Sometimes, we get so focused on pregnancy, potential diseases, defects or what to do when your body starts doing things wrong that it’s easy to forget just how interesting – and downright amazing – our bodies can be when they’re working correctly. Today we’re going to take some time and explore some facts that make you, and your reproductive system, incredible.
- A Big Deal: The female egg, or ovum, is the largest human cell. It’s the only cell that is visible to the naked eye. An average egg measures in at about 120 micrometers in diameter. In contrast, the male reproductive system is responsible for creating the smallest human cell, the sperm, which only measures about 3 micrometers in length. An average red blood cell is about 8 micrometers in diameter.
- Your vagina is full of acid!: OK maybe not REALLY, but the vagina’s pH is pretty acidic. On average, it has a pH of 4.5 (neutral pH is 7) which is close to a tomato. The bacteria that naturally live in, and protect, your vaginal environment are what keep the pH so low.
- You grow much like a penis does: When we think of sexual arousal, the engorgement of a penis is a sort of standard mental image. The vagina changes shape, as well! During initial excitement, your vagina will begin to create extra lubrication and it will expand as well as lengthen, much like the penis does.
- Infertility isn’t uncommon: A couple is considered infertile if they are unable to become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. That means in the United States, 1 in 6 couples have experienced infertility.
- Your Uterus has some serious stretch: When you’re not pregnant, your uterus is actually quite small – about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. During pregnancy, it stretches to accommodate a baby (or sometimes more than one!) and then retracts back down to normal during the time after delivery.
- Your hymen isn’t an indicator of virginity: For years it was thought that an intact hymen was an indicator of virginity. Modern medicine has been able to prove that to be completely false. The hymen is a thin, small ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. In some women, it breaks or tears upon initial penetration, but for other women it stretches. Many women have hymens torn or stretched early in life due to physical activity or falling in an odd way. In some cases, women are born with a hymen that has no opening in it at all. This needs to be surgically corrected with a simple small incision or menstrual blood and discharge will be unable to escape the body and can cause problems.
- The female body is still a mystery: Throughout anatomical history, most studies were done on male cadavers and male patients. It took a long time before people started to truly understand the female system. Even Leonardo DaVinci had it wrong, his drawings of the female system looked more like the reproductive systems of animals. Think that’s a thing of the past? Think again. Scientists still can’t agree on whether or not the Grafenberg spot, or “G-spot” exists. Women certainly report “G spot orgasms”, but the clitoris branches and some experts feel that those branches are responsible for what they are reporting. Anatomical dissections have been inconclusive, so – for now, anyway – whether the G-Spot is a myth, a unique and independent bit of tissue, or a branch of the clitoris is still unknown.
- Sometimes, you get double what you think you do: Its rare, but some women are both with a condition called “uterus didelphys”. Women with this condition are born with more than one uterus. In some cases, they are also born with more than one vagina. When that happens, the condition is usually discovered pretty quickly. When there are no external signs, it’s possible a woman may never know. There are reported cases of women who did not know and ended up pregnant with a fetus in each uterus, and in at least one case, the fetuses were different gestational ages!