Anatomy & Physiology
Anatomically, the female reproductive system consists of essential and accessory organs. The ovaries are essential to the production of eggs and hormones that initiate female secondary sexual charact
eristics and maintain normal reproductive function. The Fallopian tubes conduct the egg or (fertilized egg, the zygote) from the ovary to the uterus that is monthly changed into a habitable place for a fertilized egg. The cervix (narrowest portion of the uterus) serves as a gatekeeper to the body of the uterus. The vagina opens to the exterior in association with the external genitalia. Accessory glands participate in normal reproductive function. These include glands that produce mucus to lubricate the vagina and urethral opening.
Hormonal imbalance or fluctuations occur naturally, however there are symptoms of hormonal imbalance influence by stress and other factors that we cannot control. By understanding the different causes of hormonal imbalance, we can prevent it before we experience the symptoms. Hormonal imbalance can also cause Erectile Dysfunction for both men and women.
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These small oval-shaped glands are located on either side of the uterus supported by several ligaments. The ovary consists of 3 areas: 1) cortex, 2) medulla, 3) hilum. The cortex contains supportive cells, blood vessels, and developing follicles. The medulla contains connective tissue, smooth muscle, blood and lymph vessels and nerves. Nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue are found in the innermost portion, the hilum. The ovaries produce eggs(ova) and hormones.
The pear-shaped uterus opens to the vagina at the cervix and then widens toward the top where the Fallopian tubes enter the uterus. The uterus is a very muscular organ containing 3 layers of tissues. The interior layer, the endometrium, changes in thickness and secretory capability due to the influence of ovarian hormones over the course of the menstrual cycle. The myometrium, or muscle, is comp
These narrow muscular tubes are attached to the upper outer angles of the uterus and serve as tunnels for the egg (ova) to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Ova are captured by the infundibulum which
This muscular canal extends from the midpoint of the cervix to its opening located between the urethra and rectum. The mucous membrane lining the vagina and musculature are continuous with the uterus. The epithelium lining the vagina thickens and produces lubricating substances in response to estrogen. These secretions aid in sexual intercourse.
The breasts are milk producing glands located over the pectoral muscles consisting of a nipple, lobes, ducts and fibrous and fatty tissue. The nipple is surrounded by a pigmented, circular area (areola) and contains ductal openings. Nipple erection is produced with stimulation. The 15 to 25 lobes of each breast are further divided in lobules that are separated and supported by fibrous tissue. Each lobule contains small saclike aveoli surrounded by milk producing cells and small muscular cells. The muscular cells contract to express the milk during lactation. The lobules are drained by ducts that empty into a larger reservoir that lies just below the nipple. Reproductive hormones are important in the development of the breast in puberty and in lactation. Estrogen promotes the growth of the gland and ducts while progesterone stimulates the development of milk producing cells. Prolactin, released from the anterior pituitary, stimulates milk production. Oxytocin, released from the posterior pituitary in response to suckling, causes milk ejection from the lactating breast.
The first change to herald the coming of reproductive capability in females is the development of breasts. This is followed by the growth of axillary (underarm) and pubic (groin) hair and finally by the first menstrual period. Intitial periods are usually anovulatory (i.e. no egg released) with regular ovulation occurring within a year. The age at the time of puberty is variable. In the U.S. puberty occurs in girls around the age of 8 to age 13. Because of the individual variability in the onset of puberty, a delay cannot be considered pathological until menstruation has not begun sometime before the age of 17. Sometimes the delay is called primary amenorrhea and can be due to emotional stress, poor nutrition, weight loss or intensive athletic training.
Hormones & The Cycle
Females have four major hormones involved in the menstrual cycle: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen (estradiol) and progesterone. FSH and LH are protein hormones produced by cells of the anterior pituitary within the brain, in response to small peptide hormones f
After ovulation (at the midpoint of the cycle), under the influence of LH, these same follicul
The menstrual cycle can be divided into three phases: the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase, and the luteal phase. The follicular phase begins with the first day of menses (menstrual flow) and continues to approximately day 13 or 14 when ovulation takes place. During the follicular phase, FSH and LH are slowly rising in preparation for the LH surge (very high level of LH) at the time of ovulation. FSH is stimulating the growth of follicles in the ovary. Estrogen and progesterone are relatively low throughout this time but slowly begin to rise toward the end of this phase.
LH surges and peaks during the ovulatory phase (around day 14) and estrogen peaks at the
After the egg is released, the remainder of the follicle stays intact in the ovary and produces both estrogen and progesterone. This is called the corpus luteum (hence the luteal phase). The corpus luteum remains intact for the remainder of the cycle. The breast swelling, tenderness and pain experience by some is most likely due to the effects of progesterone on breast tissue.
Right after ovulation, the luteal phase begins and during this phase, progesterone levels are very high–progesterone is important during this phase because if the egg is fertilized, an
If fertilization and implantation have occurred, than the corpus luteum will be stimulated by hCG to continue its production of estrogen and progesterone to maintain the pregnancy. This is important because the corpus luteum dies 14-22 days after ovulation if fertilization and implantation do not occur. With no progesterone to keep it intact, the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is then shed, resulting in the monthly menstrual flow that normally lasts about 5 days. A variety of feminine products are available to help women during menses, including absorptive pads and tampons, deodorants, and vaginal cleansers.
How to avoid Hormonal Imbalance?
- Hormone Replacement Pills or Medications
- Include Protein with all Your Meals
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid Sugar and Refined Carbs
- Stress management or just avoid stressful environments
- Consume Healthy Fats
- Avoid Overeating and skipping meals
- Regular intake of Green Tea
- Consume fatty fish
- Stay Away From Beverage that have high volume of sugar
- Start a High-Fiber Diet
- Eat Eggs Anytime
- Avoid Packed foods
- Natural Supplements such as: