Think you know everything there is to know about a woman's body? You may be surprised. Here's a rundown of female body parts and how they work, from YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life, by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.
And don't miss my LIVE chat with Dr. Oz on Mondays with Marlo on Monday, June 13, 2011. Ask him your questions in advance here.
Labia: the outside "lips" of the genital area; they can look different from woman to woman, and they actually evolved as a way to protect a woman's private parts. The labia may hang low, past the length of the pubic hair, or remain close to the vagina, surrounded by pubic hair. If a lip of your vagina is long enough to get caught in your panties, this is worth bringing to your doc's attention.
Clitoris: a tiny and sensitive nub of flesh that has many nerve endings and is associated with sensations of pleasure. A woman's clitoris can become engorged with blood when excited, similar to the penis getting erect. Granted, a clitoris is much smaller, but it has just as many nerve endings, and stimulation of this area feels good to most women.
The vagina itself: an approximately six-inch opening lined with moisture-secreting cells, made of really stretchy skin. That stretchy skin enables the vagina to accommodate a tampon or a penis, or pass a baby during delivery, ideally, with enough lubrication so that the tissue doesn't tear.
Cervix: a doughnut-shaped tube at the end of the vagina connecting the uterus to the vagina.
Uterus: the organ often called the womb, where a baby grows. It lies between the cervix and the fallopian tubes, in the lower part of the pelvis, above the vagina.
Fallopian tubes: the highway for eggs (ova) from ovaries to the uterus.
Ovaries: where immature eggs are stored and mature eggs are released from approximately once a month.
As different as the male and female reproductive systems are, it is very interesting to note that they share similarities. For instance, both become engorged with blood during sex, and the clitoris and tip of the penis are loaded with nerve endings.
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