The ovaries (singular "ovary")
are female-only endocrine glands in the human body.
Endocrine glands differ from "exocrine" glands in that exocrine glands have ducts (so may be referred to as "ducted") whereas endocrine glands do not have ducts (and so may be referred to as "ductless").
Each female has two ovaries, one on each side of the body. These are small glands/organs located below the fallopian tubes on each side of the uterus. They produce ova (more colloquially known as "eggs") approx. once a month, from approx. age 14 or 15 onward. Ages may vary because development varies with factors such as genetics / family history, diet & nutrition, lifestyle, and other environmental factors.
The ovaries produce steroid hormones throughout the woman's life-cycle. The quantities of the different hormoes produced change with the woman’s age. Parts of the ovaries begin to decrease in size when a woman is in her thirties, then they lose mass more rapidly after approx. age 45 on average.
Hormones secreted by the ovaries include:
Oestrogen and progesterone regulate changes in the uterus throughout the menstrual cycle and during pregancy.
For a diagram indicating the locations within the body of each of the endocrine glands, see Endocrine Glands of the Human Body.
- Introduction to the Endocrine System
- What is a hormone ?
- Water Soluble Hormones vs Fat Soluble Hormones
- Triggers for Hormone Release
- Hormone Regulation Feedback Mechanism
- Major Glands of the Endocrine System
- The Pituitary Gland
- The Adrenal Glands
- Non-endocrine tissues that release hormones
- Conditions of the Endocrine System