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Female Genitals

A woman’s reproductive organs are made up of different parts.

Externally, there is:

  • The outer lips (labia majora), which cover the clitoris and extend back to just in front of the anus
  • The inner lips (labia minora) join at the front in a small fleshy bump called the clitoris. Its purpose is to give sexual pleasure
  • The inner lips can vary in colour from light pink to dark brown
  • The outer or inner lips may be bigger than each other. This is perfectly normal

Internally, there is:

  • The vagina, used for sexual intercourse and reproduction
  • The urethra, where urine passes
  • The hymen, a membrane covering the virgin vagina designed to break during first-time sex, however the hymen can break before that, during sport for example - this can cause a small amount of bleeding but is perfectly normal
  • The cervix, which is the neck of the womb leading to the vagina
  • Two fallopian tubes, which links a woman’s ovaries and uterus
  • Two ovaries that produce eggs

Cervical smears

  • Cervical smears are a test offered to all women aged 20-and-over every three-to-five years. It is a test to check the health of the cervix and is not a test for diagnosing cervical cancer, but aims to prevent cancer from developing
  • You might feel some discomfort or pain - try to relax by taking slow, deep breaths as it may hurt more if you are tense. If it is painful, tell the doctor or nurse straight away, as they may be able to help
  • Talk to your GP or family planning clinic for advice and information on the procedure
  • Don’t put off your smear test, it is too important
  • Source: CLIConline info section and Screen Services

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