Ovaries

Medical Specialties: Internal medicine, Obstetrics/gynecology


Clinical Definition

Ovaries are the pair of female reproductive glands responsible for producing ova, or egg cells. The ovaries are located in the pelvis on each side of the uterus close to the opening of the oviducts. The utero-ovarian ligament, which is a band of fibrous tissue, holds the ovaries in place. Ovaries in post-pubertal females, in cyclic fashion, give rise to a dominant egg, which is released during ovulation. In addition, the ovaries also produce hormones including estrogen and progesterone.


In Our Own Words

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They make and release the egg each month. The ovaries are about the size of the thumb and located deep in the pelvis. One ovary is located on each side of the uterus near the opening of the fallopian tubes. Ligaments hold the ovaries in place.

A girl is born with her entire lifetime supply of eggs, but they are not fully developed. Normally, after puberty, the ovaries release one egg each month during ovulation. The egg moves through the fallopian tubes and travels to the uterus for possible fertilization. The ovaries also produce hormones including progesterone and estrogen.

Relevant Conditions
  • Polycystic ovarian disease
  • Menopause
  • Infertility
  • Cancer treatment (cryopreservation)
  • Ovarian cancer
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