REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGYThis chapter discusses the biological functions behind the reproductive system in males and females. ***
The female reproductive system has two main parts: The uterus, where the growing fetus is housed, where male sperm passes through to the fallopian tubes, and where vaginal and uterine secretions are produced. It has three layers: the perimetrium, myometrium and endometrium. The endometrium is what is sloughed off during menstration. The other main part is the two ovaries, which produce the female's eggs. Ova that are released from the ovary are drawn into the uterine tubes by the action of the ciliated epithelial lining of the tubes. The ovaries are attached to the uterus by the fallopian tubes. The uterus narrows to form a cervix which opens to the vagina.
Seminiferous tubules are connected at both ends to a tubular network called the rete testis. Spermatozoa and tubular secretions are moved to this area of the testis and are drained by the efferent ductules into the epididymis. These are tightly coiled structures and spermatozoa enters at the head of the epididyis and are drained by the vas deferens. The ductus deferens carries sperm from the epididymis out of the scrotum into the pelvic cavity. Seminal vesicles add secretions that pass through their ducts. The ductus deferens then becomes the ejaculatory duct. This enters the prostates and merges with the prostatic urethra. The prostate adds its secretions through numerous pores in the walls of the prostatic urethra forming semen.
Lactation is the process of secreting milk from a mother's nipples to feed her young. The changes in the mammary glands during pregnancy and regulation of lacation include the actions of insulin, corisol and thyroid hormones. High levels of progesterone stimulate the development of the mammary alveoli and estrogen stimulates proliferation of the tubules and ducts. Prolactin is secreted by the anterior pituitary, and stimulate the mammary glands to produce milk proteins.After the placenta is expelled, there are declining levels of estrogen causing an increase in the secretion of prolaction. Therefore, there is milk production!

APPLICATION: I want to be an OB Nurse, so reproductive physiology is very important to for me to understand! It begins in the clinic, where a nurse administers and interprets a urine pregnancy test. We then determine the expected due date for the patient and help her along her pregnancy. Generally between 38-41 weeks, a woman delivers a baby and a nurse assists dealing with the any physical or mental issues that the patient is enduring! A very technical process but VERY rewarding! I also need to know the physiology that comes with fertilization in order to understand issues such as infertility and the use of contraceptives.

CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS:1. Describe the ovarian cycle and menstral cycle. Describe what happens in each stage and the role of hormones. At the beginning of menstration, estrogen and progesterone levels are low as well as the FSH and LH levels. They slowly rise within the first 14 days (known as the follicular or proliferative stage). On day 14 we notice a spike in the LH production which lets ovulation occur. The follicle releases the egg into the fallopian tubes. The end product of the follicle is the corpus luteum which sticks around incase fertilization does occur. If fertilization occurs, the corpus luteum keeps the progesterone and estrogen levels up, where they would otherwise fall if there was no fertilization. The last half of the menstrual cycle is known as the luteal or secretory phase. During this phase, the LH and FSH level off but the progesterone and estrogen levels are high in anticipation of a pregnancy. If fertilization doesn't happen, menstration occurs again which sloughs off the endometrium lining of the uterus, causing the monthly bleeding.jlvn1754l.jpg