Most women ovulate around the same time each month. Sometimes, however, a woman may ovulate later than normal, and there's a number of things that may cause such a delay. For example, a woman may ovulate later than usual because of stress and anxiety or because of a hormonal imbalance. In some cases, a physical illness or too much exercise may result in delayed ovulation as well.
In order for ovulation to occur, four different hormones must act on a woman’s reproductive system. These hormones include estrogen and progesterone as well as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone LH). When any of these hormones are imbalanced, ovulation may be delayed. In fact, a woman may not ovulate at all when these hormones are not released in the required amounts.
A woman may wonder why a single reproductive hormone can cause ovulation delays. The reason for this is the fact that the hormones act on the body and on each other to stimulate ovulation. For example, FSH stimulates egg production in a woman’s ovary, and the eggs develop in follicles that also have the job of producing estrogen. Estrogen surges in a woman’s body a few days before ovulation and causes a surge in LH, which then stimulates ovulation. If even one of these hormones isn’t produced and released when it should be, ovulation may not occur when expected.
Sometimes women also experience delayed ovulation because of some type of physical or emotional stress. For example, if a person is dealing with a great deal of mental stress and anxiety, the stress may interfere with the processes that allow ovulation to proceed. Illness, a physical type of stress on the body, may lead to delayed ovulation as well. In fact, a woman who performs an extreme amount of exercise may also have late ovulation.
In many cases, a woman who experiences delayed ovulation may not even know it is late. Eventually, her menstrual period may begin and she may not even consider the cause of its lateness, which is usually delayed ovulation. If her menstrual period is very late, however, or a woman is having trouble conceiving a child, she may visit a doctor for advice and learn that she is not ovulating when expected. In most cases, delayed ovulation is only temporary and corrects itself after a time. Sometimes, however, medical help is required to get ovulation back on track.