Female Reproductive System (cont.)

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Ovulation

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.

Luteal phase

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 back into the uterus and implants in the uterine lining tissue. If there has not been a fertilization of an egg, the lining of the uterus eventually breaks down and is shed during menstrual bleeding.

Menopause

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, but the time of menopause can vary widely. With menopause, hormone levels drop, and some women experience unpleasant effects of the lowered hormone levels, ranging from hot flashes, to mood changes, headache, tiredness, and sleep disturbances.

REFERENCE: MedscapeReference.com. Female Reproduction Organ Anatomy.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2013


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