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Menstrual cycle and ovulation 

Menstrual cycle and ovulation
Chapter:
Menstrual cycle and ovulation
Author(s):

William L. Ledger

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.0809
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date: 19 November 2019

The drive to reproduce is the most basic imperative followed by all animal and plant species. The human race has demonstrated great efficiency in increasing its numbers despite relatively low reproductive efficiency when compared with many other species. Humans are monotocous, and the coordinated ovarian and uterine cycles that are evidenced by monthly menstruation serve the purpose of preparing the uterus for implantation at the time when a single fertilized oocyte has completed its journey along the Fallopian tube and into the uterine cavity. Failure of the ovarian or uterine cycles at any point can lead to infertility, and eventual depletion of the pool of primordial follicles within the ovaries results in menopause with cessation of menses and clinical symptoms of hypo-oestrogenism.

This chapter will describe the physiology of the ovarian and uterine cycles with particular reference to the various pathological consequences that can result when the complex mechanisms that regulate the processes fail to function.

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