The Female Reproductive Tract
The female reproductive tract is all located within the pelvis. It is made up of the vulva, the vagina, the cervix, the uterus, the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. These organs are supported in the pelvis by ligaments.
The vulva refers to the external female genitalia. Its anatomical structure can be broken down further into the mons pubis, labia majora and minora, vestibule, Bartholin’s glands and clitoris.
The vagina is a distensible muscular tube which connects the uterus and cervix to the external vaginal orifice. It sits posteriorly to the bladder and urethra and anteriorly to the rectum and anal canal. The vagina is involved in sexual intercourse, childbirth and menstruation.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, just superior to the vagina. At each end is a cervical os, a narrow opening into the uterus and vagina either side. It facilitates the passage of sperm whilst maintaining a sterile environment in the upper female reproductive system.
The uterus, commonly referred to as the womb, is the location of normal implantation of an early embryo. It has a large variation of positions within the pelvis, described by its degree of anteversion or retroversion, and anteflexion or retroflexion.
The fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus, and therefore have the function of transport of the ovum towards the uterus. Their length is split into sections: the fimbriae, infundibulum, ampulla and isthmus.
The ovaries are the female gonads, and so are the site of gametogenesis. They sit laterally to the uterus, and closely adjacent to the fimbriae of the fallopian tubes.
There are many ligaments of the female reproductive tract which support the organs of the female reproductive tract and also act as a conduit for neurovascular structures supplying these.
In this section, learn more about the female reproductive tract, including the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and the ligaments of the female reproductive tract.