OVULATION PROBLEMS

FAILURE OF THE OVARIES TO RELEASE A MATURE EGG EVERY MONTH IS A COMMON CAUSE OF INFERTILITY. IT HAS VARIOUS POSSIBLE CAUSES.

The release of eggs from the ovaries is controlled by a complex system of hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries, which work in harmony to maintain the system. Problems can arise if the system is interrupted. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (see p.219) is a common cause. Others include noncancerous pituitary gland tumors and thyroid problems (thyroid hormones are also important for fertility). Excessive exercise, obesity, being extremely underweight, and stress may result in a hormone imbalance. Early menopause may also cause a failure to ovulate. Blood tests can check hormone levels, and an ultrasound scan can check the ovaries. Causes are treated when possible, but sometimes no cause is found. Drugs may be given to stimulate ovulation or, in some cases, assisted conception is considered.

EXCESSIVE EXERCISE

The delicate balance of hormones that leads to the monthly release of a mature egg from the ovaries can be disrupted by frequent strenuous exercise.

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