What is Anovulation?

Anovulation is a failure of the ovary to release an egg and may be treatable depending on the cause
Anovulation is a failure of the ovaries to ovulate

Anovulation is also known as lack of ovulation and simply refers to a failure of the ovary to release an egg.

Ovulation is controlled by a complex process of hormones at different stages throughout your cycle, and is controlled both locally in the reproductive tract and by the pituitary gland in the brain. A problem at any point with one or more of these steps can result in the egg not developing properly in the ovary, and not being released at the correct time. This can happen normally on occasions, but if this is occurring regularly or all the time, then it will result in fertility problems.


Anovulation Causes


What are the chances of having anovulation?

Problems with ovulation can account for up to 45% of infertility in women. The good news is that it is almost always treatable.


Anovulation Symptoms

The most common symptom of anovulation is irregular or absent periods.

Many women have some variation in their cycle length, but an irregular cycle is defined as one which varies by more than 8 days between the shortest cycle length and the longest. Alternatively, if a cycle is less than 21 days or longer than 35 days it can be classed as irregular.

If a woman’s cycle is irregular, it does not mean that ovulation is not occurring, but it can be a sign that it is not occurring on a regular basis.


Anovulation Diagnosis

If you have an irregular cycle or are concerned that you may not be ovulating, after six months of trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully, make an appointment to see your doctor. Depending on your consultation with them, they may then send you for a blood test.

The blood test will look at the levels of progesterone in your blood one week after ovulation should have occurred. If the typical progesterone rise is absent, then ovulation has not occurred during that cycle. This does not necessarily mean that all of your cycles are like this however, but your doctor may start investigating for some of the causes for anovulation.


Anovulation Treatment

The exact treatment depends upon the underlying cause for anovulation. For example, if there are thyroid problems, then treatment of this is likely to return cycles to normal.

Lifestyle changes such as obtaining a normal body weight or reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will also be beneficial.

There are also medications available which can stimulate ovulation, either taken alone, or as part of IVF treatment.


Anovulation and Fertility Associated Problems

If you have or think you might have Anovulation, you may also want to read the following sections:

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