Can you postpone ovulation?


Ovulation occurs with a certain regularity about halfway through the cycle, usually on the 14th day of the cycle. Ovulation usually goes unnoticed, but women feel a slight pain, also known as middle pain. Very little bleeding is also less common.

The question of whether ovulation can be postponed is particularly important for contraception. Modern hormonal contraceptives can suppress ovulation. This suppression of ovulation is often referred to as "shifting". Frequently, not only ovulation but also menstrual bleeding is postponed by taking the pill continuously. The following article deals in detail with postponing ovulation. The aim is to explain in more detail how ovulation can be postponed, the reasons for postponing it and what must be taken into account in this context.

Can you postpone ovulation?

Ovulation takes place around the 14th day of the cycle, i.e. in the middle of the cycle. Without taking hormonal contraceptives and with unprotected intercourse, pregnancy can occur during this time.

Ovulation occurs once a month from the first menstrual bleeding in a regular cycle until menopause occurs. Ovulation can be suppressed by taking hormonal contraceptives such as the pill. Often one speaks of a "postponement" of ovulation.

Not every hormonal contraceptive suppresses ovulation. Only combined contraceptives that contain both the hormone estrogen and progestin prevent ovulation by more than 99%. Progestin-only pills, also called mini-pills, have a contraceptive effect through other mechanisms. However, ovulation is not safely prevented or suppressed by a progestin-only pill.

Combination pills that contain both estrogen and progestin postpone ovulation as follows: Through a combination of different mechanisms, the hormones prevent the hormone GnRH from being released in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is located in the diencephalon and produces the hormone GnRH, which in turn releases the hormone LH in the so-called pituitary gland, a hormone gland in the base of the skull. This LH (luteinizing hormone) usually has its highest concentration just before ovulation and triggers it. By suppressing this so-called LH peak, ovulation is suppressed or postponed. As soon as the hormonal contraceptive is stopped, ovulation will occur again.

Long-term use and suppression of ovulation can lead to cycle irregularities in the first few months after stopping the pill. However, these are not permanent and normal ovulation is still possible. Some women often equate postponing ovulation with postponing menstrual bleeding - but this is not the case. Menstrual bleeding can be postponed by taking the pill continuously. This means that there is no seven-day tablet-free break. This suppresses and shifts menstrual bleeding. However, ovulation is always suppressed by combination pills, regardless of whether the pill is taken with or without the seven-day break.

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Can the doctor postpone the time of ovulation?

In a regular cycle, ovulation occurs around the 14th day of the cycle. Ovulation can be postponed by using hormonal contraceptives. However, there is no other medication to postpone ovulation. Often times, women want to postpone their ovulation in order to better plan a pregnancy. It is possible to postpone ovulation by changing the cycle with the help of the pill. For example, the days of menstrual bleeding can be brought forward a little. Then the pill can be discontinued. In some cases, ovulation can be postponed by a day or two.

The procedure should be discussed with a gynecologist. In fertility medicine, there is still the option of inducing ovulation, that is, of bringing it about with medication. This method is suitable for women who have infertility. By giving the pregnancy hormone HCG, the doctor can induce ovulation.

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What can postpone ovulation?

Cycle irregularities can cause ovulation to be postponed a little. Such irregularities are often quite natural and occur especially at a young age, especially during the first periods, but also in adulthood.

They are often associated with fluctuations in menstrual bleeding and intermenstrual bleeding. However, ovulation can also be postponed by causes such as stress, chronic illnesses or disorders of the hormonal control loop. Such hormonal disorders can affect hormonal glands such as the pituitary gland and part of the diencephalon (hypothalamus), but also the ovaries.

Another cause are tumors, such as the prolactinoma, which releases the hormone prolactin. Ovulation then usually does not occur. Furthermore, ovulation can be postponed or suppressed by malnutrition, for example in the context of anorexia nervosa (anorexia) or bulimia nervosa (bulimia).

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How many days can the point in time be changed?

No general information can be given about how many days ovulation can be postponed. Ovulation usually takes place constantly on the 14th day of the cycle. However, since the first half of the cycle, i.e. the days before ovulation, is subject to variability, the time of ovulation can also vary. Usually there is a variability of around 2 to 4 days. Furthermore, causes such as stress, chronic illnesses, hormonal disorders or tumors can cause ovulation to be postponed. How many days ovulation will be postponed cannot be said in advance.

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