We’re going back to the basics! Many young girls learn about the female reproductive system and the menstruation cycle for the first time in school or at home.
Still, to stay healthy as you get older, it’s important to refresh your memory and stay current on female health topics and birth control care developments.
Here’s a quick lesson on your reproductive system and how birth control care affects your system.
How Does My Reproductive System Work?
The female reproductive system comprises internal and external reproductive structures that all work together to carry out several functions.
The external female reproductive structures are the genitals designed to:
1) enable sperm to enter the body, and
2) protect the internal genital organs from infectious organisms.
While your genitals work to protect you from infections and diseases, they can only do so much to protect you from STDs. Therefore condoms are the most effective form of STD protection.
The internal female reproductive structures are the vagina, uterus, Fallopian (uterine) tubes, and ovaries.
When your ovaries produce the female egg cells necessary for reproduction, called the ova or oocytes, your reproductive system is designed to transport the ova to the site of fertilization.
Conception, the fertilization of an egg by a sperm, normally occurs in the Fallopian tubes. The next step for the fertilized egg is to implant into the uterus walls, beginning the initial stages of pregnancy.
If the fertilized egg doesn’t implant itself, your reproductive system is designed for menstruating—which is where your menstrual cycle (AKA your period) comes in.
Because the female reproductive system produces female sex hormones that maintain the reproductive cycle, women who can reproduce experience hormonal activity cycles that repeat at about one-month intervals.
Menstrual flow (the blood, vaginal fluid, and the cells and fluid of the late secretory phase of the uterine endometrial lining that are released during your period) might occur every 21 to 35 days and last two to seven days.
With every cycle, your body prepares for a potential pregnancy, whether or not you’re planning on getting pregnant. The average menstrual cycle takes about 28 days and occurs in phases: the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase (ovulation), and the luteal phase.
Corresponding with these phases, there are four major hormones, which are chemicals that stimulate or regulate the activity of cells or organs involved in the menstrual cycle: follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone.
Once you reach menopause, you will no longer experience menstruation or have any eggs in your ovaries; therefore, you will not get pregnant.
During a well-woman exam, your OB/GYN can answer any questions you have about your reproductive system, fertility, preventive care, and birth control care.
Whether you’re planning on getting pregnant or not, all of these topics are crucial to talk about with your doctor to maintain your health and well-being.
What About Birth Control?
“Birth control” is an umbrella term that includes any method used to prevent pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, birth control is not just “The Pill.”
There are many different birth control methods, including birth control pills, condoms, IUDs, the rhythm method, vasectomy, and tubal ligation.
Since things like birth control pills and IUDs contain hormones that manipulate your reproductive system, many women are wary of these contraception forms.
It’s important to talk to your OB/GYN about birth control care in Miami to weigh out all of your options and discuss the possible side effects of these hormonal treatments.
However, a misconception about hormonal birth control is that it harms your chances of having children in the future.
This is not the case, but you should still talk to your doctor about your personal fertility and what other things harm or help your chances of conceiving.
To manipulate the reproductive system and lower your chances of becoming pregnant, hormonal birth control most commonly uses estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation.
If taken correctly, it is one of the most effective contraception forms, but you will need a prescription for it.
Other hormonal contraceptives include the patch, ring, shot, implant, and hormonal IUD, which primarily work the same way as pills, but they all vary in side effects, form, and price.
Well Woman Exam & Birth Control Care in Miami
Navigating the complexities of your reproductive system can be complicated and confusing, which is why our team at Dr. Susan Fox’s Center for Women prioritizes your comfort and concerns and wants to help you decide which birth control option is best for you.
A well-woman exam gives you time to consult with a knowledgeable OB/GYN about preventive care through exams, fertility consultation, and birth control care in Miami. Schedule a well-woman exam with us right on our website!