What are ovaries?Schematic representation of the anatomy of the ovary and follicular cycle. Click to enlarge.
The ovaries are an internal sexual organ of the female body. Every woman has two ovaries. In addition, the ovaries are among the reproductive organs. Without her, pregnancy would not be possible.
Therefore, some women, usually after completing a child's desire, an ovariectomy (ovarian removal) considered as contraception. However, this serious procedure can lead to further complications and should be discussed in detail with a specialist (gynecologist).
In medicine, they are called ovary (Latin) or oophorone (ancient Greek). Analogous to the male testicles, they are responsible for the production of oocytes and female sex hormones.
Anatomy & Construction
The ovaries are covered by monolayered epithelial tissue. It is a smoothly lined tissue, with a transition into the directly adjacent white connective tissue capsule. The tissue of the ovaries consists of the outer bark and the inner medulla.
The bark of the ovaries contains the oocytes, which are located in follicles. Follicles are spherical ovarian follicles in the ovaries that reach different stages of maturity. For a long time it was assumed that women were born with a limited number of ova and that women would become infertile after the consumption of all ova. American researchers showed in 2012 that the stem cells for ovum production are in the ovaries.
The marrow of the ovaries consists of connective tissue and contains the lymphatic vessels, nerve fibers and blood vessels of the ovarian nerve plexus.
The position of the ovaries is in the small pelvis, at the common iliac artery at the level of the bifurcation of the main artery. They can be easily felt with two fingers, one through the vagina, the other through the abdominal wall. Neighboring organs are the ureter, the appendix (located to the right ovary) and the nerve of the loin plexus. The ovaries are held by three bands, which also consist of smooth epithelial tissue.
The ovaries are supplied with blood by the ovarian artery. The ovarian artery comes directly from the main artery. The outflow of the blood takes place via the ovarian vein. Fibers of the autonomic nervous system form a network of nerves and take care of the nerves.
Functions & Tasks
The ovaries produce the ova and sex hormones. The ovaries formed in the ovary are expelled monthly during sexual maturity. This is called ovulation.
Other tasks of the ovaries include the production and secretion of female sex hormones. The hormones progesterone and estrogen are important for the secondary sexual characteristics, such as the female breast and the menstrual cycle. From the menopause no eggs are produced anymore.
DiseasesThe anatomy of the female genitals and reproductive organs clearly shows the fallopian tubes and the ovaries.
Like all other organs, the ovaries can also get sick. The cause of ovarian inflammation (oopheritis) is usually a vaginal infection, with germs entering the ovaries and causing inflammation. If, in addition to the ovaries, the fallopian tube is affected by inflammation, this is called adnexitis. Severe pain in the lower abdomen and fever indicate such a disease.
The ovaries can be affected by various tumors. There is a malignant tumor, ovarian cancer (ovarian cancer) and benign tumors, such as the struma ovarii and the burner tumor. There may be fibroids in the ovaries, usually caused by ascites (Meigs syndrome).
Cystomes are called gland tumors, in which a secretion-filled cavity is formed. The exact causes of ovarian cancer are still unclear. It is mainly hormonal reasons or familial predisposition. It is claimed that birth control pills and pregnancies can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 60 percent.
Symptoms such as abdominal pain and pain in the bladder and bowels are only unspecific. Therefore, ovarian cancer is often recognized late. As a rule, a surgical procedure is necessary in which the ovaries are removed together with the uterus and fallopian tubes.
The gonads may have hypofunction (hypogonadism). Ovarian disorders include polycystic ovarian syndrome and ovarian cysts. If the ovaries are disturbed in their function, it is called ovarian failure. The ovaries are no longer able to perform their tasks. This leads, for example, to irregular menstrual bleeding, intermenstrual bleeding or failure to do so. Infertility is also possible.
The coexistence of testicular tissue in the ovarian glands of the ovaries is called ovotestis. If the plant is missing during the development of the embryo, it is called agonadism or gonadal dysgenesis. The dermoid cyst is a malformation of the embryo. This creates a cavity which is lined with epidermis tissue.
Typical & common diseases
- Ovarian cyst
- Ectopic inflammation and ovarian inflammation
- PCO syndrome (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- ectopic pregnancy