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REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM

A precise knowledge of sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology is necessary for you to be able to interact with our child to discuss sexual and reproductive health issues. You may find that young people not being aware of appropriate terminology might use some slang or indirect words when discussing the genital structures. Instead of condemning or ridiculing their terms, it might help you to know them, which will help you communicate with them at their level and share the right technical terms.

Female Reproductive System
The female reproductive system consists of external and internal genitals. The external female genitals consist of:

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Mons veneris (Mount of Venus) : Means the 'mountain of love'. It is a fatty cushion resting over the front surface of the hip bone. It is a protective cushion for the female reproductive organs. At puberty, hair covers the mons veneris.
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Labia majora (Outer lips) : These are the outer lips made up of fatty folds of skin, surrounding the opening of the vagina.
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Labia minora (Inner lips) : Are two thinner folds of skin, situated in between the labia majora. They extend backwards from the clitoris on either side of the vaginal opening.
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Clitoris : Is an erectile hooded organ, very rich in blood vessels and nerve endings at the upper joining of the labia minora. It is extremely sensitive to stimulation and its sole function is to provide sexual pleasure.
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Vestibule of the vagina : Is the area covered by the labia minora, which include openings of vagina and urethra as well as the bartholins glands. The vaginal opening is situated between the urethral opening in front and the anal opening behind.
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Bartholins glands : Are two small round structures at 4 o' clock and 7 o' clock position on either side of the vaginal opening. They secrete a vaginal fluid providing vaginal lubrication during sexual arousal.

The internal female genitals consist of:
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The vagina : Is a muscular, very strong, extremely stretchy tube, leading from the vestibule of the vagina to the uterus. The soft collapsed wall of the vagina can accommodate a penis of any size during intercourse, and also allows a baby to pass through it, at the time of delivery. It also acts as an exit channel for the menstrual flow. It is made up of soft folds of skin, which tend to smoothen, as a woman grows old. But a young girl's vagina is thin and cannot stretch very much so the vagina can be torn by a forced sexual intercourse or can tear or burst during childbirth. So it is advisable that adolescent girls prevent childbirth.

At puberty, a thick and sticky vaginal discharge is produced and its purpose is to keep the vagina clean and to maintain the proper environment in which good bacteria that prevents infection grows.
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The cervix : This is the lower part of the uterus, which protrudes in the vagina. It has a very small opening through which only menstrual blood can come down or only sperm cells can go up. The cervix only opens during childbirth, so that the baby can come down from the uterus into the vagina and out of the body. The surface of the cervix is very delicate and can get damaged or infected by bacteria and viruses, that may enter the body through sexual intercourse.
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The uterus : Is a pear shaped thick walled muscular organ, about 3 inches in length. This is the site where the fertilized egg gets implanted, where the baby (foetus) grows during pregnancy. It is the lining of the uterus which is shed during menstruation.
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Fallopian tubes : These are a pair of tubes on either side of the uterus, about four inches in length, connecting the ovaries to the uterus. It is in these tubes the male and the female egg unite by the process of fertilization to form the embryo which travels through the tube to the uterus.
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The ovaries : They are two oval sex glands situated on either side of the uterus, at the end of the fallopian tube. The ovaries produce :
The female germ cell or ova. About 350-500 ova are expelled by the ovaries in a lifetime at the rate of 1-2 mature ova per month.
The hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are responsible for the sexual characters, and also interplay with other hormones is responsible for the menstrual cycle.

Male Reproductive System
The external male genitals consist of :
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The penis : Is made of three spongy tubes that fill with blood when a man is sexually excited. The head of the penis is called the glans penis and is sensitive as it has the most nerve endings. It is covered by a foreskin (prepuce) in men who are not circumcised. Tiny glands are situated here and discharge secretions on to the glans penis. It is a thick cheese like substance called smegma, which has a foul odour, and should be cleaned regularly by retracting the foreskin..
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The scrotum : Is a pouch of skin containing the testes and hangs directly under the penis. The testes in the scrotum have a temperature of 1.5 - 2 degree centigrade lower than the body, which is necessary for production of sperms or the male germ cells.