Why Don't I Ovulate?

Have you been told that you are not ovulating?

Are you not seeing any signs or symptoms of ovulation? 

Are you worried about your fertility status?

Ovulation is the main event that occurs during our monthly cycle and is a key indication of good health. 

So why mightn’t you be ovulating?

Hormonal Birth Control 

What you may not be aware of, is that prolonged use of hormonal birth control could be the result of an anovulatory cycle (a monthly cycle where no ovulation occurs) or no cycle at all, even once you stop taking it.
This is due to the disruption of hormones that hormonal birth control causes. 

The body hasn’t been producing any of its own sex hormones and is struggling to get back into the swing of things.
This, along with a combination of other factors such as stress, diet and lifestyle, could be causing you to not ovulate. 

Nutrient Deficiency

It’s no secret that we need a wide variety of nutrients in our diet and certain amounts of each. 

The key nutrient in my option, is carbohydrates and no, I’m not taking about the kind that comes from donuts. 

Complex carbohydrates in the form of sweet potato, banana, brown rice etc. are so important when it comes to reproductive health.

If you are someone who follows a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you may want to look at your intake and adjust accordingly. Our hormones need and love carbohydrates.

Under-eating 

As women, when we consume too few calories, our bodies undergo a stress response.
This stress response can cause the suppression of reproduction. 

Quite simply, we need to be consuming enough food, often enough, in order to signal that it is “safe” to make all of those amazing sex hormones, that therefore leads to a healthy cycle where ovulation occurs. 

Stress

Like under-eating, our busy lifestyles can cause a stress response within the body, resulting in the shutdown of sex hormones. 

When our sympathetic nervous system (“flight-or-fight” mode) takes over due to stress, our body recognises that it is an unsafe time to make a baby, and therefore, essentially shuts down our reproductive system. 

Illness

Major surgery, illness, and/or trauma are other possible causes of anovulatory cycles and/or no cycle at all.
Don’t be surprised if you miss a period or two during this time, as this happens when the hypothalamus (hormone command centre), makes the executive decision to temporarily suppress reproduction and bring your cycle to a halt. When this halt becomes chronic, this form of suppression is referred to as hypothalamic amenorrhea (expect a blog post on this soon).  

Please note that a period is not a definite sign of ovulation and that ovulation can only be determined by a rise in basal body temperature and an increase in progesterone measured by a mid-luteal phase blood test. 

Some possible physical signs of ovulation include:

Cervical or fertile mucous

Cervix position

Mild twinging pain (mittelschmerz)  

Key Take-Aways:

Give your body time to adjust if you have just stopped taking hormonal birth control. In reality, this can be quite a lengthy process and I do recommend working with someone who can help to rebalance your hormones naturally.

Are you getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet? Ensure you are eating real, whole foods as often as possible.

Ensure you are eating enough food, often enough to avoid your body entering a state of famine.

Look at what might be causing you stress in your life and ways that you can reduce it.

Give your body time to recover from any major surgery, illness and/or trauma that you may have experienced.