[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 1, 1941


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1941;116(9):831-836. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.62820090005008a

The ovaries have three essential functions: First, they produce ova, the germ cells. Second, they elaborate or metabolize estrogenic substances, which play a primary role in the development of the female secondary sex characters and in the maintenance of the accessory genital organs. Third, in them is formed corpus luteum, an ovarian structure which appears at cyclic intervals and produces a hormone, progesterone, which is indispensable for reproduction.

Ovarian dysfunctions must be regarded as manifestations of deficiency or hyperactivity of one or more of these phenomena, but with the present knowledge a classification in terms of clinical syndromes is impossible. For this reason it is best to discuss the subject not on the basis of ovarian pathologic conditions but indirectly from evidences of gonadal disturbance obtained from the study of disorders of menstruation. It must be granted that there are disadvantages in doing this, since one must deal with symptoms