There are lots of reasons why a woman wouldn’t ovulate, but let’s take a step backwards and try and determine whether you are ovulating or not. If your periods do not come at all, or they are more than 40 days apart, then there is a very good chance that you are not ovulating. There are also some women who appear to have regular periods but are still not ovulating. Although this is fairly unusual, it can happen.
There are several ways to determine whether you are ovulating. The least expensive way is with something called Basal Body Temperature Charts (or BBT’s). You will need a thermometer. They do make special BBT thermometers, but a digital thermometer will also do. Another option is to try ovulation predictor tests. These look just like the home pregnancy tests you can buy, but they are to determine when you are ovulating instead.
What Are Ovulatory Disorders
For women who are not ovulating regularly, the cause is usually that the ovary is not receiving the appropriately timed signals to mature and release an egg. The pituitary gland, at the base of the brain, produces the hormones that control the ovaries – FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). If ovulation is not occurring in a regular, timed fashion, it is likely that the ovaries and the pituitary are not communicating appropriately.
Ovulatory disorders broadly break down into two groups:
1. anovulation – when no ovulation at all occurs;
2. oligo-ovulation – when ovulation occurs infrequently or irregularly.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is the most common cause of anovulation and oligo-ovulation. PCOS can prevent women from ovulating but can also cause a number of additional symptoms such as small cysts in the ovaries, obesity, and unwanted facial hair.
Any woman with an ovulatory disorder, regardless of the type, should seek treatment if she wants her chances of becoming pregnant to be similar to the average for women who ovulate regularly.
A drug to trigger ovulation, such as clomiphene, aromatase inhibitors, or human gonadotropins, may be used. The particular drug is selected based on the specific problem. If the cause of infertility is early menopause, neither clomiphene nor human gonadotropins can stimulate ovulation.
About 10% of women who do not ovulate have no defined reason why they are not ovulating. It appears that their pituitaries just do not send out the right signals. There are also other much rarer hormonal causes. Most of these will have other signs and symptoms that bring that person to the attention of a doctor.
No matter why you are not ovulating, you need to see a doctor! If the lining inside the uterus does not shed with a period at least every 6 weeks, it can start to turn abnormal. It can even turn into cancer.
Thyroid disease and PCOS have implications for the rest of your health as well, so go see your doctor. Most of these conditions are very easy to diagnose and treat, so why not go see someone today?