The Men / Women’s System

The Men / Women’s System



Learn about health support

Learn about health support

The Men/Women’s System
The Men/Women's System encompasses some of the features which are unique to either men or women - and some which men and women have in common.
The reproductive systems

The structures of the female reproductive system consist of:
  • Ovaries: a pair of almond-shaped glands that produce eggs and hormones.

  • Fallopian tubes: two slender tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries into the uterus.

  • Uterus: the hollow, pear-shaped muscular organ in which the infant develops before birth.

  • Vagina: the canal leading from the uterus to the outside of the body. It is also called the birth canal.

The menstrual cycle
  • Each month, an egg cell begins to ripen within one of the ovaries.

  • While the egg is ripening, the ovary releases the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which prompt the uterine lining to thicken. This thickened lining is called endometrium.

  • Upon reaching maturity, the egg is released from the ovary.

  • After its release from the ovary, the egg travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus.

  • If the egg is not fertilized, the ovary ceases to produce estrogen and progesterone.

  • This drop in hormones causes the endometrium to detach from the uterine walls.

  • The endometrium is shed through the vagina as menstrual flow.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • PMS is a collection of specific symptoms that occur around two weeks before the onset of menstruation. It is triggered by the increased secretion of sex hormones.

  • These symptoms include swollen and tender breasts, cyclical mood swings, depressions, fluid retention, and tension headaches associated with PMS.

  • Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women.

  • It is strictly defined as having no periods for one year. By this definition, doctors can only define menopause in retrospect.

  • The lowered estrogen levels which occur during menopause can sometimes cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:

    • Hot flashes
    • Sleeplessness
    • Mood changes
    • Irregular periods
    • Vaginal dryness leading to painful sex

  • How can a woman tell if she is going through menopause or suffering from unrelated symptoms? A good predictor is the age that her mother or older sister went through menopause.

  • The long-term effects of lowered estrogen levels can be serious. For instance, lowered estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis or an increase in risk for heart disease. Women should discuss their menopause options with their health care providers.
The male reproductive system consists of:
  • Scrotum: the pouch of skin holding the testicles and related structures.

  • Testes (testicles): two oval sex glands suspended in the scrotum that secrete sperm.

  • Epididymis: a long, oval-shaped structure attached to the rear upper surface of each testicle, consisting mainly of ducts that secrete fluids.

  • Vas deferens: the duct that carries sperm from the testicles to the ejaculatory duct of the penis.

  • Seminal vesicle: a small cavity that contains semen.

  • Ejaculatory duct: the duct that carries semen into the urethra.

  • Urethra: the canal through which urine is discharged from the bladder.

  • Bulbourethral gland: a small gland that adds secretions to the semen just before ejaculation.

  • Prostate gland: a partly muscular gland surrounding the urethra at the base of the bladder.

  • Penis: the male organ for sexual intercourse; it is also the structure through which urine is discharged.

The ejaculation process
  • Sperm develop in the testes and are stored in the epididymis.

  • During sexual stimulation, sperm are moved through the vas deferens by rhythmic contractions of the smooth muscle in the ductal wall.

  • Secretions of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles are mixed with the sperm to form semen.

The role of sex hormones throughout the life cycle
  • Male fetuses begin secreting androgens, a type of sex hormone, and females begin secreting estrogen, another type of sex hormone, just weeks after conception.

  • The terms "male" and "female" sex hormones are not quite accurate. Both sexes secrete both estrogen and androgens. The real difference is that males secrete large amounts of androgens and small amounts of estrogen; females secrete large amounts of estrogen and only small amounts of androgens.

  • The secretion of these sex hormones determines whether the fetus will develop male or female sex organs.

  • Shortly after conception, a fetus has primitive tissue in the genital region that can develop into either male or female sex organs.

  • Some researchers believe these sex hormones may also affect the developing brain, contributing to later behavioral differences between men and women.

  • Production of these sex hormones drops dramatically after birth and until puberty.

  • At puberty, growth is mainly regulated by the sex hormones. A girl's ovaries release large amounts of estrogen, and a boy's testicles release large amounts of androgens.

  • Many people assume that the sex drive and sexual activity are regulated by the levels of sex hormones, but research has never demonstrated rises in androgens or estrogens during sexual activity. However, low levels of the hormone testosterone appear to be associated with low sex drive in men.
Urinary tract
  • The purpose of the urinary tract is to regulate the concentrations of body fluids, and to rid the body of wastes from the metabolic process dissolved in a small amount of water (urine).

The urinary tract consists of:
  • Paired kidneys.

  • Paired ureters (the tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder).

  • A urinary bladder.

  • A urethra.

The urinary tract process
  • Blood flows through the kidneys carrying byproducts of dead cells from throughout the body.

  • Water, salt, and sugar (glucose) are periodically re-absorbed into the bloodstream, with the toxic substances filtered out, forming crystals called urea. Urea combines with water to form urine.

  • As water is re-absorbed in the kidneys, the urine becomes more and more concentrated. The exact concentration depends on the body's needs at the time.(If the body needs more salt, the concentration of salt in the urine will be lowered).

  • The waste-carrying urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder.

  • The bladder acts as a storage organ, which can stretch to hold the urine until it can be expelled from the body through the urethra.
Nutrition boosting attractiveness as man or woman
  • Our nutritional health greatly affects our outward appearance.

  • When we are not eating right, our outward appearance may give clues to our health care providers about what is going on inside our bodies, or what is lacking in our diet. For instance:

    • Copper deficiencies and metabolic disorders can result in "kinky hair syndrome," in which hair looks startlingly unusual.
    • lodine deficiency may cause dry, flaky skin.
    • Too little sodium can cause cold, clammy skin which loses its elasticity. Too much sodium can cause flushed skin.

  • Hair, skin, and nails are all made of strong proteins called keratin.

  • Outward appearance is supported by other substances as well. For instance, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it has several structural functions. It supports the skin and helps give it a "filled out" healthy look. Elastin, another fibrous protein, helps keep skin flexible and supple.

  • To always look your best, eat a well-rounded, healthy diet; get plenty of sleep; and make sure you exercise regularly.

Why should women take a sufficient amount of iron?
  • Women who are menstruating, pregnant, or lactating are commonly urged to take extra iron.

  • If you are not sure whether you should take supplemental iron or not, ask your physician.

  • Overdosing on this nutrient can bring unpleasant side effects for adults (such as vomiting and diarrhea).

  • It may be preferable to include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet. These include beef, liver, blackstrap molasses, egg yolks, baked potatoes, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and clams.

- Androgens: natural bodily steroids that stimulate the male sex organs and encourage development of male sex characteristics.

- Anencephaly: a birth defect that occurs when the brain fails to develop properly.

- Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH): an enlargement of the prostate gland that is not in itself serious but can lead to bladder obstruction.

- Birth canal: the vagina

- Bulbourethral gland: a small gland that adds secretions to the semen just before ejaculation.

- Carcinoma: a form of cancer

- Collagen: the protein that is the main component of connective tissue.

- Cystitis: an inflammation of the urinary bladder.

- Edema: swelling of the tissue cause by fluid retention.

- Ejaculation: an act of ejaculating

- Ejaculatory duct: the duct that carries semen into the urethra.

- Elastin: a type of connective tissue.

- Endometrium: a thick lining found in the uterus.

- Epididymis: a long, oval-shaped structure attached to the rear upper surface of each testicle, consisting mainly of ducts that secrete fluids.