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Definition of Ovary

December 2, 2010

Ovary: The female gonad, the ovary is one of a pair of reproductive glands in women. They are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries produce eggs (ova) and female hormones. During each monthly menstrual cycle, an egg is released from one ovary. The egg travels from the ovary through a fallopian tube to the uterus. The ovaries are the main source of female hormones, which control the development of female body characteristics, such as the breasts, body shape, and body hair. They also regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Every day up to two-thousand women have hysterectomies. Many of these women also choose to have their ovaries taken out at the same time to remove their risk of ovarian cancer. But for younger women who are not at high risk for ovarian cancer, doctors at Mayo Clinic are saying, “not so fast.” Two studies show that keeping your ovaries until after menopause may protect you from memory problems and Parkinson’s disease.

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