Can Ovulation be delayed?

Short Answer: Yes – ovulation can be delayed.

Ovulation is the process in which an egg is released from one of the ovaries. The egg then travels down the Fallopian tubes, where it may meet the sperm and become fertilised. In many cases the egg won’t be fertilised and instead the egg will be released, along with some of the womb lining, during menstrual bleeding. Ovulation is triggered by the rise and fall of certain hormones and generally occurs 14 days before your next period. Since the average cycle length is 28 days, this is usually around 14 days into your cycle.

Late or delayed ovulation is considered to be ovulation that happens after the 21st day of your menstrual cycle. There are several possible reasons for delayed ovulation, these are the most common:

  • Stress – The most common cause of delayed ovulation is stress. Whether it’s the result of personal or work related anxiety, stress can affect the levels of certain hormones in your body. If you believe that stress is seriously affecting your life, then consult a doctor.
  • Thyroid problems – The thyroid is a gland in the neck that is responsible for the production of hormones controlling many important bodily functions. If your thyroid is overactive or underactive it can affect the hormones responsible for ovulation.
  • Medications – Medications such as anti-psychotics, non steroidal anti-inflammatories, steroids and drugs such as cocaine and marijuana can all impact upon the menstrual cycle.
  • Breastfeeding – Often women who are breastfeeding will have drastically altered menstrual cycles. Some will even not have a menstrual cycle at all.

Some women will be worried that having delayed ovulation means you have lower fertility, but there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case. There may be some side effects, such as a heightened sex drive. The other, more common problem is that tracking your cycle becomes harder, making it more difficult to plan for pregnancy. If you’re still worried about having delayed ovulation then ask your doctor. Often the best best treatments can simply be to ensure you’re getting enough sleep and to try to keep stress levels under control.