There are many habits in our daily lives that can hinder ovulation and disrupt our cycles. But with simple adjustments, we can make a major difference in our fertility and future. Consider healthier alternatives to the following ovulation suppressing culprits:
1. Hormonal Birth Control: BC pills work by suppressing our natural production of hormones and preventing ovulation (i.e., stopping the release of eggs from the ovaries). But if we want to get pregnant, an egg must be present in the fallopian tube for the sperm to fertilize.
Consider non-hormonal birth control (such as the copper IUD) or utilizing fertility tracking apps
2. Over-exercising: pushing your body to extreme exhaustion can increase cortisol (stress) hormones which can disrupt natural ovulation (one of the reasons gymnasts & marathon runners are notorious for not having periods).
Consider alternating low-intensity exercises like walking, Pilates, swimming, and yoga with cardio and strength training.
3. Chronic stress can affect ovulation by altering signals to the hypothalamus, the centre of the brain that regulates the hormones that trigger the ovaries to release eggs each month.
This is why regularly making time for self-care and stress management techniques (deep breathing, meditation, walks, journaling) is key.
4. Restrictive Diets: undereating, not consuming adequate nutrients and/or omitting entire food groups can lead to skipped ovulation and irregular/ absent periods. (Note: our female sex hormones need protein and healthy fats to regulate our cycles + feed fertility).
5. Cigarette Smoke is found to disrupt normal ovarian function, reducing the concentrations of key female sex hormones and the number of mature eggs that can be fertilized.
6. Excess Alcohol- heavy drinking can cause changes in ovulation, cycle regulation and ovarian reserves.