Although anovulation cannot be considered a disease in itself but rather a symptom of another systemic dysfunction, its differential diagnosis has the purpose of revealing the primary cause of this condition.
The diagnosis of anovulation usually requires blood tests to discover hormonal abnormalities, and the physician can detect, before the blood test various anovulation typical symptoms which may influence the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
There are clinical symptoms related with the abnormal menstruation which can point out to this type of medical problem:
The absence of menstruation also known as amenorrhea is in 20% of the cases the sign of an ovulatory dysfunction and this condition can lead to the diagnosis of anovulation.
Secondly, 40% of women with ovulatory problems experience light and infrequent menstruations, as well a symptom of anovulation.
Another irregularity characterized by abnormal menstrual cycles, 5 or more per year, either shorter or longer then the normal menstrual cycles can lead to the diagnosis of ovulatory dysfunction.
Also the absence of breast pain and increased sensitivity, called mastodynia, occurs in about 20% of the anovulation cases.
Anovulation caused by PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is usually detected due to the increased body and facial hair which can be explained by masculine hormones excess caused by PCOS.
In the diagnosis of the primary cause of anovulation other abnormalities must be taken into consideration, Sheehan syndrome is one of the pathological conditions responsible for ovulatory dysfunctions but its diagnosis requires a complete clinical history of the patient and her hormonal evolutional map. Also, Epilepsy plays an important part in the hormonal disequilibrium which can trigger anovulation.
Although anovulation can be distinguished as one of the potential causes of the above symptoms, blood tests are required to differentiate the nature of the primary abnormality. In a blood test the level of prolactin, the thyroid stimulating hormone, the levels of both male and female sex hormones- LH, FSH, testosterone, and the adrenal function must be carefully analyzed; if the cause of the problem hasn’t been discovered after the blood test the physician can use an ultrasound test, MRI, a CAT scan and even a minimally invasive surgery called laparoscopy in order to diagnose the real disease which causes anovulation and moreover infertility.