Folliculogenesis is the process a woman’s ovarian follicles take to mature.
A woman’s ovaries contain millions of follicles that each have an egg. Each ovarian follicle must go through a set of stages of development before it is ready to be ovulated. Only a small number of follicles will ultimately become a mature egg through this process.
A woman is born with a fixed number of eggs in her ovaries (approximately 1 million). By the onset of puberty, women are down to about 300,000 follicles, with the continued loss of about 1,000 per month. Unlike most other cells in our body that regenerate, egg cells do not.
As a woman’s follicles approach zero, menopause sets in, leading to a woman’s body beginning to age faster. Menopause can lead to multiple health risks, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, so understanding and potentially slowing down or stopping the process of folliculogenesis may help women’s health and lifespan.