Ovulation Disorders: Symptoms & Treatment
Ovulation disorders are a range of conditions that affect a woman’s endocrine system. The endocrine system regulates her hormones, ovulation patterns, or the process by which her ovary produces an egg during her monthly cycle. Infrequent and irregular ovulation, anovulation, or the lack of ovulation, a prevalent cause of irregular menstrual cycles, can be caused by ovulation disorders.
Ovulation disorders can be caused by certain drugs, medical problems, and lifestyle choices that alter hormone levels. According to the World Health Organization, a couple’s infertility is caused by disordered ovulation in roughly 25% of cases.
Ovulation disorders and infertility
Ovulation disorders frequently lead to infertility in women. The endocrine system secretes hormones during a typical menstrual cycle to get the body ready for pregnancy. It includes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle-stimulating stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).
The hormones GnRH and FSH are primarily in charge of causing an egg to develop within a woman’s ovary. LH encourages the mature egg’s ultimate release into the fallopian tube, where the sperm can fertilise it.
Even though cycle lengths differ, women who ovulate regularly have a menstrual cycle that may last from 21 days to 35 days. But ovulation occurs just once during that time. Anovulation, or irregular or missing ovulation, can lead to infertility in women who have hormonal imbalances or deficiencies.
Ovulation disorder symptoms
The symptoms of an ovulation disorder will vary depending on its underlying cause and the hormones that regulate ovulation. Infertility may be the only symptom in some situations. Others consist of:
- Period irregularities: Period irregularities or absences are frequent.
- Mood swings: These frequently involve anxiety, depression, and restlessness.
- Weight gain
Common ovulation disorders
The menstrual cycle and the process of getting pregnant are both greatly influenced by the endocrine system. Being overweight or underweight, for example, might disrupt hormone levels. It could lead to irregular hormone production, damage the ovaries, and create an ovulation issue. Other illnesses, drugs, and lifestyle factors can also affect hormone levels.
The inability to get pregnant and irregular or nonexistent menstruation are the two main signs of disrupted ovulation. However, each illness has a distinct set of symptoms. The primary ovulation abnormalities that we treat most frequently are listed below:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): The specific cause of PCOS is unknown. But the hormonal imbalances that impact a woman’s androgen (testosterone) levels and insulin sensitivity are most likely to be to blame. Low levels of insulin responsiveness can cause blood glucose levels to rise and testosterone levels to rise.
Although some testosterone is produced by women naturally, those who have PCOS and increased testosterone levels may develop ovarian cysts, irregular or nonexistent periods, and anovulation.
Multiple cysts that develop over time can prevent ovarian follicles from developing mature eggs. And an excess of testosterone androgen can prevent ovulation and lead to infertility. Male pattern baldness, weight gain, severe acne, greasy skin, and abundant hair on the face, chest, stomach, and upper thighs are some more PCOS symptoms.
- Premature ovarian failure & menopause: Menopause that begins before the age of 40 is referred to as premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). The ovaries stop generating oestrogen during menopause and premature ovarian failure. Premature ovarian failure commonly happens due to an early “run-out” of healthy ovarian follicles (the sacs that develop into eggs) or because the ovarian follicles aren’t functioning properly.
Although a woman’s body does produce less oestrogen as she gets older, it is still not entirely clear what causes early ovarian failure. Premature ovarian failure is more common in women with autoimmune disorders. Those who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or those who have specific genetic problems.
- Hypothalamic amenorrhea: For a woman to become pregnant, FSH and LH are necessary. The pituitary gland releases FSH during the menstrual cycle to tell the ovaries that a follicle needs to develop into an ovum. The freshly matured egg is removed from the follicle when FSH levels start to fall and LH levels start to rise.
Ovulation may be irregular or nonexistent in women with hypothalamic amenorrhea because their bodies lack the nutrition or fat content necessary to transmit hormone impulses to the ovaries. High or low body weight, extreme weight gain or loss, and excessive stress can all be contributing causes. Dancers, anorexic women, and elite athletes frequently experience hypothalamic amenorrhea.
- Hormone imbalances: Infertility in women can be caused by an overproduction of some hormones. For instance, hyperprolactinemia may result from an overproduction of prolactin, a hormone made by the pituitary gland. In hyperprolactinemia, the excess prolactin lowers the levels of oestrogen, which results in infertility.
- Lifestyle factors that can affect ovulation: A woman’s level of activity, weight, and use of medications are just a few lifestyle elements that might influence hormone levels and result in infertility. Hormone abnormalities in obese or overweight women may also have an effect on their capacity to conceive.
When taken for extended periods, medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can impact ovulation. The hormones required for ovulation are interfered with by steroids and various epileptic drugs, including those that a doctor approves for medical purposes. Hormones are frequently used in birth control treatments to prevent the ovaries from producing and releasing eggs.
Even though drugs can affect ovulation, it’s crucial to talk to the prescribing doctor before stopping any prescriptions.
Treating ovulation disorders
The quality and frequency of ovulation are the main goals of treatments for ovulation problems. Some treatments consist of:
- Fertility medications: Oral and injectable fertility drugs can encourage the release of eggs from the ovaries. An oral medicine that requires little to no monitoring will work for most women. When oral treatment is ineffective, a patient will start injecting drugs requiring injectable medications, requiring tighter physician supervision.
- Lifestyle changes: Patients are urged to adopt lifestyle changes. Regular exercise, stress management techniques, and maintaining a healthy weight are advised.