Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Common Causes of Anovulation

Anovulation refers to a condition in which a woman does not ovulate. To understand what anovulation is, it is important to understand a bit about how a woman’s cycle works, and what exactly it is that happens during ovulation.

During ovulation, a single, mature egg is released from the ovarian follicle. During the course of a monthly cycle, the largest of the eggs is released into the fallopian tube. Once released, the egg then has the potential to become fertilized over the next day or so. After this, the egg will begin to disintegrate. If the egg does indeed become fertilized and implant successfully in the uterus, a woman becomes pregnant. If the egg is not fertilized, it is part of what is passed from the woman’s body during menstrual bleeding.

When a woman does not release an egg at all, it is known as anovulation. When this occurs during just a single monthly cycle, it is referred to as having an anovulatory cycle. In many cases, it may be possible to avoid or to correct anovulation.

Whether or not anovulation can be corrected depends, at least in part, on the cause. Anovulation can be caused intentionally, for example, by taking birth control pills. Breastfeeding can also cause anovulation. Excessive weight gain or loss can cause anovulation, as can strenuous exercise. Anovulation can be cause by a simple illness or infection, or it can be caused by pituitary or thyroid problems. More serious causes of anovulation can include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a luteal phase defect, failure of the ovaries, and resistant ovary syndrome.

It is not uncommon for a woman to experience anovulation from time to time. If you do not ovulate for several cycles in a row, you should speak with your health care provider. Your health care provider may be able to help identify the cause of anovulation, as well as help you to develop a treatment plan to address anovulation.

There are a variety of herbal treatments for anovulation as well. Vitex, also called Chasteberry, Evening Primrose Oil, and vitamin B6 may all help the woman who is experiencing anovulation.

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