The average monthly menstrual cycle for women is 28 days. This can vary, depending on what is “normal” for each individual woman, but in general – you should be experiencing 4 phases each month. Those phases include:

  • The Menstrual Phase: The duration of your period, starting with day one of bleeding.
  • The Follicular Phase: When the lining of your uterus begins building up and follicles start maturing in preparation for ovulation.
  • The Ovulatory Phase: When a mature egg is released from your ovary.
  • The Luteal Phase: The days following ovulation when your body prepares for fertilization and implantation, or the start of a new cycle.
Background on normal ovulation

  • The egg lives in an ovarian follicle until it is released at the time of ovulation.
  • As a follicle grows in size during a menstrual cycle a fluid cavity enlarges in it.
  • The egg is attached to the follicle wall.
  • Ovulation is the process of rupture of the mature follicle and release of the egg.
  • The fallopian tube is then supposed to pick up the egg and, if all goes well, the sperm and egg have a productive date in the woman's fallopian tube.

Definition of Anovulation

Anovulation is a condition in which the ovary does not release a ripened egg each month as part of a woman's normal cycle in her reproductive years. Naturally, with no egg available for sperm, a woman cannot become pregnant. Thus, anovulation is a prime factor in infertility.

Most women will experience anovulatory cycles at some point during their reproductive lives. They occur most commonly in women close to menarche and menopause due to changing hormone levels, but anovulatory cycles also happen amongst healthy, regularly menstruating women, with preceding and succeeding cycles being ovulatory. This is unlikely to affect the woman’s fertility. Ovarian factor contribute 15-25% and is the second common cause of infertility. Ovulatory factor is an important subset in infertility among women, accounting about 40% cases.

Ayurvedic view

Ayurveda describes four essential factors i.e. rutu (fertile period), kshetra (healthy reproductive organs), ambu (proper nutrient fluid) and bija (ovum / sperm) are responsible for the formation of garbha in comparison to germination of a seed. Defect in any one of them can cause vandhyatva (infertility). Among these four factors, bija (seed) is directly related to ovulation process. Absence of this bija in women is termed as anovulation. The main reason for anovulatory cycles is vitiation of artava (Afflicting menstrual / ovulatory phase); and vitiated artava does not possess bija (ovum). Anovulatory cycles have become a life style disorder.

Causes of Anovulation

Anovulation is the result of hormonal imbalances within the body. Your hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, help to trigger your body's reproductive cycle, including ovulation and menstruation. Without the proper levels of these hormones, your reproductive system can be thrown off course, preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg every month. There are a variety of different factors that can contribute to a hormone imbalance including:

  • breastfeeding
  • weight gain or loss
  • too much exercise
  • extreme stress
  • frequent travel
  • eating disorders
Symptoms of Anovulation

The symptoms of anovulation can sometimes be difficult to recognize. After all, women rarely experience any overt signs of ovulation. However, there are a few symptoms that may indicate that you are suffering from the condition. These symptoms include:

  • irregular basal body temperature (BBT)
  • irregular menstruation
  • reduced PMS symptoms
  • amenorrhea (the absence of a menstrual period)
  • excessive menstrual bleeding
  • oligomenorrhea (light menstruation)
How is it detected?

No one of the methods used to test for ovulation in everyday practice is foolproof. The only way of definitely proving that ovulation has taken place is by finding the egg in the woman’s tummy or if pregnancy results. The usual symptoms of ovulation (such as one-sided lower tummy pain and increased amounts of clear vaginal discharge) may become absent in anovulation. Body temperature charting (BBT) may suggest anovulation if the slight increase in body temperature that normally follows ovulation does not occur. Blood or urine hormone tests in the second (luteinising hormone) or third week (progesterone) of the menstrual cycle can indicate ovulation. Ultrasound monitoring (tracking) of the ovaries can similarly indicate ovulation with demonstration of rupture of the mature egg. The usual way we test for adequate ovulation is by measuring the blood levels of FSH and LH during the menstrual period and the levels of Progesterone about seven days before the next period is due.

