Hormones of the Menstrual Cycle
The ovaries have two functions that are closely interrelated: gametogenesis and steroidogenesis. Game-togenesis is the production of gametes that takes place during the reproduction process. In the female, the process is called oogenesis; the gametes are ova, each ovum being enclosed in a follicle. The early stages of oogenesis occur in the fetal ovaries, the process being arrested at the first meiotic division. From the time of their formation in utero, large numbers of the primary follicles degenerate, in a process called atresia, so that at puberty the number of ovarian follicles is already reduced from an initial 3 to 5 million to less than 0.5 million. A new phase now begins, involving the regular cyclic growth and development of small groups of follicles. During each of these menstrual cycles only one follicle normally reaches full maturity, culminating in the release of the ripened ovum into the abdominal cavity (ovulation).
KeywordsLuteinizing Hormone Menstrual Cycle Follicle Stimulate Hormone Luteal Phase Corpus Luteum
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