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Ovulation Disorders 101

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Women who are having trouble trying to conceive might suspect that they are not ovulating. In fact, about 20% of couples who are trying to conceive experience some form of anovulation. Anovulation can be the result of high prolactin levels or thyroid disease. The most common ovulation disorders are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by a hormone imbalance that interferes with ovulation. An increase in androgens prevents eggs from fully maturing and releasing at the time of ovulation. A woman with PCOS may have many small cysts in her ovaries that contain the unreleased eggs. Because she is not ovulating, a woman with PCOS may have irregular or missed periods.

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea occurs when the hypothalamus in the brain stops producing gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). As a result, production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) does not occur. A woman with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea may notice irregular menstrual cycles and anovulation. Stress, severe calorie restriction, excessive amounts of exercising, or drastic weight changes can result in Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

The first step in collaborating with a fertility doctor to diagnose an ovulation disorder is to track your ovulation using an ovulation prediction kit (OPK), chart your basal body temperature (BBT), or monitor changes in your cervix.

Other Ovulation Disorder Resources on
Video: Can I Get Pregnant if I am Not Ovulating or Not Ovulating Regularly?
What Causes Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
Ovulation Disorders: Who Has Them and How To Treat Them

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