Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

The female reproductive system contains the organs that prepare a woman's body for pregnancy.

The female reproductive system contains the organs that prepare a woman's body for pregnancy.
beginning of content

Female reproductive system

2-minute read

The female reproductive system is involved in sexuality and fertility, and includes organs such as the uterus (womb), ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina, as well as hormones.

Anatomy and functions

The female reproductive system includes:

  • 2 ovaries — female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) are produced in the ovaries, and eggs are stored here to mature and be released in ovulation.
  • Fallopian tubes — these are 2 thin tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus, allowing the egg to be transported.
  • Uterus (womb) — if pregnancy occurs, the fertilised egg will implant in the uterus and grow into a baby here.
  • Cervix — this is the lower part of the uterus that connects it to the vagina.
  • Vagina — this is a muscular tube connecting the cervix to the outside of the body.

How does the menstrual cycle work?

On average, girls in Western countries start menstruating around 12 – 13 years, but girls can have their first period as early as 9 years of age and as late as 16 years. The menstrual cycle usually occurs monthly — a 28-day cycle is average.

Each cycle prepares a woman for a possible pregnancy. Ovulation releases an egg from the ovary, and the endometrium (internal lining of the uterus) grows to nurture the egg if it is fertilised.

If the egg isn't fertilised, the lining (mostly blood) separates from the uterus and leaves the body from the vagina as a period (the menstrual flow).

Menopause refers to a woman's final period. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 years — the average age of menopause for women in Western countries is 51-52 years.

What can go wrong?

Conditions that involve the female reproductive system include:

When to see your doctor

Symptoms related to your periods vary depending on the condition and may include:

See your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

Each woman experiences her menstrual cycle differently, most without any difficulties. If there is any change in your cycle that worries you, see your doctor.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Female reproductive system (urogenital system) information | myVMC

The female reproductive system includes reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina), and urogenital organs (urethra, kidneys).

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

How endometriosis affects pregnancy

Find out more about how endometriosis affects pregnancy, how endometriosis can affect infertility and cause problems in pregnancy as well as treatment options.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Anti-Mullerian Hormone - Lab Tests Online AU

In women, to evaluate ovarian function and fertility; sometimes in the evaluation ofpolycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or to evaluate the effectiveness ofovarian cancertreatment

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

How to avoid chemicals that can reduce fertility

In our modern everyday life we come into contact with many different chemicals through the products we use, the food we eat, and the air we breathe.

Read more on Your Fertility website

Polycystic ovary syndrome -

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects females in their reproductive years. It may cause irregular periods, excess hair growth and cysts on the ovaries.

Read more on myDr website

Infertility information | myVMC

Infertility is the inability to conceive for 12 months despite having sex. It affects 8% of couples and has emotional and financial consequences.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

'The morning after pill': four common myths debunked | Marie Stopes Australia

Misinformation about emergency contraception 'the morning after pill' means that women are not taking advantage of effective ways of preventing pregnancy.

Read more on Marie Stopes Australia website

Womens Issues | Epilepsy Action Australia

Women with epilepsy have many questions about epilepsy and their own health, pregnancy, and the well-being of their children. Information given here will help.

Read more on Epilepsy Action Australia website

Period pain -

Period pain (also called dysmenorrhoea) is a common problem, and when severe it can stop you from doing your usual activities. However, there are treatments available for painful periods.

Read more on myDr website

Ovarian Cancer - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Ovarian cancer is a condition that affects the female organ responsible for hormone and egg production. Learn more about causes and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo