What are the causes of ovulation disorders?
For a woman to conceive, her ovaries must release an egg every month. This process usually begins at puberty and continues until menopause. However, in some cases, a woman may not ovulate regularly because of ovulation disorders. This can make natural conception difficult and lead to infertility. There are many causes of ovulation disorders. In this article, we discuss the causes of the ovulation disorder.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS
PCOS is probably the most common cause of infertility. It is marked by an excessive production of male hormones; testosterone and androgens and an imbalance in the production of estrogen and progesterone. This keeps the eggs in the ovaries from maturing and being released. Instead, the follicles containing immature eggs turn into tiny cysts on the rim of the ovaries.
The hypothalamus is a small region at the base of the brain that produces vital hormones and influences the functioning of the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic dysfunction affects the pituitary gland's production of LH and FSH hormones. These hormones are essential for ovulation. Without them, the woman's ovaries may not be able to release an egg every month. As a result, she may have irregular periods or may miss them completely.
Premature Ovarian Failure
Every woman is born with around 2 million immature eggs. From puberty onwards, one of these eggs matures and is released. Not all eggs mature many are lost in the process of maturing which continue until menopause. However, in some cases, a woman's ovaries stop functioning long before menopause. This is known as a premature ovarian failure. Premature ovarian failure may be caused by genetic abnormalities, autoimmune diseases and exposure to toxins. This type of ovulation disorder cannot be treated and the woman may ultimately require egg donation.
Prolactin is a hormone essential for breast milk production. It also inhibits the release of follicle stimulating hormone, FSH and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). These hormones play an important role in triggering ovulation. Hence an excessive production of prolactin can restrict ovulation which disrupts a woman's menstrual cycle, thereby posing difficulty in conception .
Thyroid dysfunction itself is a condition that interferes with normal ovarian function, thereby leading to irregular menstrual cycles. This may lead to difficulty in conception.
Moreover thyroid disorders can have adverse pregnancy outcomes if untreated during pregnancy.
Ovulation disorders can also be the result of stress, too much exercise and anorexia.