Simply put, anovulation is when ovulation does not occur, so an egg is not released from the ovaries. It could refer to a one-time incident, such as a single anovulatory cycle, but some women experience this issue constantly. Since ovulation is necessary in order to reproduce, it can cause problems when it comes to trying to conceive a child. Fortunately, once this condition is diagnosed and the cause is determined, it is often possible to correct it.
Some women may not realize when they suffer from anovulation. While some females observe signs of ovulation every month, many do not notice any symptoms, and some bleeding that appears to be menstruation often still occurs during this type of cycle. Women trying to conceive may only notice an absence of ovulation after several months of infertility, especially if they decide to attempt to track their cycles. They may not see the temperature increase that is supposed to occur just after ovulation, or they may never get an indication that this process has occurred when they use ovulation monitors.
In order to ovulate regularly, there must be a correct balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. An imbalance of these hormones can make it impossible to ovulate or menstruate. This is normal during menopause, and it can even occur randomly in women of childbearing years. A prolonged period of anovulation, though, can cause infertility, and should be checked out by a doctor.
Certain lifestyle habits can cause anovulation temporarily, but usually when the normal routine is resumed, the ovaries will begin releasing eggs again. For example, breastfeeding is known for making ovulation irregular or nonexistent until the baby is weaned. Excessive stress, frequent travel, and a new exercise regimen can also halt ovulation. Extreme weight gain or loss, especially when associated with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, can also trigger anovulation. All of these causes can also result in amenorrhea, or the cessation of menstruation.
The treatment depends on the cause of the anovulatory cycles. Returning to a normal exercise routine, eliminating stress, and maintaining a healthy weight can all result in regular cycles, allowing the woman to ovulate once again. Other cases require medicine, such as Clomid or Pergonal, to jump start ovulation. These are often offered to women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, since they usually need assistance ovulating regularly. Some women prefer natural herbs, such as chastetree berry, to begin ovulating again.