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Ovaries

The ovaries are a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

Anatomy of the female reproductive system; drawing shows the uterus, myometrium (muscular outer layer of the uterus), endometrium (inner lining of the uterus), ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina. Click to enlarge

The female reproductive system National Institutes of Health

How Does the Menstrual Cycle Work?

Baby girls are born with all the egg cells in their ovaries that they will have in their lifetime. These egg cells lie in small pockets called follicles. Once puberty starts, different hormones ripen the first follicle so that it will release an egg cell (ovum).

Hormones are substances produced by the body that act as chemical transmitters. They regulate body functions like the menstrual cycle and body temperature. Hormones also trigger ovulation.

What happens during ovulation?

Around the time when a mature egg cell has left the ovary, a woman can get pregnant. The egg cell travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus. The moment the egg cell leaves the ovary is called ovulation. Once a girl has had her first monthly period (menstruation), ovulation usually occurs once a month.

What happens during menstruation?

During the monthly hormone cycle the mucous membranes lining the inside of the... Read more about the Ovaries

Terms to know

Cervix
The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.
Endometrium
The layer of tissue that lines the uterus.
Fallopian Tubes
A slender tube through which eggs pass from an ovary to the uterus. In the female reproductive tract, there is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus.
Hormones
A messenger molecule that helps coordinate the actions of various tissues; made in one part of the body and transported, via the bloodstream, to tissues and organs elsewhere in the body.
Myometrium
The muscular outer layer of the uterus.
Ovulation
The release of an egg from an ovary during the menstrual cycle.
Uterus (Womb)
The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called womb.
Vagina
The muscular canal that goes from the uterus to the outside of the body. During birth, the baby passes through the vagina.

Terms to know

Cervix
The lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina....
Endometrium
The layer of tissue that lines the uterus....
Fallopian Tubes
A slender tube through which eggs pass from an ovary to the uterus. In the female reproductive tract, there i...
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