Table of Contents
Definition of Fallopian Tubes and Definition
A pair of narrow enclosed channels that transport OVA (eggs) from the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tubes extend from the top of the uterus, one on each side, curving downward to end just short of the ovaries. The ovary end of the fallopian tube is somewhat fluted with fringelike edges called the fimbriae.
The fimbriae float in fluid. At ovulation the ovary releases an ovum (egg) into the fluid. The fimbriae undulate, drawing the ovum into the fallopian tube. Tiny cilia (hairlike structures) project from the cells that form the tube’s inner lining.
The cilia move in wavelike motions that pull the ovum along the fallopian tube toward the uterus. If sperm are present, they may fertilize the ovum on its journey through the fallopian tube. If no sperm are present, the ovum passes into the uterus and out of the body with menstruation.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
A tubal ligation is a form of permanent contraception (birth control) in which the gynecologist ablates (destroys, such as by electrocautery) or cuts and ties the fallopian tubes to block passage for ova. Rarely, a tubal ligation may spontaneously reconnect.
Recurrent infections such as sexually transmitted diseases (stds) may affect the fallopian tubes, causing salpingitis or pelvic inflammatory disease (pid). either may result in permanent loss of fertility through scarring that obstructs (blocks) the fallopian tubes.
For further discussion of the fallopian tubes within the context of the structures and functions of reproduction and sexuality, please see the overview section “The Reproductive System.”
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