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The ABCs of Ovulation
If you’re TTC (trying to conceive) you may feel a little confused by all of the fertility-related acronyms, but when it comes to understanding ovulation, the three most important acronyms are FSH, LH, and OPK.
FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. It signals the ovaries to recruit and grow follicles for ovulation, and for estrogen to reach appropriate levels for this to occur. Depending on whether your cycle is natural or involves fertility drugs, you may have one or several egg-containing follicles striving toward the ultimate goal of becoming a baby.
LH (luteinizing hormone) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that triggers ovulation. During an LH surge, the follicles that have reached maturity will rupture and release a mature egg down the fallopian tubes for fertilization. LH also contributes to the development of a corpus luteum (follicle after egg is released) which produces progesterone to sustain a pregnancy.
OPK (ovulation prediction kit) is the name of the test that helps you track when ovulation is about to occur. OPKs do not tell you that ovulation is happening, but tell you that an LH surge has been detected, meaning ovulation is near. OPKs are available over the counter and come in a variety of forms from low tech to all the bells and whistles.
If you have irregular menstrual cycles or have been tracking ovulation for six months to one year but have not gotten pregnant, give our Patient Care Coordinators a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or fill out the Contact Fertility Doctors Near Me form. They are current and former fertility patients, who have firsthand experience with charting ovulation and know the ropes of fertility treatment. They can help you find the best fertility doctor for your needs!