Most of us have a basic understanding of ovulationThis is the process by which the female body releases one or more eggs, usually monthly, in the hopes of being fertilized. If these eggs are not fertilized, they will become your period!
Now what if ovulation does not occur at all?
This is called Anovulationor the absence or absence of ovulation during a menstrual cycle.
What is anovulation? Symptoms of Anovulation? Why does it happen to certain people? How could it affect fertility?
While most menstruating people experience anovulation from time to time, if it happens regularly it is most likely due to some type of illness hormonal Imbalance.
Estrogen and progesterone are the hardworking hormones that remind the ovaries when it is time to release a mature egg each month. When these hormones are out of whack, this process is disrupted.
This tells us what, but it doesn’t tell us why or the root cause of anovulation.
For people who have already been hormonal contraception As with the pill, IUD or patch, it may take some time after stopping HBC for the cycle to regulate itself again.
Most hormonal birth controls suppress ovulation, which means that sometimes the body only needs a little time to adjust after weaning.
You are young
When people are at the beginning of their menstrual years, it often takes time for their body to regulate their cycle. This can mean irregular cycles and occasional anovulations.
Young menstruators can aid ovulation and cycle regulation by adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting to know their bodies Tracking their cycle.
The menstrual cycle is often viewed as a vital sign as it can highlight other underlying problems that may arise.
Stress, grief, excessive weight loss or gain, vigorous exercise, and certain medications can all cause someone to have an anovulatory cycle.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOSIt is estimated that 8-20% of people who menstruate worldwide are affected. People with PCOS can have unwanted excess body hair, acne, weight gain, and pelvic pain.
The ovarian cysts caused by this condition can interfere with ovulation, which can affect fertility.
Hypogonadotropic hypogonadismHH is when the testes or ovaries produce little or no sex hormones.
During anovulation, the ovaries do not produce the hormones necessary for ovulation.
HH can be caused by any number of factors, including damage to the Hypothalamus or Pituitary gland (which helps the body regulate hormones), genetic factors, opioid or steroid use, chronic inflammation or infection, and severe stress.
Depending on the cause of HH, it may or may not be the other way around, which would enable ovulation.
If you skip an ovulation cycle but still seem to be getting a “period,” it is possible that you are pregnant.
For people beginning their pregnancy, they can experience it “Implantation bleeding”This is the case when a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine wall. Occasional spots aren’t abnormal during pregnancy, but you should keep track of them and notify your provider of any changes.
When the body stops producing estrogen, a menstruating person occurs Perimenopause, also known as “pre-menopause”.
As someone nears the end of their menstrual years, their periods may become irregular or they may skip them in random months.
With fewer ovulatory cycles, a person’s ability to conceive begins to decline.
For those looking to get pregnant during this time, fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, IVF can help increase their chances of conception. Of course, this process can be incredibly expensive and take time.
Can you still get a period if you don’t ovulate?
The short answer is yes (kind of), and this is the case for many people who are on hormonal birth control.
During the first half of the menstrual cycle, the body works hard to build the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus, in preparation for a possible pregnancy. Even if the body does not ovulate, if an endometrium has formed and the body has to shed it through the vagina.
While technically this isn’t a “period,” it will look like it, and you may not even know that you haven’t ovulated.
Anovulation and pregnancy
For people who experience anovulation on a regular basis, it can make conception a difficult and emotional journey.
Unfortunately, you cannot get pregnant during a non-ovulating menstrual cycle. If this happens regularly, this is a possible sign of it infertility.
The ability to conceive for people who do not ovulate regularly depends on the cause of the anovulation.
Some may be able to increase their chances of conception through lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, exercise, and taking supplements. Others may turn to methods like hormone therapy and IVF, as we mentioned earlier.
In addition to or in lieu of these methods, people may be able to regulate ovulation through holistic therapies such as acupuncture and functional medicine.
The bottom line
When it comes down to it, anovulation is a symptom of a wide range of possible conditions or side effects. If anovulation is affecting your physical and / or mental health, there may be steps you can take to help regulate your cycle and life.