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What To Do If Ovulation Does Not Happen?

Ovulation, the process of releasing an egg from the ovary, is a key part of the menstrual cycle and fertility. However, for some women, ovulation may not occur regularly or at all, leading to concerns and challenges when trying to conceive. In this article, we explore what to do if ovulation does not happen, including causes, diagnosis, treatment options, and lifestyle changes that can help improve ovulatory function.

Understanding Ovulation

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the ovary, which then travels down the fallopian tube, ready for fertilisation by sperm. It usually occurs halfway through the menstrual cycle, around day 14 for those with a 28-day cycle.

How does ovulation occur?

Ovulation is triggered by a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH), which causes the follicle containing the egg to rupture and release the egg into the fallopian tube. This process is controlled by a delicate balance of hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone.

Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation

Physical signs

Some women may experience physical symptoms of ovulation, such as slight abdominal cramping, increased cervical mucus, or a slight rise in basal body temperature.

Tracking methods

Tracking menstrual cycles using methods such as basal body temperature charting, ovulation predictor kits, or monitoring cervical mucus changes can help pinpoint the timing of ovulation.

Causes of Anovulation

Hormonal imbalances

Changes in hormonal balance, such as high levels of prolactin or insulin resistance, can interfere with ovulation.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common hormonal disorder characterised by irregular periods, cysts on the ovaries, and high levels of androgens, which can interrupt ovulation.

Thyroid disorders

Thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can affect hormone levels and disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to anovulation.

Stress and lifestyle factors

High levels of stress, excessive exercise, inadequate nutrition, and being underweight or overweight can all impact hormonal balance and ovulatory function.

When to Seek Medical Help

Irregular menstrual cycles

If you have irregular or absent menstrual periods, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and discuss treatment options.

Underlying health conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, can contribute to ovulatory dysfunction and may require medical intervention.

Duration of trying to conceive

If you have been actively trying to conceive for over a year without success (or six months if you’re over 35), it’s recommended that you find a fertility specialist to check you over.

Ovulation Diagnosis

Medical history and physical examination

Your healthcare professional will take a detailed medical history, including menstrual cycle patterns, and perform a physical examination to check for signs of hormonal imbalance or reproductive disorders.

Hormone level testing

Blood tests to measure hormone levels, such as LH, FSH, oestrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and thyroid hormones, can help identify hormonal imbalances contributing to anovulation.

Ultrasound imaging

Transvaginal ultrasound may be performed to visualize the ovaries and assess follicle development and the thickness of the uterine lining.

Ovulation Treatment Options

Lifestyle changes

Making lifestyle modifications, such as managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, can help regulate menstrual cycles and improve ovulatory function.


Medications such as clomiphene citrate or letrozole may be prescribed to induce ovulation in women with ovulatory disorders.

Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be recommended for couples struggling with infertility due to anovulation or other fertility issues.

Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Dietary modifications

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support overall health and fertility.

Stress management techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels and improve reproductive function.

Exercise and weight management

Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help regulate menstrual cycles and improve ovulatory function.

Alternative Therapies


Acupuncture may help regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility by promoting blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing hormone levels.

Herbal supplements

Certain herbs, such as chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus) or maca root, have been traditionally used to support hormonal balance and reproductive health.

Yoga and meditation

Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation can reduce stress and promote relaxation, potentially improving fertility outcomes.

The Role of Nutrition

Essential nutrients for fertility

Nutrients such as folate, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are important for reproductive health and may improve fertility outcomes.

Foods to avoid

Limiting intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and trans fats can help optimise hormone balance and support reproductive function.

Support Networks

Seeking emotional support

Navigating infertility can be emotionally challenging, so getting support from friends, family, or a therapist can provide valuable emotional support.

Joining support groups

Connecting with others experiencing similar challenges through online or in-person support groups can provide a sense of community and validation.

Coping Strategies

Dealing with emotional stress

Finding healthy coping mechanisms such as journaling, time on hobbies, or spending time in nature can help manage the emotional toll of infertility.

Maintaining a positive mindset

Focusing on areas of your life outside of fertility and maintaining hope can help maintain a positive outlook during the journey to conception.

Addressing ovulatory dysfunction requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses medical assessment, lifestyle changes, and possibly medical interventions. By working closely with healthcare professionals and making healthy lifestyle choices, individuals can optimise their chances of conceiving and growing their families.


Can stress cause ovulation problems?

Chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation in some individuals.

Are there any natural remedies for improving ovulation?

Certain herbs, supplements, and lifestyle changes may help regulate menstrual cycles and improve ovulatory function.

How long does it take to regulate ovulation with lifestyle changes?

The timeline for seeing improvements in ovulatory function varies, but consistency with healthy habits is key.

Is anovulation always a sign of infertility?

Anovulation can make it more challenging to conceive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean infertility. With proper treatment and management, many individuals can still become pregnant.

When should I consider fertility treatments for anovulation?

If you have been unable to ovulate and conceive after making lifestyle changes and taking medication, it may be worth trying fertility treatments such as IVF or IUI.

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