ovaries are an essential part of a woman's reproductive
system. They are responsible for production of a mature
egg for fertilization and for production of hormones
estrogen and progesterone. Together with the uterus,
fallopian tubes, and vagina, the ovaries allow a woman
to become pregnant. They are also responsible for giving
a woman all of her secondary sex
ovaries are two almond-shaped glands located on either
side of the uterus. They are very small - only about one
and a half inches long - and are pinkish-grey in color.
Each ovary is connected to the end of the fallopian
tubes, connecting them with the rest of the reproductive
system. A baby girl is born with about one million
follicles each containing an immature egg. By the time
menstruation begins 400000 follicles are left. About 10
to 20 eggs begin to mature in their follicles every
month but only one egg is released which travels down
the fallopian tube to the uterus. If fertilized, this
egg will develop into an
ovaries also release female sex hormones like
estrogen and progesterone. Just before ovulation begins,
the ovaries stop producing estrogen. The drop in
estrogen levels signals the brain to release the
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The release of
GnRH, in turn, triggers the production of
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which actually
causes the egg to mature.
hormone estrogen is a steroid. It is primarily
· Development and maintenance of female reproductive structures including the fat distribution on hips, breasts, abdomen, and thighs as well as the health of internal reproductive organs especially the endometrial lining of the uterus.
· Assists in the control of fluid and electrolyte balance within the body, ensuring that the skin retains moisture.
· Prepares the follicle for the release of an egg.
· Prepares the internal environment for fertility making it more sperm friendly.
· Helps maintain bone density preventing osteoporosis.
· Also helps in blood clotting.
Progesterone is often referred to as the hormone of development or maturation. It works with estrogen in preparing the uterus for possible pregnancy. It stimulates the lining of the fallopian tubes so they provide nutrition for the egg as it travels to the uterus for implantation. Increased progesterone levels in the post ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle causing enlargement in breast tissue to prepare for milk production but it is the hormone prolactin which causes breast milk to be produced in the breast. Prolactin is usually only produced in pregnancy. Progesterone acts on the kidneys causing them to store more salt and water. In the post ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, progesterone makes cervical mucus thicker and stickier making a natural plug for the cervix. This acts to seal the uterus and protect the possible embryo. Progesterone has other actions in the body including improved fat metabolism, increasing bone density, mood-elevation, and it can also act as a natural diuretic. Progesterone helps prevent cancerous and benign breast and uterine changes.
These are the two main hormones produced by the ovaries. It is possible that there may be more not yet recognized hormones which the ovary produces as evidenced by after effects of oophorectomy. It is vital that a woman takes good care of her ovaries even after menopause. A holistic medicine practitioner will help her chalk out an individualized program which will promote generalized health and health of all internal organs.