The ovaries are part of a woman’s reproductive system. They are located in the pelvis. Dr. Malone, will you tell us about the ovaries?
Absolutely, Dr. Patel. Each ovary is similar in size and shape to a slice of an apple. The ovaries produce eggs, called ova, and also make female hormones.
During a woman’s monthly cycle, the egg, encased in a sac called a follicle, grows inside the ovary. Twelve to 16 days before menstruation, the egg is released from the ovary. This is called ovulation, the time during which a woman can become pregnant.
After ovulation, the empty ovarian follicle becomes a corpus luteum, which remains in the ovary until the next menstrual period. The corpus luteum makes hormones that prepare the uterus for the potential arrival of a fertilized egg.
In addition to producing eggs, the ovaries are the main source of female hormones, known as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones control the development of a woman’s body, including her breasts, body shape, and body hair. They also regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
When a woman goes through menopause, her ovaries stop releasing eggs, and the level of hormone production decreases dramatically.