Anovulation refers to a condition in women in which an egg is not released from the ovaries. This can lead to menstrual cycle irregularities (no periods, long or short cycles, irregular cycles). You need to ovulate if you want to get pregnant, and anovulation is the #1 reason of infertility experienced by women with difficulties getting pregnant.
How Do you know you are not ovulating?
Women who ovulate regularly have regular periods, usually every 28 (range 21-35) days. Women with with anovulation have very irregular or no period. Monitoring your menstruation as well as ovulation cycle, which includes becoming aware of the signs of ovulation, can help you identify some of the symptoms of anovulation. The most common of these fertility symptoms include the following:
- irregular basal body temperature (BBT)
- irregular menstruation
- reduced PMS symptoms
- amenorrhea (the absence of a menstrual period)
- excessive menstrual bleeding
- oligomenorrhea (light menstruation)
Experiencing chronic anovulation or avoiding treatment can lead to infertility.
What Causes Anovulation?
Anovulation is normal when you breastfeed or you are pregnant. Women taking the birth control pill also do not usually ovulate. Excessive weights (too much or too little weight) can lead to anovulation as can stress. The #1 cause for anovulation is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).
The first step is to try to identify why you don't ovulate. If you are overweight, losing weight, and if you are underweight gaining weight makes you usually ovulate. In more serious cases of anovulation, fertility drug therapies such as clomiphene and gonadotropin may be recommended to induce ovulation. It is important that any underlying cause of infertility which may result in anovulation be treated. In some cases, an ovarian wedge resection may be performed. This procedure involves the removal of certain parts of the ovaries in order to balance hormone levels. Speak to your doctor or a fertility specialist for information on what is best for you. Being aware of your options can help you make the appropriate decision for your future benefit.