Your Guide to Puberty, Menstruation & More
Words You Should Know
Reproductive (ree-pro- DUC-tiv): The system within your pelvic region that creates and
supports new life
Puberty (PYOO-ber- tee): The age when your reproductive organs become “activated,”
creating the start of periods, the growth of pubic hair, and many other changes in the body
Cycle (CY-cul): Not something you ride – It’s when an event or situation repeats itself in the
exact same way over the same period of time
Menstruation (men-stroo- ay-shun): the process of shedding bits of endometrial lining and
blood from your uterus, once a month, upon reaching puberty
Ovaries (oh-vur- ees): You have two ovaries that contain hundreds of undeveloped
female egg cells or ova that you were born with. They also produce the
hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
Fallopian (fa-low- pian) tubes (oviduct): Connect each ovary to the uterus. They
have cilia, which are hair-like structures that help the egg that is released from an ovary
every month to be pushed through the tube into the uterus.
Uterus (you-tuh- ris) (womb): A muscular bag where a baby develops until birth. This is also
where the uterine lining is that sheds during your period.
Cervix (sir-vix): A cylindrical muscle at the lower part of the uterus. It is the opening to your
Vagina (va-jy- nuh): A 4-6 inch long muscular “portal” that connects the cervix to the outside
of the woman’s body. This is where a baby passes through and where menstrual leaves the
Mons Pubis: A fatty layer of tissue that covers the pelvic bone.
Labia: Two pairs of skin flaps that protect the vaginal opening from foreign particles.
Urethra: A canal that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Hymen: A thin sheet of tissue which partially covers the opening of the vagina.
Clitoris: A sensory organ located at the top of where the folds of the labia join
Vulva: Soft and padded, your vulva is the area surrounding the outside of your vagina and extending up to your mons pubis.
Labia Majora: This is the skin directly around your vagina, often referred to as the outer vaginal lips. Pubic hair can grow here once puberty starts.
Labia Minora: These are also known as inner vaginal lips. The labia minora are like the innermost petals of a flower – folds of super soft skin that cover your vagina. Every girl is different, some labia minora are tucked into the labia majora and others may be more visible.
Female Reproductive Organs
A woman’s pelvis holds a unique and powerful gift: the possibility of life! This section is about the parts within your pelvic region having to do with periods and babies – in proper terms, reproduction.
The first thing you may notice, if you look at the drawing below, is each part within the pelvis is beautifully symmetrical. That means that what appears on one side, also appears as a mirror image on the other side.
This is especially true when you look at the Ovaries and Fallopian Tubes.
Ovaries: Two almond-sized “purses” or glands that contain at least a million teeny tiny eggs from Day One of your life.
Fallopian Tubes: 4-5-inch-long tubes through which an egg travels from either one of your ovaries, into your uterus, each month.
Endometrium: This is the lining that acts both as padding and as a nourishment for a growing baby – or it comes loose and sheds each month when you menstruate. The muscles in a female’s uterus are powerful and are able to expand to allow the uterus to accommodate a growing fetus and then help push the baby out during labor.
Want to know more anatomy? Check out bybconversations.com for posts on the digestive tract, urinary tract, and pelvic bone structure.