short as two days or as long as seven may be normal for you. Menstrual flow is usually heaviest in the first two days. It is not unusual for menstrual fluid lớn contain small clots.

Most women have sầu some occasional pain or discomfort during their period. Typical symptoms include:

crampsbackacheheadachenauseafatiguediarrhea

Of these symptoms, cramps are the most common, particularly for young women. Cramps are most often felt in the lower abdomen but may also occur in the lower back or spread down the legs. The medical term for menstrual cramps is dysmenorrhea.

Mild menstrual cramps can be treated in a number of ways. Here are some possibilities:

carefully use a hot water bottle or heating pad on the area where you feel the crampexercise may increase blood flow and help release natural painkillersreducing the salternative text in your diet may decrease water retention and bloatingnon-prescription painkillers may helpover-the-counter medications specifically for menstrual cramps may help

There are many over-the-counter drugs sold for menstrual cramps. The drugs used in each formula vary so read the label carefully và try to lớn find the product that best matches your symptoms. Some women find that non-specific painkillers such as acetaminophen và ibuprofen are just as effective sầu và are cheaper.

If you have sầu serious cramps that interrupt your life on a regular basis you should see a doctor. Severe menstrual cramps may be a sign of more serious conditions lượt thích endometriosis (particularly if they start after you are 25). If there is no problem other than cramping, your doctor can prescribe painkillers or birth control pills that may relieve sầu your symptoms.

Either pads or tampons can be used lớn capture the menstrual blood. Some women choose to use menstrual sponges, or menstrual cups, which are made of rubber. Both of these products can be inserted like tampons và removed và rinsed every four to lớn six hours. Menstrual sponges should be boiled for five to lớn ten minutes between each period. You should use whatever method is most comfortable và convenient for you.

Toxic shochồng syndrome

Women who use tampons may be at increased risk of a rare but serious illness called toxic shoông xã syndrome (TSS). This syndrome is caused by a bacterial infection. If you experience symptoms of toxic shochồng during your period or in the few days immediately afterward, remove sầu your tampon and visit a doctor or emergency room immediately. Symptoms include:

sudden high fever--39 degrees Celsius(102 F) or highervomitingdiarrheamuscle achesdizziness, fainting, or near fainting when standing upa rash that looks like a sunburn

You can reduce your risk of toxic shoông xã syndrome by doing the following:

use the lowest absorbency tampon possiblechange your tampon every 6-8 hoursalternate between pads và tamponswash your hands before changing your tampon

Female sexual response

Four stages are used to lớn describe the physical changes that happen when a woman is sexually excited. These changes may occur when a woman masturbates or when she is sexually active sầu with another person. What is exciting is unique khổng lồ each woman. Some women are aroused when their breasts are fondled; other women hate this kind of touching. Learning what kind of physical contact you enjoy is an important part of learning about your sexual self. When you have sầu sex with another person, there are also many emotional và social factors that will affect your physical experience.

You may not experience all four stages every time you are sexually active sầu. Most women find there are many times when sexual play involves only the first one or two stages. Some women never or rarely have orgasms. Both physical and social/emotional issues can be barriers to a woman"s sexual response.

Stage one: excitementThis stage can last anywhere from a few minutes lớn several hours. Sexual activity during this stage is often called fotrả lời. Extending fotrả lời can sometimes make the other stages more intense. During this stage:

the blood flow to the genitals increasesthe clitoris swellsthe vagina begins to lubricate (get wet and slippery)blood flow to a woman"s breasts increases and her nipples may get hardheart rate and blood pressure increasebreathing may speed up

Stage two: plateauDuring this stage:

due lớn increased blood flow, the outer third of the vagimãng cầu swells and the genitals appear darkerthe clitoris is very sensitive sầu và retracts beneath its hoodheart rate, blood pressure & breathing continue khổng lồ increasemuscle tension increases và spasms may occur in the feet, face & hands

Stage three: orgasmThis stage is also called the climax. During this stage:

muscles in the outer third of the vagimãng cầu contract in a rapid series of pulsesthe first contractions are the most intense and the closest togetherthe muscles in the uterus also contractheart rate, blood pressure and breathing are at their highest ratethe skin may appear red or flushed (this may begin in earlier stages)

Orgasm is the shorchạy thử of the four stages, usually measured in seconds.

Just before or during orgasm, some women release a clear fluid from their urethra. This is now commonly called female ejaculation. Most researchers (và women!) believe sầu that this is not urine, but instead a clear fluid similar lớn the fluid containing a man"s sperm. Ejaculation is most likely to occur when a woman is being penetrated vaginally and pressure is being applied khổng lồ the top wall of the vagina. This is where the bachồng of the clitoris meets the wall of the vagimãng cầu & is sometimes called the G-spot.

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Stage four: resolutionDuring this stage:

a woman"s clitoris and nipples get softthe vagina and genitals return to lớn their normal form size và colourbreathing, heart rate & blood pressure decreases

This process typically takes longer for women than men, although some women may be able khổng lồ return lớn the plateau stage at this point.


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