Patient Education - Health Library Fallopian Tubes & Ovaries

The fallopian tubes are a pair of tubes found in every female mammal. These two tubes, sometimes 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.

The ovaries are the parts of the female reproductive system that produce and release mature egg cells or ova. The female body contains two ovaries that are located on either side of the uterus. The ovaries are nodular glands which, following puberty, have a puckered, uneven surface and resemble a large almond in size and shape. The surface of the ovaries is covered with epithelial tissue. Beneath the ovarian epithelium are thousands of microscopic structures called ovarian follicles, which are embedded in a connective tissue matrix known as stroma. The follicles contain the ova, and after puberty are present in varying stages of development.

The ovaries have two primary functions:

They produce and store the female gametes (ova) that are contained in small spheres called primary follicles (primordial follicles). 
They also serve as endocrine glands by releasing the female sex hormones, the oestrogens (primarily oestradiol) and progesterone.

If fertilization occurs, the resulting embryo is held in the fallopian tube until it has developed into a small cell mass (blastocyst). It is then propelled through the fallopian tube by a combination of rhythmic contractions of the muscular walls of the tube (similar to the peristaltic muscular contractions of the gut), and the action of tiny hair-like projections called cilia. The embryo is swept toward the uterus where pregnancy may be established via implantation.

Office Handouts & Brochures

Ovarian CystsHysterosalpingography (HSG)


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Helpful Web Links

AOCG - The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts