Four egg shells.

What is anovulation?

As you know, ovulation is the part of your menstrual cycle in which an egg is released for fertilization. During anovulation, on the other hand, you may get your period, but the egg does not get released. Oftentimes, women do not realize they haven’t ovulated because their periods occur as usual — in fact, many birth control forms actually chemically imitate anovulation.

Anovulation is difficult to detect, but occurs often during the early and late years of menstruation when a woman’s body changes frequently. In fact, 1 in 10 women in their child-bearing years will experience it. A single anovulatory cycle is nothing to worry about, but recurrence can impact fertility.

Anovulation and fertility

Many women who seek fertility help do so because they are not ovulating. Common causes of anovulation that are easy to resolve include stress, overexertion, and eating habits. Other causes of anovulation are changes in thyroid production, endocrine disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. All of these factors can influence hormone production and thus interfere with ovulation, which is regulated by hormones such as estrogen.

To test for anovulation, doctors monitor progesterone levels and your endometrial lining, both of which are impacted by the hormones released during ovulation. Medications such as Clomid can help your body begin the process of ovulation and treat anovulation issues.

Read more
  • Joseph B. Davis, DO, James H. Segars, MD. “Menstruation and Menstrual Disorders: Anovulation.” Global Library of Women’s Medicine. (ISSN: 1756-2228) 2009; DOI 10.3843/GLOWM.10296. Web. May 9 2015.
  • “Infertility FAQs.” CDC. US Department of Health and Human Services, Feb 16 2016. Web.
  • “Anovulation.” Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. August 25, 2021.

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