What Is Irregular Ovulation And How Does It Affect Fertility?
The Definition Of Irregular Ovulation
Irregular ovulation is a condition that affects women in the pre-menopausal years. This condition can affect a woman’s fertility. During normal ovulation, the female body releases an egg from 1 of the 2 ovaries. The ovaries contain thousands of eggs that live for years inside the body until menopause.
What happens during ovulation?
During ovulation, the egg travels through one of the fallopian tubes to the uterus to get fertilized by sperm cells. In the meantime, the uterus develops a lining to protect the potential embryo. If fertilization doesn’t occur, the uterine lining disintegrates and so does the egg. This process happens every 28-34 days and is known as the menstrual cycle. People with irregular ovulation have cycles that occur outside of the 28-34-day window. Sometimes, the body does not release an egg, a phenomenon known as anovulation.
The connection between irregular ovulation and fertility
Irregular ovulation can be the result of a medical condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition disrupts the body’s hormonal balance which ultimately stops ovulation. The ovaries become inflamed and develop small cysts. Some symptoms of PCOS include:
High blood pressure
Other causes of irregular ovulation
PCOS is a condition that can be diagnosed through testing. However, irregular ovulation can be caused by a host of issues, not just PCOS. For instance, severe stress can disrupt the body’s normal function and lead to anovulation. Another chronic medical condition, hypothyroidism, also contributes to fertility issues. Hypothyroidism is a disease that interferes with the thyroid’s function and causes hormone imbalance. The body’s sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone also can suffer due to the imbalances. The hormones regulate the menstrual cycle, and hormonal imbalances lead to anovulation.
Can doctors fix irregular ovulation?
Doctors can prescribe fertility treatments to help women with irregular ovulation to conceive. However, fertility drugs only treat the issue of conception. If the doctor discovers the woman has PCOS or hypothyroidism, these conditions must be managed before the woman can safely conceive. To learn more about irregular ovulation and treatment options, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider today.