Ovulatory disorders occur in women for many reasons, which may indicate, for example, hormonal dysfunction. In this article, I will discuss some of the most common reasons why ovulation does not occur on time and how ovulation can be improved naturally.
In my clinic, ovulation problems are one of the most common issues women struggle with when trying to conceive. For some, this means complete anovulation or ‘no ovulation’. We also treat women who ovulate too late or too early in their cycle. If you only have periods a few times a year or if your cycle is less than 28 days apart, this is a problem. Early and late ovulation can cause infertility or prolong natural conception. However, it is more important to recognise that these are symptoms of a deeper hormonal imbalance that needs to be addressed.
When women do not ovulate, the cause is often unknown. Many patients fall into the category of unexplained ovulation. However, most often these patients are somewhere in the range of PCOS, suffer from hypothalamic amenorrhea or have premature ovarian failure. This can also occur as a side effect of stopping contraception, fertility drugs and chemotherapy. Many women on the PCOS spectrum have some but not all of the signs; this can confuse people, but it is a real thing. We will go through the specifics of each in future posts.
When women ovulate too early (before cycle day 14), the follicle containing the egg may not reach full maturity (22-24 mm). This is sometimes referred to as “poorer” ovulation, and cycles that should be 28-30 days in total are often much shorter, closer to 20-25 days. Sometimes there may also be spotting before the onset of menstruation if progesterone starts to fall prematurely.
When ovulation occurs too late in the cycle (after day 20 of the cycle) or even months between cycles, egg quality can be seriously impaired to the point of infertility. It is also much more difficult to schedule intercourse when you cannot predict the fertile period. Ovulation prediction kits often do not work in this case, unfortunately. It is important to note that the only day you can get pregnant is the day you ovulate… So timing is everything!
So what can you do about it? First of all, it must be recognised that ovulation problems are a symptom of much bigger problems. The actual cause can often be hormonal, sometimes hereditary or traumatic. If the problem is caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypothalamic amenorrhoea, it is often fully reversible with diet, lifestyle changes and treatment. If the problem is caused by discontinuation of hormonal contraception or a medical ART cycle (IVF, IUI), we only need to restore the communication between the pituitary and the ovaries (HPO axis). All can be helped by acupuncture and herbal therapy.
At Meridian Care, treatment begins with an initial consultation to determine the underlying causes of ovulatory dysfunction and which dietary and lifestyle factors are most important to influence and support homeostasis and promote balance, so that the correct timing of ovulation and ovulation occur.
I am an acupuncturist, Chinese medicine expert, and a registered podiatrist. I studied Chinese medicine at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and in Traditional Chinese Medicine Academy of Malaysia. I have furthered my knowledge while working in Finland, China, Singapore and Taiwan with experienced doctors.