Overview of Ovulatory Dysfunction from a Fertility Center

Ovulatory dysfunction (OD) is a term that describes a number of different conditions that all have the same outcome: irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation altogether. The primary symptom of OD is a history of irregular menstrual cycles. In healthy women menstrual cycles occur regularly every 27 to 30 days and are typically accompanied by mild cramping, tenderness and swelling of the breasts, and water retention, followed by menstrual bleeding. Most patients also experience discomfort in the middBest Denver fertility clinicle of their cycle around the time of ovulation.

Women who have OD have irregular cycles that can range from thirty days to more than ninety days in length. They may rarely experience menstrual cramping or mid-cycle discomfort, and often have additional symptoms that can include an increase in hair growth on the face, chest, or back and a milky discharge from the breasts.

OD has a number of potential causes. Some of the most common causes of OD include:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Elevated prolactin levels: this requires an evaluation of the patient’s pituitary gland to determine whether a tumor is the cause. Pituitary tumors that cause elevated prolactin are nearly always benign and can be treated with a type of medication called dopamine agonists.
  • Hyperthyroidism and other thyroid disorders are often related to OD; the underlying disorder can be treated with thyroid replacement therapy.
  • Hyperprolactinemia is a condition in which there are elevated levels of serum prolactin, the hormone responsible for enhanced development of the breasts during pregnancy and lactation. It is a manageable condition that can be successfully treated with thyroid replacement therapy.
  • Hypothalamic dysfunction, also called hypothalamic amenorrhea, is a rare cause of OD. Typically, women with this condition are very thing and have a low body fat percentage, as well as a complete lack of menstruation when they are not taking birth control. Anorexia is commonly associated with hypothalamic amenorrhea.
  • Impending failure of the ovaries, also called premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. This is a serious condition that should be treated by a gynecologist.

At Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, we are committed to helping women who are having trouble conceiving or suffering from conditions such as Ovulatory dysfunction. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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