Infertility: Problems With Ovulation

Topic Overview

It can be difficult and complicated to find out the cause of ovulation problems. Possible causes may include:

  • Hormonal imbalances. Most women with ovulation problems have hormonal imbalances. An example of a condition that causes a hormone imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).1 Other ovulation problems can originate in the ovaries, or in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which produce hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. These hormones are vital to normal ovulation.
  • Structural problems. Abnormalities in the structure of the ovaries (such as ovarian cysts) or structural problems in other reproductive organs can cause changes in a woman's ovulation schedule.
  • General medical problems. Medical problems that affect the metabolism (such as thyroid problems), serious illness, emotional stress, overweight and low weight, or excessive exercise can affect a woman's ovulation schedule.
  • Cancer treatment. Exposure to certain kinds of chemotherapy or radiation can damage the egg supply in the ovaries.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Induction of ovulation. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 1293–1330. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised December 7, 2011

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