Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 4: Understanding our Bodies

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 4: Understanding our Bodies


This chapter is about the parts of the body that make up a woman's or a man's sexual and reproductive system. This information will help you to use the rest of this book.

Puberty
Every woman
changes from a
girl into a woman...
Reproductive
years
...and then from
a woman into an
older woman.
Menopause
illustration of the below: a woman's pelvic area
hip bones
You can feel your hip bones just below your waist. They are part of the pelvis. The pelvic area is everything between the hips. This is where a woman’s reproductive parts are.

In many ways, a woman's body is no different from a man’s. For example, women and men both have hearts, kidneys, lungs, and other parts that are the same. But one way they are very different is in their sexual or reproductive parts. These are the parts that allow a man and a woman to make a baby. Many of women’s health problems affect these parts of the body.

No one should feel ashamed of any part of his or her body.

Sometimes talking about the sexual parts of our bodies can be difficult, especially if you are shy, or do not know what different parts of the body are called. In many places, the reproductive parts of the body are considered ‘private’.

But knowing how our bodies work means we can take better care of them. We can recognize problems and their causes and make better decisions about what to do about them. The more we know, the more we will be able to decide for ourselves if the advice that others give us is helpful or harmful.

Since different communities sometimes have their own words for parts of the body, in this book we often use medical or scientific names. This way, women from many different regions of the world will be able to understand the words.


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