Health Library - Fallopian Tubes & Ovaries
The fallopian tubes are a pair of tubes found in every female mammal. These two tubes, sometimes referred to as the oviducts or uterine tubes, are found in the pelvic cavity, running between the uterus and the ovaries. Approximately three to four inches long, the fallopian tubes are not directly attached to the ovaries. Instead, the tubes open up into the peritonial (abdominal) cavity, very close to the ovaries.
The ovaries are magnificent glands which are part of the female reproductive system. The ovaries are about the size and shape of an almond and sit just above the fallopian tubes -- one ovary on each side of the uterus. Every month during ovulation, either the right or left ovary produces a single mature egg for fertilization.
Fallopian Tube & Ovary Disorders
Ovarian cancer usually happens in women over age 50, but it can also affect younger women. Its cause is unknown. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect early.
The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better your chance for recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. Many times, women with ovarian cancer have no symptoms or just mild symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage and hard to treat. Symptoms may include:
Treatment is usually surgery followed by treatment with medicines called chemotherapy.
An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid that forms on or inside of an ovary. This article is about cysts that form during your monthly menstrual cycle, called functional cysts. Functional cysts are not the same as cysts caused by cancer or other diseases.
For more information about other causes of cysts on or near the ovaries, see also:
Each month during your menstrual cycle, a follicle (where the egg is developing) grows on your ovary. Most months, an egg is released from this follicle (called ovulation). If the follicle fails to break open and release an egg, the fluid stays in the follicle and forms a cystcyst.This is called a follicular cyst.
Another type of cyst, called a corpus luteum cyst, occurs after an egg has been released from a follicle. These often contain a small amount of blood.
Ovarian cysts are somewhat common, and are more common during a woman's childbearing years (from puberty to menopausemenopause). Ovarian cysts are less common after menopause.
No known risk factors have been found.
Taking fertility drugs can cause a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation, in which multiple large cysts are formed on the ovaries. These usually go away after a woman's period, or after a pregnancy.
Ovarian cysts often cause no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are typically pain or a late period.
An ovarian cyst is more likely to cause pain if it:
Symptoms of ovarian cysts can include:
Changes in menstrual periods are not common with follicular cysts, and are more common with corpus luteum cysts. Spotting or bleeding may occur with some cysts.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
With PCOS, women typically have:
How many women have PCOS?
Researchers also think insulin may be linked to PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that controls the change of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body to use or store. Many women with PCOS have too much insulin in their bodies because they have problems using it. Excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen. High androgen levels can lead to:
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
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