Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Ovarian Cystic Disease Anatomy

To better understand ovarian cystic disease, it helps to understand the anatomy of the ovaries and female genital tract.

The female reproductive organs include the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Women have two ovaries: one on each side of the uterus. The normal ovary is approximately the size of an unshelled almond.

The ovaries produce female sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone. They also contain between 250, 000 and 500, 000 follicles, or eggs. A follicle is a tiny structure that eventually will burst and release an egg into the fallopian tube. This occurs each month in the middle of the normal menstrual cycle.

Anatomy examples:

  • The uterus, cervix, and vaginal canal
  • The bladder
  • The fallopian tubes:
    • These paired structures connect each ovary to the uterus
  • The ovaries:
    • One on each side of the uterus. A normal adult ovary is about the size of an unshelled almond
  • Female organs during a pelvic examination

Last Updated: Nov 1, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ovarian Cystic Disease References
  1. Caspi B, Goldchmit R, Zalel Y, Appelman Z, Insler V. Sonographically guided aspiration of ovarian cyst with simple appearance. J Ultrasound Med. 1996 Apr;15(4):297-300. [8683664]
  2. Fan LD, Zang HY, Zhang XS. Ovarian epidermoid cyst: report of eight cases. Int J Gynecol Pathol. 1996 Jan;15(1):69-71. [8852449]
  3. Holt VL, Cushing-Haugen KL, Daling JR. Oral contraceptives, tubal sterilization, and functional ovarian cyst risk. Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Aug;102(2):252-8. [12907096]
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