Ovulation and menstrual cycle
Ovulation is produced during women’s reproductive life.
Women will ovulate every month during the menstrual cycle. Ova will mature within the spheres filled with liquid and are called follicles.
This is produced thanks to a hormone (HFE) which is released in the pituitary gland situated in the brain which stimulates the follicles so that they are developed in both ovaries.
These follicles will reach maturity and release the ovum that is inside. The rest of follicles will stop growing and degenerate.
If the ovum is fertilized by the spermatozoon, it will become an embryo that will nest in the endometrial lining.
In the absence of fertilization, the endometrium will flake as menstrual flow and the cycle will start again.
Ovulation in adolescence and youth
During the first years of adolescence, girls usually have an irregular ovulation which produces irregular menstrual cycles, but at age 16 this ovulation and menstruation should be regular. Women’s cycles will continue being regular from 26 to 35 days, until the beginning of the thirties or the end of the forties, when they will notice their cycles are shorter.
Ovulation in adult and mature women
From the thirties to the forties women’s cycles are stable, but will notice that something is changing in their menstruations.
As time goes by, women will start losing ovulations, which will result in the loss of menstrual periods or intensity of themselves. Finally, periods will be increasingly infrequent until they completely disappear.
When a woman does not have menstrual period for a year, it is said she is in Menopause.
Why does this happen?
As women age, their fertility decreases because of age-related hormonal changes that take place in the ovaries.
Women are born with a determined quantity of follicles and ova in their ovaries. That is, the ovary does not produce new follicles nor ova, the existing ones just get mature.
When being born, a woman has approximately a million follicles. In puberty, this figure will have decreased to approximately 300,000. From the follicles left in puberty, only 300 will be ovulated during the reproductive years.
The majority of follicles are not consumed in the ovulation but through a gradual process of loss called atresia. Atresia is a degenerative process that is produced regardless of whether a woman is pregnant, has normal menstrual cycles, uses contraceptive methods or receive infertility treatment.