Ovulation is the climax point of the menstrual cycle because if it doesn’t go well, it skews all other sex hormones. That’s why it’s pretty crucial to get it right, especially during the reproductive years. Here’s a look into some natural medicines for anovulation.
What can interrupt normal ovulation?
Anovulation (or a lack of ovulation) is quite common and can occur for many different reasons including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), high stress, high prolactin hormone, thyroid disorders, excessive exercise, and the decline in ovarian follicles that occurs with normal aging.
Women who do not ovulate will notice that their periods are very irregular, if they happen at all. A quick way to discern if you are ovulating is to track your cycle length. This means tracking the time between the first day of your period to the first day of your next period. For example, if you get your period today and 28 days later you get your period again, then you are on a 28 day cycle.
If your cycles are between 25-35 days long, you are most likely ovulating. If your cycles are less than 25 days long or longer than 35 days then you may not be ovulating. To know for certain, it’s important to test your serum progesterone on day 21 of your cycle. If the value is greater than 3 ng/ml, then you did ovulate. If not, I encourage you to seek help to figure out why. Unfortunately, this is where the struggle of obtaining good health care begins.
Let me explain…
It’s easy for doctors to place a Band-Aid solution on irregular cycles. They often brush it off as a normal part of life that can be managed with birth control without doing any investigative work. To help you advocate for yourself, I recommend asking for the following tests: LH, FSH (on day 3 of your cycle), estradiol, progesterone, insulin fasting, glucose fasting, prolactin, testosterone, DHEA-S, TSH, T4, and T3. In my opinion, these tests should be standard for all women experiencing irregular cycles.
Once you determine what the root cause of your irregular cycles are, then you are ready for treatment, and can start considering some natural medicines for anovulation.
Natural medicines for anovulation
Many natural medicines can help women regulate their cycles and ovulate. In my practice, there are 3 that I use quite often. I will briefly mention each one and when you should consider using them.
Myo-inositol is a B-vitamin that sensitizes cells to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates our blood sugar. When it’s high, it can cause throw off normal hormonal signals and cause issues with ovulation. This is particularly important in PCOS, where high insulin spikes up testosterone and makes the environment around which the eggs grow unfavorable. Myo-inositol given over a 3-month period can reduce insulin and normalize ovulation. I only recommend this treatment if you are insulin resistant.
PRO tip: You can have high insulin without having high blood sugar. If you have irregular cycles and have not tested your fasting insulin, I would highly recommend it!
This herb is quite good at forcing ovulation. This is particularly important for women who want to get pregnant or who have not had a period in a few months. When given for 5 days, tribulus increases FSH, the hormone that makes follicles mature into eggs. This tribulus PUSH works like fertility medications in that it can help women ovulate so that they have a better chance of getting pregnant.
PRO tip: This herb does not need to be taken every day. When given for a few days during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle it can be very effective.
Vitex is the queen of hormonal balance, and one of the great natural medicines for anovulation. I say that because it really impacts a lot of hormones at once. It reduces prolactin, increases FSH, and increases progesterone, the perfect combo for ovulation. I use this herb for women who have cycles > 35-40 days long or women who don’t have a cycle at all. It does take about 3 months for this herb to have its full benefit, so that is something to consider.
PRO tip: Many of the supplement brands that offer this product don’t have it at a high enough dose. If you have used vitex in the past, and it did not work for you, that could be why.
Those are just a few natural solutions for normal ovulation. My recommendation is to get a trusted healthcare professional to help you get to the root cause of your anovulation. Once you find out why you’re not ovulating, then you can use targeted natural medicines to restore ovulation and normalize your hormones.