Why Am I Not Ovulating?
Table Of Contents
Ovulation is when an egg is released from one of your ovaries. This occurs monthly with the aid of your reproductive hormones. During ovulation, one of your ovaries releases between 10 to 20 eggs, this process continues until menopause when ovulation stops completely. The eggs that have been released start to mature within their own sacs, called follicles ready to be fertilized by a man’s sperm. Because of this, ovulation remains the single most important process in the female reproductive system that ensures pregnancy.
Generally, ovulation is known to occur about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual cycle. So, for example, if you have an average 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation will happen around day 14. Same way, for a 30-day menstrual cycle, ovulation may occur around the 16th day. For couples to be successful with pregnancy, timing is key as it can only occur if you have sexual intercourse in your “fertile window” which is during or near when you are ovulating. A man’s sperm is known to live as long as 72 hours which means that for each cycle a couple has approximately a 3-day window to conceive.
Click here to read about How Male infertility Occurs
There are some situations where you may not be getting your period at all, or you’ll have irregular periods which means you may not be ovulating. This is a condition described as anovulation which can be caused by many factors. Anovulation accounts for around 30% of female infertility. Some of the factors are described below;
Some illness may disturb your cycle and in effect delay or prevent ovulation altogether. Normally, falling ill will not necessarily affect your cycle, however, depending on when you fall ill, it may affect ovulation. If the sickness occurs after you have ovulated, then it will rarely affect it but if it occurs before your cycle, it may affect ovulation.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on an ovary. They’re very common and do not usually cause any symptoms. These generally tend to go away naturally without the need for any treatment, however, in cases where the cyst raptures, is very large or blocks the blood supply to the ovaries, then some form of treatment may be required. Such a scenario can cause irregular periods or affect ovulation.
The menstrual cycle is controlled by many hormones, two of such hormones (cortisol and melatonin) are known to be related to travel. Travelling may cause hormonal imbalance in the body which may lead to changes to your cycle. The result of this is that ovulation may be delayed or in some cases not occur.
One common cause of anovulation is weight gain or loss. Changes to the bodyweight either up or down may cause hormonal imbalances in the body creating menstrual irregularities and subtle fertility challenges. The right body weight will help support regular ovulation which will in turn help increase your chances of getting pregnant. When it comes to ovulation and fertility, being underweight is equally damaging as being overweight. Those that are extremely underweight often stop having periods altogether since they do not have enough body fat to support normal ovulation. On the other hand, being overweight can be problematic as the excess fat tissues can cause too much estrogen which will disturb the hormones in the body. It is suggested that to maintain normal ovulatory cycles, one should have a body mass index (BMI) between 20 and 24 or at least 22% body fat.
Ovulation can also be affected by regular strenuous exercise that causes the body fat to drop to less than 22%.
Regular menstruation and ovulation can also be affected by stress levels in the body. If you’re under severe stress it disturbs the hormones in the body which may in effect delay or disturb normal ovulation in the body.
In addition to the above factors, there are other medical conditions that may cause women to stop ovulating or disturb how regular they ovulate. Many of these medical conditions can be treated with the right expertise. Most often than not, highly irregular cycles reflect an underlying medical condition which can present fertility challenges. Some of these medical conditions include;
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Click here to read about How PCOS affects fertility
Why am I not ovulating? – Conclusion
Anovulation is the lack or absence of ovulation (the release of an egg). It is a common cause of infertility. It is often the result of an imbalance of the hormones that cause a woman to ovulate. This could be caused by a combination of factors such as stress, travelling, exercise, body weight, illness and ovarian cysts. Women’s fertility vitamins may help support ovulation by providing the right vitamins and minerals required by the body.
Perkins, S., Meyers-Thompson, J. and Paulson, R., 2011. Infertility For Dummies. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Warhus, S., 2011. Fertility demystified. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.
Weschler, T., n.d. Taking charge of your fertility.