Ovulation is an important process in a woman's reproductive cycle. It is the phase in a woman's menstrual cycle when one of the two ovaries located on either side of the uterus releases a fully-matured egg, also known as the ovum. In a 28-day menstrual cycle, this phase typically begins around day 14 or so.
However, in some cases, this process is disrupted when the egg fails to fully develop or mature and is not released from the ovary during the menstrual cycle. This condition is medically termed "anovulation." Anovulation is usually caused by hormonal imbalance and can result in irregular periods. In extreme cases of anovulation, the uterus ceases to menstruate for significant periods.
A Brief Look at Anovulation
Hormonal imbalances caused by health complications, medications and other external factors can result in anovulation. At times, a woman may experience a single anovulatory cycle before resuming her normal cycle, but sometimes it could become a recurring issue. In cases where anovulation persists, resulting in no periods for several months altogether, the issue is considered chronic and immediate medical consultation is advised.
Anovulation prevents pregnancy in women. Women of reproductive age rarely experience anovulation symptoms unless their hormonal secretions are imbalanced. Anovulation can cause irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty conceiving and other signs and symptoms in women. The underlying cause determines the treatment for anovulation. Potential treatments for restoring regular ovulation include hormonal medications, lifestyle changes and dietary changes.
It is important to note that anovulation is considered normal in adult females who have reached menopause.
A woman who experiences ovulation at regular intervals would experience several definite symptoms, some of which are listed below.
● Cervical mucus is generally secreted in high amounts.
● Women may experience a sudden drop in body temperature midway through the regular menstrual cycle.
● Regular periods.
Women who do not exhibit the aforementioned ovulation symptoms are more likely to be diagnosed with anovulation.
Irregular periods are one of the most common anovulation symptoms. Women who have irregular periods can use the kits available today to accurately predict the stages of their
ovulation. This kit usually predicts women's ovulation period by determining their hormone secretion levels. The ovulation period can also be predicted by running medical examinations or undergoing ultrasonic scans while visiting a licensed doctor.
There are several anovulation causes. A hormonal contraceptive is one of the most common anovulation causes. Contraceptives are usually used top revent pregnancy. Several contraceptives contain hormones that disrupt women's internal systems, causing ovulation to stop and eventually, pregnancy to be prevented. Hormonal contraceptives are usually made up of hormones like estrogen or synthetic progesterone. The various types of contraceptives are listed below.
● Pills: Several doctors prescribe cyclic tablets taken orally daily to avoid pregnancy.
● Contraceptive Patch: This patch sticks to the skin of women to release hormones like estrogen and synthetic progesterone avoid pregnancy.
● Vaginal Rings: Women also prefer vaginal rings that are inserted inside their vagina to prevent pregnancy. Vaginal rings are usually replaced once every month.
● Contraceptive Implants: These implants are inserted on the underside of women's upper arms. These are small plastic rods. They are effective for a maximum of three years. These implants release definite doses of progesterone to suppress ovulation.
● Intrauterine Devices: This device is inserted into a woman's uterus for a period between three and five years.
● Contraceptive Shots: These shots are taken once every twelve weeks.
The above forms of contraceptives stop ovulation and prevent pregnancy. Women are strongly advised to consult a doctor to assess and examine which of the above-mentioned methods of contraception would be safe and risk-free for their body type and medical conditions.
Drugs & Their Side Effects
Several common medications can also be potential anovulation causes. Non-steroidal drugs that fight inflammation can lead to anovulation. In several cases, common painkillers like naproxen and ibuprofen have also been determined to be part of the list of anovulation causes. Oral supplements with specific herbs can result in anovulation symptoms in women.
Many skincare products that treat premenstrual syndrome and delay ageing are made of estrogen and synthetic progesterone. If these products enter into the internal systems of women, they experience hormonal imbalance and anovulation symptoms. Steroids prescribed for treating health issues like asthma, allergies, etc., can interfere with the functioning of hormone-secreting glands and subsequently cause anovulation.
Drugs prescribed for neuro logical disorders like epilepsy and seizures can disrupt menstruation and cause anovulation. Cancer treatments, medicine prescribed to fight
cancer, frequent chemotherapy sessions and radiation can permanently damage a woman's ovaries.
Several health issues can affect the level of hormone secretions that are vital for menstruation and ovulation. Illnesses that affect glands like the thyroid, hypothalamus, etc., can affect a woman's menstrual cycle. PCOS, which has been proven to have affected 20% of women who belong to age groups deemed favourable for getting pregnant, is another major cause of irregular periods.
Unusual weight reduction or gain can also affect ovulation. Estrogen secretions are affected by changes in a person's weight. As a result, people who are overweight or underweight may experience anovulation symptoms. Excessive exercise and increased stress can also result in anovulation.
Premature menopause can lead to anovulation. This health condition can also be referred to as "early ovarian insufficiency." This condition is commonly associated with women who reach menopause before the age of 40.
Many women experience serious issues as a result of anovulation, such as difficulty conceiving or undergoing irregular menstrual cycles. Since many factors are considered responsible for inducing anovulation, there is medically no definite anovulation treatment. In most cases, a doctor would look into and assess the underlying and primary cause of the said issue and prescribe anovulation treatment accordingly. Since anovulation can be caused by hormonal imbalances, doctors may prescribe tablets or medication to correct such imbalances. If the prescribed anovulation treatment is successful, the recovered woman would no longer experience irregular periods or difficulties conceiving a baby.
The best course of action for women with irregular ovulation cycles is to consult a doctor, preferably a gynaecologist, to learn about and start an effective anovulation treatment.
Must Read: Menstrual Problems: Types and Causes
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