FEMALE GENITAL ORGANS
The female genital organs consist of:
The paired ovaries and uterine tubes and the single uterus are situated in the pelvic cavity. The single vagina is located partly within the pelvic cavity and partly in the perineum. The external genital organs lie in front of and below the pubis.
In a woman who has not borne children (nullipara), The ovary is situated on the lateral wall of the pelvis, at the level of the anterior superior spine, and just medial to the lateral plane, where it can be palpated bimanually. Its position may be altered by other pelvic organs, especially the uterus, to which the ovary is attached by ligaments. When the uterus ascends into the abdomen during pregnancy, the ovary is pulled away from its original position, which is usually regained after parturition.
It resembles a large almond in shape. Its size varies with age and with the stage of the ovarian cycle. It is somewhat larger before than after pregnancy. After pregnancy, it is about two and a half to four centimeters long, and its average weight is seven grams. In old age it becomes further reduced in size.
When the ovary is in its usual position, its long axis is nearly vertical. It has medial and lateral surfaces, tubal and uterine ends, and mesovarian and free borders. It lies in a depression, the ovarian fossa, which is bounded in front by the obliterated umbilical artery and behind by the ureter and internal iliac artery.
The lateral surface is in contact with the parietal peritoneum lining the ovarian fossa and is separated by this peritoneum from the extraperitoneal tissue that covers the obturator vessels and nerve. Most of the medial surface is covered by the uterine tube; elsewhere this surface is related to the coils of the ileum.
The mesovarian or anterior border is attached to the mesovarium and faces the obliterated umbilical artery. The hilus of the ovary, through which blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerve pass, is located on this border. The free or posterior border is related to the uterine tube and, behind this, to the ureter.
The tubal or upper end is closely connected to the uterine tube; the suspensory ligament of the ovary is attached to this end. The uterine or lower end gives attachment to the ovarian ligament.