Ovulatory disorder is a term that describes a group of disorders in which ovulation fails to occur, or occurs on an infrequent or irregular basis. Ovulatory disorders are one of the leading causes of infertility.
Types of Ovulatory Disorders
Anovulation, or no ovulation, is a disorder in which eggs do not develop properly, or are not released from the follicles of the ovaries. Women who have this disorder may not menstruate for several months. Others may menstruate even though they are not ovulating. Although anovulation may result from hormonal imbalances, eating disorders, and other medical disorders, the cause is often unknown. Female athletes who exercise excessively may also stop ovulating.
Oligo-ovulation is a disorder in which ovulation doesn't occur on a regular basis and your menstrual cycle may be longer than the normal cycle of 21 to 35 days.
Medical Contribution: Stephen Greenhouse, M.D.
diagnostic tests for ovulatory disorders
Your medical history is useful in diagnosing ovulatory disorders. However, your physician may require other tests to confirm the diagnosis such as:
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
A blood test that measures the amount of follicle stimulating hormone in your blood to see if you are approaching menopause.
Progesterone blood level
A blood test that measures the amount of progesterone in your blood to diagnose if ovulation has occurred.
A scan that uses high-frequency sound waves to see if follicles in your ovaries are developing. Your physician may also use an ultrasound to evaluate ovarian function—for example, small ovaries with a few small follicles may be a sign of approaching menopause.
A procedure, performed infrequently, in which your physician will obtain a sample of your endometrial tissue to determine if it is developed enough to support a pregnancy.
treatment for ovulatory disorders
If you are not ovulating, your doctor may prescribe a medication to stimulate your ovulation. If you decide to take medication to ovulate, your doctor will want to monitor you carefully to see if and when you are ovulating. Monitoring usually involves ultrasound and blood tests.
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How can I tell if I am ovulating?
Ovulation prediction kits are helpful for detecting when you are about to ovulate. They measure the luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. A LH surge (high level of LH in your urine) means that you will probably ovulate within the next 24 to 36 hours. You will perform this test in the middle of your cycle. (For example, we recommend you perform this test on days 13 and 15 of your menstrual cycle if you usually get your period every 28 days. Day 1 is the first day of your period.) If you do the test every day during your midcycle and do not detect an LH surge, you may not be ovulating.
How can charting my basal body temperature (BBT) help to diagnose anovulation?
Your BBT should rise just after you ovulate—about 2 weeks before your next period is due to begin. If there is no rise in your BBT at midcycle, you may not be ovulating. BBT charting cannot predict ovulation, but it may confirm that ovulation has occurred.
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