Quick GuideSexual Health Pictures Slideshow: Female Sexual Problems
Ovulation occurs at the midpoint of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen production from the dominant follicle leads to a sharp rise in LH secretion, causing the dominant follicle to release its egg. The egg is swept into the Fallopian tube by thin structures on the ends of the tubes known as fimbriae. At this time, the cervix produces an increased amount of thick mucus that assists sperm in the passage into the uterus.
The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle begins at ovulation (egg release). After the egg is released, the empty follicle turns into a mass of cells called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum then produces progesterone, a hormone that readies the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg. If an egg has been fertilized, the fertilized egg travels down the Fallopian tubes into the uterus and implants in the uterine lining tissue. If fertilization of an egg has not occurred, the lining of the uterus eventually breaks down and is shed resulting in menstrual bleeding.
Menopause is defined at the point in time at which a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. It signals the end of a woman's fertility and occurs, on average, at 51 years of age, though the time of menopause can vary widely. With menopause, hormone levels drop, and some women experience unpleasant effects from the lowered hormone levels, including hot flashes, mood changes, headache, tiredness, and sleep disturbances.
Medically reviewed by a Board-Certified Family Practice Physician
MedscapeReference.com. Female Reproduction Organ Anatomy.