Ovulation is an important process in a woman of childbearing age for one to be in a position to conceive. But before ovulation takes place, what exactly happens? An interaction occurs between your pituitary gland located in the brain, the ovaries as well as the uterus with an aim of creating an ideal environment for ovulation – the release of an egg- to take place. Below is an elaborate explanation of the steps involved for ovulation to be attained.
In every month, the pituitary gland produces a hormone which sends a signal to the ovaries to produce follicles (are tiny structures containing the eggs). The follicles grow and develop and produce estrogen hormone; this hormone thicken the uterus lining to make the uterus conducive for the embryo to attach itself in case fertilization happens.
On the seventh day of the menstrual cycle, the follicles stop to develop except the most dominant of them all. It continues to grow and to nourish a maturing oocyte (egg) within. On the 12th day of the cycle, the maturing follicle secretes estrogen, which gets into the bloodstream and travels through it. Once the estrogen gets to the pituitary gland, it releases luteinizing hormone (LH) in response. LH gives the developing follicle a growth spurt.
Prior ovulation, the egg contained in the follicle detaches itself and the follicles start to swell till it bursts open releasing the egg. The small finger located at the end of the fallopian tube picks up the egg by sweeping across the ruptured follicle and places it at the entrance of the fallopian tube. The muscle of the walls of the fallopian contracts and the egg is pushed gently towards the womb. The egg can either meet a sperm and fertilization will happen in the fallopian tube or the egg will get to the uterus unfertilized where it is absorbed back into the body and shed during the next menses.
Well, not every woman is fortunate enough for ovulation to occur naturally; but thanks to fertility drugs such as Femara for ovulation, which have benefited many females dealing with anovulation.
Femara and Ovulation
Femara fertility drug belongs to a class of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors and its used to either induce ovulation or for superovulation. When taken by a woman who isn’t ovulating, the medication results in ovulation induction. What is ovulation induction? It’s using fertility drugs to stimulate the development of mature follicles in a woman whose ovaries don’t grow or release a mature egg every month. Femara for ovulation induction may also be successful if a female has an explained infertility. The medication is prescribed after fertility investigations have been done and unexplained infertility or irregular periods and ovulation has been identified as the cause of inability to conceive. However, Femara can also be used in women who are already ovulating to trigger growth and development of more than one egg, especially if a woman is going through IUI (intrauterine artificial insemination) to increase the chances of conception; this is what is known as superovulation.
Femara for ovulation has been successful in women with PCOS or those who have been resistant to Clomid. Clomid is the most common used drug to induce ovulation, but many doctors believe it stays longer in the bloodstream, resulting in adverse effects on the cervical mucus and the uterus lining. Fertility medicine Femara is taken on the 3rd day of the menstrual cycle to the 7th day or the 5th day to the 9th day or as directed by the medical care provider. The starting dose is 2.5 mg once daily if the desired outcome isn’t attained, the fertility expert may increase the dosage to 5 mg or 7.5 mg. Before the fertility expert puts you on the medication, a pregnancy test is carried out to rule out you aren’t pregnant. It’s believed the drug can lead to birth defects, so if one becomes pregnant while on the medication, the doctor should be notified immediately.
How does Femara to induce ovulation works? As earlier mentioned, the medication is an AI. Aromatase is an enzyme which produces estrogen hormone in the body, hence Femara works by binding to the aromatase enzyme and estrogen production is prevented. Once the estrogen levels are reduced, the pituitary gland increases the production of FSH and the ovarian follicles are stimulated.
The FDA has approved the drug as a treatment for women with breast cancer; whose cancers depend on estrogen to grow and spread. It’s emphasized that the drug should only be used by postmenopausal women since ovulation on Femara can take place if used by a woman of childbearing age. Nonetheless, if the physician prescribes the drug on a woman who hasn’t reached menopause, an effective non-hormonal birth control should be used to curb unwanted pregnancy. Drug Femara is also used to treat endometriosis; this condition depends on estrogen to spread, thus when the hormone is suppressed, the growth is slowed down as symptoms become better. While on Femara, remember to be on the lookout for the unwanted effects of the drug.
Just like with any other medication, taking Femara can lead to undesired effects. Before taking any drug, it’s advisable to have a discussion of the possible side effects of the medicine and the remedies to take. Also, seek to know the benefits of the drug. Side effects of Femara are as a result of estrogen suppression and may include:
- Breast pain
- Unusual menstrual bleeding or spotting
- Blurred vision
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping
The most common Femara for ovulation side effects are fatigue and dizziness. If the above effects don’t clear, but persist, for example, severe headache or blurred vision, contact the doctor. You are at lower risk of experiencing OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) while on the therapy, although it’s a rare occurrence, but contact the physician right away if you experience signs of OHSS like:
- Rapid weight gain
- Severe abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting which is severe as well as persistent
- Blood clots in the legs
- Reduced urination
- Shortness of breath
- Enlarged or tight abdomen
The above is an explanation of Femara and ovulation induction as well as the possible side effects. The medicine has been helpful to women struggling with infertility, if you are dealing with infertility caused by ovulation challenges, Femara may be the solution for you.