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What Are Ovaries?

Ovaries are two oval-shaped organs about the size of an olive located in the lateral walls of the pelvic also known as ovarian fossa. These ovaries are attached by ovarian ligaments in the outer layer of the uterus. Ovaries are found only among females. Ovaries release one egg into the uterus via the fallopian tubes during ovulation. In the uterus, fertilization may or may not take place. If fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg will implant itself in the uterus wall and develop into a baby. If no fertilization takes place, the egg and the uterine lining will shed off in the form of menstruation. The uterus will then prepare itself for the next possible fertilization.

Ovaries also manufacture estrogen and progesterone hormones. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for the physical characteristics associated with the female like the development of the mammary glands while progesterone along with estrogen are the hormones responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the endometrium, the part of the uterus where the fertilized egg imbeds itself and develops into a full term baby. The levels of hormones secreted by the ovary depend on the age and stage of the ovulation cycle the female is in.

Healthy ovaries are crucial in reproduction. The two ovaries usually take turns in releasing eggs but in some cases where there is only one ovary, one is enough to perform the functions of both. Annual check-up is recommended to ensure that women have healthy ovaries. Ovarian cancer and other ovarian problems can cause abnormal hormone levels which can lead to mood swings, mental distress and physical pain.

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