Last Updated: May 20, 2019

Definition - What does Follicle mean?

The follicle is a small pocket-like sac located inside the ovary, responsible for the monthly growth, maturation, and release of an egg. The follicle also stimulates the production of sex hormones that facilitate a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. Follicles are an essential component of a woman’s reproductive system.

A follicle may also be referred to as an ovarian follicle.

FertilitySmarts explains Follicle

At birth, a woman’s body contains nearly half a million follicles, comprising all of the follicles she will have in her lifetime. Once puberty begins, the body selects one of these follicles, typically the strongest, to develop an egg every month.

The beginning of a woman’s monthly cycle is the first day of her menstrual period. This is also when the follicles become activated. Over the next two weeks, several eggs begin to mature. The body naturally releases a hormone known as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers only the strongest follicle to continue growing its egg. The remaining follicles are reabsorbed into the ovary.

Ovulation occurs when the luteinizing hormone (LH) is released, approximately 12-24 hours prior to ovulation. This causes the follicle to rupture, releasing the egg into the ovary. The egg then travels through the fallopian tube, where if sperm is present, it becomes fertilized, leading to conception.

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