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Chapter 4 - Female Anatomy

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Female Anatomy
The Vulva
A female’s external genitals,
which include:
the mons veneris – a triangular mound of
tissue located over the pubic bone, covered
with pubic hair, and loaded with nerve
endings
the labia majora – the outer lips
the labia minora – the inner lips
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The Clitoris
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Analogous to the male penis
Covered by the clitoral hood
Fills with blood once aroused
Extremely sensitive – orgasmic
Exists to give sexual pleasure, nothing else
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The hymen – tissue which covers the vaginal
opening
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Intact at marriage? – in some societies a matter
of great concern
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The perineum – an area of smooth skin located
between the vagina and the anus
The Vagina
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A stretchable canal opening at the vulva and
extending into the pelvis
A glove-like “potential” space
Three layers of tissue – all flush with blood
vessels
Vaginal layers
1)
2)
3)
the mucosa – moist tissue, mucous
membrane
Muscle tissue – concentrated around the
opening
Fibrous tissue
Lubrication
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Essential, easily overlooked, vulnerable to
disruption by medications
Should occur within 10-30 seconds of
arousal
Caused by vasocongestion – the
engorgement of blood vessels from sexual
arousal
Why so important?
Alkalinizes the vagina so that sperm
can survive
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The Mysterious “G Spot”
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A system of glands and ducts located in the
front wall of the vagina
The female equivalent to the male prostate
gland?
Some women report exquisite sensitivity
when stimulated:
Arousal, orgasm, even ejaculation
Others do not
Vaginal Health Concerns
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Urinary Tract Infections
Common and potentially dangerous
Symptoms:
increased need to urinate
burning sensation when urinating
blood or pus in urine
lower pelvic pain
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Diagnosis – urinalysis
Best treated with antibiotics
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Cause?
1) bacteria entering through urethra usually
through coitus
2) poor hygiene
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Must be wiped from front to back
Prevention
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Washing thoroughly every day
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Changing positions for coitus
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Drinking lots of liquids, especially cranberry
juice
Vaginitis
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An inflammation of the vaginal walls, usually
caused by yeast or bacterial infection
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Symptoms:
itching or irritation
strange discharge
sometimes an unpleasant odor
Contributing Factors
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Diabetes
Antibiotics
Increased stress levels
Hormone changes
Coitus without sufficient lubrication
Panty hose – three times more infections
retain heat and moisture
Prevention of Vaginitis
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Essential to treat and cure due to increased
risk of cancer
Well balanced diet
Enough sleep, exercise
Proper hygiene – washing, wiping, cotton –
as compared to panty hose
Avoiding feminine hygiene sprays
Adequate lubrication
The Breasts
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Secondary sexual characteristics
Composed of fatty tissue and the mammary
(milk) gland
Budding is the first sign of oncoming puberty
Great variation with regard to sexual
stimulation
Size
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Size depends on abundance of fatty tissue,
not the mammary gland – every woman can
produce plenty of milk
Considerable variation in size, even on the
same woman
Also, menstruation, pregnancy, nursing, etc.
influence
Breast Cancer
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Mammography – an x-ray test to detect
cancer
Can detect years before other methods
Significant decrease in mortality with early
detection
Still quite imprecise – occasional misses and
false positives
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Some have a genetic marker which allows for
early preventative measures
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In 1998 an antiestrogen medication called
tamoxifen was discovered which can help
prevent breast cancer
Unfortunately, its use can cause significant sideeffects
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Breast Lumps
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Usually cysts or fibroadenomas (solid,
rounded tumors) and benign
But some are malignant tumors
11% of American women affected
190,000 diagnosed/year
40,000 die/year
risk increases with age
Risk Factors
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Menstruation before 12
No or late pregnancies
Never breast fed
Late onset of menopause
Obesity/lack of exercise, heavy-fat diet
Family history
Heavy alcohol use
But 80% have NO risk factors
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