Does the size of the ovary matter in determining your fertility? Is pregnancy dependent upon ovary size? Does its size play a crucial role in regulating menstruation cycle? Many times these questions come to your mind, remain unanswered and keep niggling you. All these doubts will be clear once you study the functions of the reproductive system and its organs in details. One such vital organ of the female reproductive system is the ovary. Therefore, knowing its size and the factors responsible for fluctuation of its size are important to you.
Ovaries are a pair of reproductive organs present inside the body of a female. They are also known as 'storehouse of eggs'. A fertile woman's ovary contains approximately 200,000 eggs. As a girl matures and reaches puberty, the eggs also mature and are released by the ovaries for fertilization. The eggs reach the fallopian tube to get fertilized by the sperm. If fertilization does not occur, it is discharged in the form of blood through the vagina.
Since ovary is a component of the endocrine gland, it is responsible for secretion of female sex hormones. Ovaries are responsible for producing progesterone and estrogen, which control development of secondary sexual characters at the time of puberty. These hormones also play a key role in thickening the uterine wall during implantation of fetus.
Ovary Size and Fertility
What is the normal size of the ovary? Does their size vary with increase in age? And what is its shape? If you observe an ovary minutely, you will find that it looks more or less like an almond or walnut. The factors responsible for variation in the size of the ovary are explained below.
The size of ovaries varies according to your age. The ovaries are the smallest before puberty and post menopause. During this time the size of an ovary is approximately 1 to 1.5 cm. They shrink after menopause. At the time of puberty and pre-menopause, they can be up to 3 cm long. During this phase, it becomes 1 cm thick and approximately 2.5 cm wide. They enlarge significantly during ovulation and menstruation period.
Ovary Stimulation Process
Infertility might result from a non-functional ovary. A woman can undergo infertility treatment and hormonal shots to make the ovaries fertile. These injections are meant for ripening the eggs and then they are released from the ovaries for fertilization. The ovaries increase in size during the ovulation phase and once ovulation stop, they might shrink or regain its normal size.
Gynecological disorders like ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer bring about changes in the size of ovaries. These diseases not only cause enlargement of ovaries but also cause pain and bleeding. When cysts form in ovary, its size can increase up to 6 inches in diameter. The change is much evident in cases of corpus luteum cyst, follicular cyst, hemorrhagic cyst, and dermoid cysts. In polycystic ovarian syndrome, multiple polyps or cysts cover the ovary, thereby increasing its size to a large extent. Such disorders are also responsible for giving rise to complications while conceiving and during pregnancy.
Recent studies have shown that ovary size and volume help in determining the reproductive age of female. Its size normally increases during pregnancy. However, you can go for a medical check up to ensure that it is free from fibroids.
There are many diagnostic techniques, which help in determining the exact size of the ovary. Ovarian volume is detected using a transvaginal ultrasound. Ultrasonography images also help in diagnosing ovarian disorders. It is a fact that women who can reproduce has larger ovaries than those incapable of giving birth.