Definition - What does Ovary mean?

The ovary is a female reproductive organ vital to a woman’s sexual functioning and fertility. The production site of the female sex cell, the egg, the ovaries also maintain and control the health and functioning of the female reproductive system and develop the two primary sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen.

Diseases of the ovaries may impede or prevent pregnancy from occurring.

FertilitySmarts explains Ovary

The female body has two ovaries. These grape-sized organs sit towards the top of the uterus, on opposite sides but attached via two fallopian tubes.

During the early days of a woman’s menstrual cycle, a sac-like cavity called a follicle develops in the ovary. The follicle is the location of egg development in preparation for impending ovulation.

The secretion of two hormones from the pituitary gland (luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone) triggers the release of the egg, which breaks free from the follicle and begins traveling through the fallopian tube in search of sperm.

While the egg approaches potential fertilization, the remnants of the follicle, called the corpus luteum, secrete progesterone and estrogen, which promotes the developing of the uterine lining and supports a potential fertilization, possible pregnancy, or upcoming menstruation.

Abnormalities, disease, or conditions of the ovaries can impede or prevent pregnancy from occurring. Ovarian conditions include:

  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Hormonal dysfunction
  • Genetic conditions or congenital abnormalities
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