Causes of Infertility: Ovulation Dysfunction
In our Plano IVF Center, Dr. James Douglas evaluates patients to identify why they cannot conceive so that he can recommend the appropriate treatment and help them conceive. Female infertility can be caused by a variety of factors, including ovulation dysfunction. When ovulation doesn’t occur regularly or fails to happen at all, Dr. Douglas may diagnose ovulation dysfunction.
What is ovulation dysfunction?
During a typical menstrual cycle, a woman’s body prepares to release an egg so that fertilization can occur. In the early part of a cycle, the female body produces hormones to thicken the uterine lining and it prepares the egg for ovulation. Approximately two weeks into the cycle, about day 14, an ovary will release the egg so that it can travel to the fallopian tubes for fertilization and then move into the uterus for implantation. Ovulation dysfunction occurs when a woman experiences a lack of normal, regular ovulation.
Who suffers from ovulation dysfunction?
In about 20 percent of couples dealing with infertility, ovulation dysfunction is the culprit. One of the main causes of ovulation dysfunction is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can impact a woman’s hormone levels, weight and menstrual cycles. Women under extreme stress, those suffering from eating disorders and individuals with thyroid issues may also face ovulation issues.
How is ovulation dysfunction diagnosed?
Understanding the types of ovulation dysfunctionAs part of your consultation, Dr. Douglas will take your complete medical history, which may offer clues that point towards ovulation dysfunction. Blood work and/or a physical exam can help confirm the initial diagnosis.
The following issues often result in ovulation dysfunction:
Luteal phase defect: The time in a woman’s cycle between ovulation and the start of the next menstrual cycle is referred to as the luteal phase. A normal length is 10 to 16 days. With luteal phase deficiency, the patient may not produce enough progesterone, or the uterine lining may not be prepared to sustain a pregnancy.
Diminished ovarian reserve: Women are born with a finite amount of eggs. As a woman ages, the quality and quantity of eggs will start to decline. Diminished ovarian reserve tends to occur with women in their late 30s and into their 40s.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): Marked by symptoms such as irregular cycles, excessive hair growth and difficulty losing weight, polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal imbalance that disrupts the female menstrual cycle, leading to ovulation problems.
Premature ovarian failure: When the ovaries of a woman under 40 stop functioning, the diagnosis is premature ovarian failure. Often, no specific cause is found to explain this condition.
Treatment options for ovulation dysfunction
Generally, fertility medication is the first line treatment for ovulation dysfunction. Dr. Douglas will often prescribe the oral medication clomiphene citrate (Clomid) for several cycles. If this doesn’t work in six cycles, he will usually recommend injectable fertility medications. When these options fail, Dr. Douglas may suggest moving on to other options such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization.
For more than two decades, Dr. Douglas has served women in the Dallas, Plano and Frisco areas by expertly diagnosing fertility problems and developing personalized treatment plans. Contact our fertility clinic to schedule a new patient consultation and get on track to welcome a new baby into your life.
Read more about the causes of Infertility with ASRM Guides & Fact Sheets
Ovarian Reserve – an ASRM Guide
Reproductive Aging in Women – an ASRM Guide