Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Polycystic Ovaries Anatomy

To better understand polycystic ovary 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: Jul 7, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Polycystic Ovaries References
  1. Lakhani K, Prelevic GM, Seifalian AM, Atiomo WU, Hardiman P. Polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease: risks and risk factors. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Sep;24(6):613-21. [16147598]
  2. Scarpitta AM, Sinagra D. Polycystic ovary syndrome: an endocrine and metabolic disease. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2000 Oct;14(5):392-5. [11109980]
  3. Solomon CG. The epidemiology of polycystic ovary syndrome. Prevalence and associated disease risks. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1999 Jun;28(2):247-63. [10352918]
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