Ovaries are the female gonads and produce eggs (ova), as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.
The ovaries are small, oval-shaped organs that store a woman's supply of eggs. The eggs are released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they travel to the uterus.
If the egg is fertilized by a sperm, it will implant in the lining of the uterus and grow into a baby. If the egg is not fertilized, it will be shed with the rest of the uterine lining during menstruation.
The ovaries are controlled by the pituitary gland, which is located in the brain. The pituitary gland releases two hormones that stimulate the ovaries: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH helps the ovaries to mature eggs, while LH triggers the release of an egg from one of the ovaries each month.
The ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle, controls the development of female secondary sex characteristics, and helps to keep bones strong. Progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus for pregnancy and maintains pregnancy.
The ovaries are susceptible to a number of different disorders, including ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, and endometriosis. These disorders can often be treated with surgery or medication.