December 5, 2022

Angela Onwuzoo 

Medical experts have allayed the fears of women experiencing irregular ovulation, noting that they can still get pregnant.

The experts, however, noted that some women experiencing irregular ovulation can still have infertility due to an alteration in the pathway for normal reproduction. 

According to them, about 20 per cent of women of reproductive age have irregular ovulation also known as anovulation.

The experts identified polycystic ovarian syndrome – a hormonal disorder, premature ovarian failure, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes mellitus, and excessive weight gain as some of the health conditions that are associated with irregular ovulation.

According to Cleveland Clinic – a medical center providing online health education and information, anovulation happens when an egg (ovum) doesn’t release from a woman’s ovary during her menstrual cycle.

Anovulation, the Cleveland Clinic noted, is a common condition and is the cause of approximately 25 per cent of infertility cases. 

It added that approximately one in 10 people with ovaries who are of childbearing age experience the condition at some point in their lives.

Speaking in an interview with Reportr Door HealthWise, one of the experts and a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Solomon Avidime, urged women experiencing irregular ovulation to go to the hospital for proper evaluation by maternal health experts.

Avidime, however, said the treatment of the condition depends on the underlying cause.

The gynaecologist explained, “Women with irregular ovulation can still get pregnant. However, women with irregular ovulation can have infertility due to an alteration in the pathway for normal reproduction.

“This is ovarian factor infertility. Normal reproduction involves an ovulatory cycle mediated via hormones from the brain and the response from the ovaries and the uterus. 

“Women with irregular ovulation are to be seen by a gynaecologist for proper evaluation and treatment of the underlying cause. The treatment is targeted at correcting hormonal disorders and ensuring fertility.”

The maternal health expert pointed out that the treatment might be medical or surgical, adding also that some of the women with the condition who are experiencing infertility might benefit from assisted reproductive techniques. 

Explaining the causes of irregular ovulation, the don said, “The most common cause of irregular ovulation in our environment is polycystic ovarian syndrome.

“The cause of polycystic ovary may be poorly understood, but it usually results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

“PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries and the development of numerous small cysts on the outer edge.

“Another hormonal condition of a high level of prolactin called hyperprolactinemia can be responsible for irregular ovulation and irregular menstrual cycle. In this condition, most women have breast fluid (milk) discharges.”

Avidime, listed irregular menses, excessive bleeding when menses occurs, or even light bleeding as some of the signs of irregular ovulation. 

Others are absent menses, absent cervical mucus, having prolonged periods from one menses to the next, male pattern of hair distribution, acne, obesity, and irregular basal body temperature.

The gynaecologist also noted that high fat and low fiber diet that leads to obesity could predispose women to have irregular ovulation.

He urged women with the condition to avoid self-medication and seek help.

The professor also advised them to engage in a healthy lifestyle and regular physical exercise.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, bleeding disorders, eating disorders or extreme exercise, and sexually transmitted diseases can also cause irregular menses and ovulation.

Also, a Clinical Nutritionist at the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos, Susan Holdbrooke, told our correspondent that women who are starving themselves to become slim or trying to be a models are exposing themselves to ovulation problem.

According to her, lifestyle, excessive exercise, and dieting can lead to irregular ovulation. 

“For a woman that is depriving herself of little fat, the tendency for her to have a high level of oestrogen is very low and when the oestrogen level is low, the woman will have a problem with ovulation.

“A woman can also suffer from amenorrhoea – she will not be able to see her menses because of starvation. If you are not eating well, there will be a hormonal imbalance.

“The lack of fatty cells will lead to a disruption of the menstrual cycle and especially ovulation because it will affect the follicle-stimulating hormone,” she said.

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