The ovaries are an important part of the female reproductive system. They are the sexual glands, whose basic task is the production of gametes, eggs and female sex hormones. Eggs are released during sexual maturity ideally once a month. In case of a fusion with the male sex cell, sperm, fertilization occurs, which is the beginning of the development of a new individual. The ovaries may affect unpleasant diseases, like cysts, inflammation and cancer.
The ovaries are a pair organ that is stored on both sides of the uterus in the pelvis. Their size depends on the age of the woman. Length varies between 3-5 cm, 1.5-3 cm in width and thickness is about 1 cm. The surface is covered by a protective layer, called the embryonic epithelium. Underneath it is a thin layer of tissue. Below, we distinguish the cortex and medulla. The medulla is located in the center of the ovary, blood vessels and nerves run through it, and it is surrounded by the cortex. In the cortex itself the gametes, eggs are located. During juvenility the surface is smooth, but gradually it gets scared due to releasing eggs.
The main function of the ovaries is of course the development, maturation and subsequent release of gametes, eggs. This is a complicated process that takes place after sexual maturation. Ideally, once every 28 days an egg is produced in a container called a follicle. This process is called an ovulation cycle. From a mature follicle a mature egg is released under pressure in the abdomen, where it is captured by the fallopian tubes. This process is called ovulation. A mature egg waits in the fallopian tubes 24 hours for fertilization. The ovaries also produce hormones, estrogens and progestogens. In puberty estrogens stimulate the growth of the sex organs (uterus and vagina) and the development of secondary sexual characteristics, like breast development, characteristic feminine fat and feminine hair. It is important that there is a regular variation of this hormone where its concentration is the highest just before ovulation. It could be said that the function of estrogen during sexual maturation, is preparation for fertilization and subsequent development of the egg. Once the egg is extruded from the ovary into the fallopian tube, estrogen gives the order to prepare the uterus for attaching a fertilized egg and modifies the mucus in the vagina to be thinner and more permeable for male sex cells, sperm. If the egg has been fertilized by a sperm it migrates from the fallopian tube toward the uterus. Right now hormones called progestogens dominate. It could be said that progestogens prepare the sex organs for pregnancy. The uterus is ready to attach and nourish a fertilized egg, the milk gland prepares for breast-feeding and in the ovary the next ovulation is stopped. Progestogens are made from the rest of the protective egg sac or follicle which is after ovulation called the corpus luteum. The main sources of progestogens after fertilization are not the ovaries, but the placenta.
From the above mentioned it is clear how important ovaries are. Without them one of the basic human needs could not be ensured, thus preserving the genus. The diseases that affect the ovaries, ovarian cysts are the most common, their inflammation and cancer. Very common are also hormonal disorders.
Ovarian cysts are quite common and mainly affect women in their reproductive age. A cyst is a sac or cavity filled with fluid and it most often develops due to the activity of certain hormones. Most cysts develop normally, after some time they disappear and require no treatment. The problem, however, cause large cysts that can oppress surrounding organs and cause pain in the lower abdomen. A big risk is their rupture, which leads to heavy bleeding and may endanger a woman's life. It is therefore recommended cysts larger than 5 cm to be surgically removed.
Ovary inflammation is a serious infectious disease that is more known as pelvic inflammatory disease. It affects not only the ovaries, but also the uterus, fallopian tubes and surrounding structures. Ovary inflammation occurs primarily in young sexually active women and women with many sexual partners. The bacteria that cause ovary inflammation, also cause sexually transmitted diseases, and are transmitted by sexual intercourse. Ovary inflammation is manifested by mild to spasmodic pains in the lower abdomen, during sex, bleeding outside the menstrual period or its extension. It is important to treat ovary inflammation in time and consistently, as it can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, internal bleeding and in the worst case, death.
Ovarian tumors are a very dangerous disease, since there are no symptoms for a long time. Ovarian tumors primarily affect women in early menopause, transition, i.e. between 50 and 70 year of life. Symptoms begin to appear at a later stage when the tumor is already large or has spread to nearby organs. The most common symptom of ovarian cancer is pain in the abdomen and pelvis, bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. The treatment of ovarian cancer depends on its nature, that is, whether the tumor is malignant or benign, size, type, degree of disability of the surrounding organs and diseased state. The treatment is most often surgical in combination with chemotherapy that is with aggressive anticancer drugs.
Ovarian diseases should not be underestimated. Therefore, regular visits to your gynecologist are recommended and in the case of suspicious pain in the lower abdomen or any doubts, turn to him immediately.