Many women have abnormal or irregular periods. If infertility becomes an issue, then these irregular periods may be a sign that you are not ovulating normally. If you are not ovulating at all, it is referred to as anovulation.
Many things can affect your ovulation ability. Certain diseases such as diabetes and liver disease can stop you from ovulating. There are also a number of glandular disorders that can halt ovulation. There may be adhesions or other complications with the ovaries themselves. Whatever the reason, it is important to work closely with an infertility specialist to rule out certain disorders before continuing with hormonal treatments for anovulation.
Fertility drugs such as clomid are fairly effective in stimulating ovulation. The purpose of fertility drugs like clomid is to block the effects of estrogen in the body. When estrogen is blocked, it simulates the natural drop in estrogen that should be occurring, but may not be, in your body. When estrogen drops, your body produces luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones stimulate the ovaries into ovulating.
Multiple ovulations are common and sometimes multiple births can be expected. Your doctor will monitor the effects of the fertility drugs and adjust the dosage to best suit your needs. Generally, you will start out low and increase over six months until you become pregnant. Different medications may be prescribed if the first one does not seem to be effective.
Some fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries and others actually mature the egg so that it can be released. When given in combination with each other, these can be very effective. Most fertility drugs are administered by injection, sometimes daily, and some are taken orally. Your infertility doctor will take regular blood tests and perform many ultrasounds to monitor your egg development.
Some problems that can occur include bloating and fatigue, irritability and headaches. Sometimes infertility drugs can alter cervical mucus and actually make it a hostile environment for sperm. In this case, artificial insemination can be used to bypass the cervix and fertilize the egg in utero. Intrauterine Insemination, IUI, is the most common form of artificial insemination. This is where sperm is introduced directly into the uterine cavity or fallopian tubes, bypassing any cervical problems that may be present.
In the case of polycystic ovary syndrome, the body produces too much testosterone and develops an insulin resistance. This causes ovulation not to happen. Your doctor may provide fertility drugs to combat these effects and start ovulation again.
The goal of using fertility drugs to combat anovulation is to get your cycle back on track and get ovulation started. Talk to your infertility specialist about what options may be available to you.