Treatment of Anovulation

Quality and professionally prescribed herbal medicine treatments in combination with a fertility boosting diet and lifestyle are the most reliable ways to ensure excellent results, fast and naturally. Be sure to find a competent, qualified and professional herbalist or naturopath to help you with this.>

Sushruta has mentioned the presence of obstruction of channels in infertility hence ovum may not be discharged monthly. Specifically passage is obstructed by vata which is clogged by kapha. For this reason Vata-Kaph alleviating treatment should be adopted along with these rejuvenating, strength promoting and anabolic drugs is given for the management of infertility caused by anovulation.

According Ayurveda , Basti and Nasya treatments give fruitful result in Anovulation. Some herbal preparations like kanya lohadi vatti, Chitrakadi vatti, Pandra Prabha vatti, Puspadhanva Rasa etc. are useful according constitution of the patient. Pathyapathya has a big impact on Anovulaory cycle. Sometimes changes in lifestyle gives positive result in Anovulation.

Pathyapathya for Anovulation

Fried foods

Fried foods & Trans-fats:

No matter what you do, you want to avoid these foods. They are massive culprits in causing havoc with your fertility and do you no favours regarding your health and the development of a truly healthy baby. In women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, the damaged fats found in these foods have been shown to decrease fertility by up to 73%; however it does impact all women suffering from anovulation—so next time you feel a chip, biscuit or piece of cake is tempting you, ask yourself… “What do I want more? That or a healthy baby?”. Let the motto: Act pregnant now to get pregnant later guide you daily.


Switch protein sources:

Replace some of the beef, pork or chicken you eat (animal protein) with vegetable protein sources, such as cooked dried beans and nuts. When five percent of total calories eaten come from vegetable protein instead of animal, the risk of ovulatory infertility drops by more than 50 percent.

Add some high-fat dairy:

Call it the Chunky Monkey Effect. The more low-fat dairy products you eat, the greater your risk of ovulatory infertility. Yes, you read that right—although the study's authors caution against using this to justify late-night freezer raids for a pint of premium ice cream. Instead, try replacing one low-fat dairy serving per day with one high-fat serving, such as a glass of whole milk.

Don't forget your vitamins:

Women in the study who regularly took iron supplements and multivitamins containing folic acid had less ovulation-related infertility.

Sugary foods and soft drinks:

One can of soft drinks contains about 5+ teaspoons of sugar; and don’t think sugar-free is any better in fact it’s worse (although I’ll have to save that story for another article)! The fact is sugar, in whatever form (i.e. if it’s sweet, it’s sugar) negatively impacts hormonal balance, which in turn discourages regular ovulation.

Consume choline:

You may never have heard of it, but choline is a nutrient with the potential to reduce harmful gene effects that may result in birth defects. It also is important for brain function, among other benefits. Most women don't get enough choline; many prenatal vitamins don't even contain it. Egg yolks are rich in choline; only beef liver contains more. Cauliflower, the highest choline-containing veggie, has 25 percent of the choline found in one egg yolk.

Shake it Real Good!

Yes, you guessed it! Exercise is essential for optimal hormonal balance, nutrient circulation, cellular oxygenation, stress reduction, blood sugar regulation, weight management and so much more. The good news is that in exercising your choice to move your body, for at least 40 minutes a day, you are choosing to take control of your fertility.

Daily exercise has been shown to get women suffering from anovulation to spontaneously ovulate. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, move, have fun with it. And remember, exercise does not have to be boring or emotionally painful. Embrace it. And choose activities you really enjoy like dancing, rock climbing, swimming in the ocean (although avoid chlorinated swimming pools—they are not great for your fertility), roller skating. You name it. Make it fun! Anovulation is a multi-factor issue that must be addressed comprehensively and holistically for best results in the long term.

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