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Ovaries play an important role in conception. The eggs are produced in the ovaries, which, when fertilised by sperm, get fertilised. The ovaries also produce the major female reproductive hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.
The size of your ovaries matters when it comes to the ease of getting pregnant – smaller ovaries means that a woman’s egg reserve is lower than normal. However, having larger ovaries does not necessarily mean that the woman’s egg reserve is high. Ovaries can change in size due to several factors, which we will discuss below.
Factors That Cause a Change in the Size of Ovaries
The size of a woman’s ovaries can change several times in her life for different reasons. Here are the various factors that can cause a change in the size of ovaries:
Ovarian size changes with age. Ovaries are of the smallest size before a woman reaches puberty, and after menopause; they increase in size during puberty and the pre-menopausal stage in a woman’s life. The average size of a woman’s ovaries is 3 cm in length, 2.5 cm in height, and 1.5 cm in width. Before puberty or after menopause, they measure less than 20 mm in diameter. Ovaries also become larger when a woman is ovulating or menstruating.
2. Ovarian Disorders
Ovarian disorders and cancer can cause an increase in the size of the ovaries. Conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), follicular cysts, and corpus luteum cysts cause the ovaries to become enlarged, resulting in pain and internal bleeding. These disorders make it problematic for women to get pregnant.
3. Hormonal Stimulation
Women who have been diagnosed with infertility often undergo fertility treatments to get pregnant. A part of these treatments involves hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries so that they cause the eggs to be released for fertilisation. These treatments can cause the ovaries to become larger during ovulation, and go back to normal size once the ovulation phase is over.
The size of the ovaries increases during pregnancy as they produce the hormones oestrogen and progesterone that aid in pregnancy. However, it is prudent to have your doctor check and ensure that you do not have cysts or fibroids.
Is Ovary Size Related to How Easy Or Difficult It Is to Conceive?
The size of a woman’s ovaries is related to her ability to conceive with ease. The number of potential eggs that are ready to be fertilised depends on the size of the ovaries. If a woman’s ovaries are smaller than normal, she may find it difficult to conceive as her egg reserve is likely to be lower than average. Tests such as ultrasounds and blood tests can determine the size of the ovaries and whether they are functioning properly. Technicians can count the number of follicles an ovary has using ultrasound scans. The number of follicles can indicate whether a woman’s egg reserve is normal or low.
Does Having Large Ovaries Increase Your Chances to Reproduce?
Having larger ovaries does not automatically mean the egg reserve is higher. Ovaries can also be enlarged due to disorders or tumours. In these cases, women will not ovulate normally and will hence have difficulty conceiving. Women with polycystic ovaries can have ovaries that become as large as 15 cm in diameter.
Thus, enlarged ovaries are often an indicator of a hormonal disorder, cysts or tumours. Talk to your doctor to check your ovaries for any such problems if you have difficulty conceiving.
What Is the Normal Size of Ovaries to Get Pregnant?
The right ovary size for pregnancy is 3cm x 2.5cm x 1.5cm, which is the size of a healthy, normal ovary. An ovary this size will have a sufficient egg reserve. But the size of the egg itself also matters when trying to conceive – the egg should be the correct size for it to be fertile. If the egg is shrunk, it will not develop properly.
There is always a way to boost your ovarian and egg health by eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, maintaining healthy body weight, and by remaining stress-free.
Best Ways to Improve Ovary and Egg Health
There is a way to improve the quality of your ovaries and your eggs. Here are some of them:
- Maintain healthy body weight. Being overweight or underweight can affect the quality of your eggs – make sure you stay on track with your health.
- Get regular exercise. You can maintain the health of your ovaries by exercising on a regular basis. It need not be extreme – just an hour of yoga, 30 minutes of jogging or running, or walking can be helpful in maintaining your health.
- Learn to manage your stress. It is tough to maintain one’s peace of mind in a fast-paced world, but we often discount the effect of stress on our bodies. Every day, make sure you do one activity you enjoy doing to keep your mind calm. Keep away from your phone at least an hour before you go to sleep to keep your mind clean for the next day.
- Eat a balanced meal. You don’t have to cut down on all the things you like eating immediately and forever – you just need to know how to manage what you eat. Make sure you get equal amounts of all nutrients you need – proteins, good carbohydrates, good fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Consult your doctor and start taking supplements if your body lacks essential nutrients. Keeping a tab on what you eat will help your egg and ovary health immensely.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol. Cigarettes and alcohol can cause fertility issues, so try avoiding them or cutting down on how much of them you consume.
Ovary size affects a woman’s chances of conceiving, but there are many underlying reasons to it. Consult with your doctor to understand if that is one of the reasons you are having a hard time getting pregnant, and ask them about how you can improve its health for a positive result.
Also Read: Premature Ovarian Failure