Ovulation Medication and Treatments
If you are looking for medication for ovulation, you will be pleased to discover that there are many treatments and medications used today to assist women experiencing ovulation problems.
For non-pregnant women aged 16–40, irregular periods – called anovulation – are considered abnormal. It is also a cause of infertility in approximately 30% of fertility patients. Many women with ovulation issues also experience the absence of periods – called amenorrohoea.
There is no one-size-fits-all tablet or pill that will assist every woman, as there are many different reasons why you are not ovulating regularly or not ovulating at all – ranging from hormone imbalances and stress to being over- or underweight, and from serious conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis to ovarian failure. To better understand these possible causes, read more here…
Given all the possible causes for ovulation dysfunction, the medication or treatment required will differ from one woman to another, depending on the cause or causes.
Below are some of the medications and treatments recommended by the fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic and provided at their world-class fertility clinic.
Some cases of anovulation can be treated by lifestyle change or diet. If low body weight or extreme exercise is the cause of anovulation, gaining weight or lessening your exercise routine may be enough to restart ovulation.
The same goes for obesity. Being just 10 to 15% over your ideal body weights can contribute to ovulation problems. If you are overweight, losing even 10% of your current weight may be enough to restart ovulation.
The most common treatment for anovulation is fertility medication.
Usually, Femara (Letrazole) is the first fertility medication tried. Femara can trigger ovulation in 80% of anovulatory women, and help about 45% get pregnant within six months of treatment.
For women with PCOS, insulin sensitising medication such as Glucophage (metformin), may help a woman start ovulating again.
Patients who may benefit from ovulation induction are couples with ovarian dysfunction and endometriosis. Ovulation induction might also benefit you if you have ovulation problems that have not responded to simpler medications, such as femara tablets. It is also used for women who have unexplained infertility and who want to try ovulation induction therapy in order to increase their chances of conception.
Most often, ovulation induction is used in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). You can read more about PCOS here…
To be a candidate for ovulation induction you must have a normal uterine cavity, at least one normal fallopian tube, and your partner must have a normal sperm count.
What does the treatment aim to achieve?
The ovulation induction treatment protocol is designed to allow a dominant follicle to mature an egg and ovulate.
Whereas ovarian stimulation for IVF and ICSI aims to produce many eggs for collection in women who are usually ovulating, ovulation induction aims to stimulate just a couple of eggs in women who are not ovulating normally.
For women with PCOS, however, there is a real risk of multiple follicle production and multiple pregnancies, as they often react very sensitively to fertility medication. Regular monitoring with ultrasound and hormone measurements by a fertility specialist is crucial to ensure only one or two follicles are developing.
What does the treatment involve?
Ovulation induction may be performed using orally ingested medications or injectable medications and is normally combined with intrauterine insemination (IUI).
The treatment is a course of fertility hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce a mature follicle, and then timed intercourse or IUI to coincide with ovulation.
How do injectable fertility medication work?
During a natural menstrual cycle, you release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland. These hormones stimulate the growth of a follicle – a fluid space in the ovary where the egg grows. Although several follicles grow each month, in a natural cycle only one becomes mature enough to ovulate its egg.
In ovulation induction, women who do not ovulate at all take gonadotropins (forms of FSH and/or LH) by injection to stimulate the growth of one or more eggs. During your treatment, your fertility specialist will carefully monitor you with blood tests and ultrasounds.
What should I expect during treatment?
Your treatment usually starts on day three or four of your menstrual cycle and lasts approximately eight to ten days. A nurse will teach you and your partner how to give the injections at home. You will likely have two to four clinic appointments for blood tests and/or vaginal ultrasounds to monitor your response and adjust your medication dose.
Your appointments will be scheduled between 7:30 am and 9:00 am, and will become more frequent toward the time of ovulation.
Although each woman is different, below is an example of a treatment cycle schedule.
When the blood tests and ultrasounds indicate one to four mature follicles, one of our doctors will prescribe a second medication (hCG) to trigger ovulation. You will usually ovulate 36 to 48 hours after this final injection.
Approximately 24 to 36 hours after the hCG injection, you will have an intrauterine insemination (IUI). This is accomplished by inserting a specially prepared sample of your partner’s sperm through the cervix and placing it near the top of your uterus where it has the best chance of fertilising an egg. The procedure takes only a few minutes and should be relatively painless.
How successful is ovulation induction?
Typically, 20% to 25% of healthy, fertile couples become pregnant each month they try. In contrast, the pregnancy rate among couples with infertility is usually between 2% to 10% per month. Ovulation induction usually produces pregnancy rates of 10% to 20% per cycle, depending on a woman’s age, diagnosis, and duration of infertility.
Among women with certain ovulatory disorders, ovulation induction treatment may even restore normal fertility rates of 20% to 25% per month. If you do not become pregnant within the first three treatment cycles, we will discuss other treatment options with you.
If the cause of anovulation is premature ovarian failure, or low ovarian reserves, then fertility drugs are less likely to work. In that case, your doctor may suggest using an egg donor, or an alternative family building option like adoption.
As one of the leading fertility centres in South Africa, Medfem Fertility Clinic has been successfully treating patients with ovulation induction in a responsible and effective manner for many years. This means we employ safe but highly efficient stimulation protocols to achieve high success rates while minimising risks of higher-order multiple gestations (triplets or more).
Your next step in treating ovulation issues is as simple as contacting us to book an initial consultation by clicking here or contacting us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
We look forward to meeting you!