Wednesday, January 12, 2005

About Ovulation

The ovaries are full of thousands of eggs held in hormonal stasis in their "primordial follicle" which is a androgen dominant environment. This is the pool from which follicles are constantly being recruited into the maturation process which can take 3 months from early maturation up until the time of ovulation. Maturation of the egg/follicle requires changing the environment within the follicle from androgen dominant to estrogen dominant.

Not all eggs that start the maturation process are developed all the way that you might see them on an u/s prior to ovulation, these ones were lucky and their development synched up with the hormonal cycle perfectly so they could mature up to the point of ovulation.

Ovulation itself is a series of hormonal events the LH, a little progesterone to ripen the follicle, a drop in estrogen are some of these changes. Hormonal imbalances can interfere with this process, as evidenced by women with PCOS whose follicles don't properly mature.

So, if there are imbalances that are interfering with hormones on subtle levels it can throw off the follicular development and you might end up with an functional ovarian cyst, a partially ruptured follicle, no ovulation, or maybe delayed ovulation. If ovulation doesn't happen normally then there's a good chance that even if you release the egg then the follicle isn't going to change over as well into the corpus luteum, the structure that produces the progesterone which causes a lot of changes in our bodies that make it receptive to accept a tiny embryo (I have a lot of information about progesterone but that will have to be a different post if you are interested)

Here are some links about ovulation, you also might check out The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis which has an interesting chinese medicine explanation of ovulation through the cycle phases that I enjoyed.

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