What is a Follicular Scan?

Follicular study or follicular monitoring is the process through which the doctor watches the growth of this follicle from the beginning of the menstrual cycle to the time it is ready to release an egg. It is an important part of IVF assessment and timing. It uses a simple technique for assessing ovarian follicles at regular intervals and studies the pathway to ovulation. Medical experts study the follicle development in the ovaries and calculate when the next egg will be released. If a couple plans to have intercourse during that time, chances of pregnancy are much higher.

Why is follicular Monitoring Done?

Follicular studies form a major part of fertility treatments. They are essential in checking whether the woman’s body is responding to the treatment or not. If somebody has opted for the IVF (in-vitro fertilization) method of fertilization, then the follicle scans are very important. It determines the condition and the number of eggs produced in a single case of ovulation and checks the hormones involved. If the levels of hormones are incorrect, then with the alteration of medicine dosage there are higher chances of conception.

Follicular monitoring can help pinpoint the exact time in the cycle when one will ovulate. It helps in planning intercourse during that time so that the chances of pregnancy are much higher. It also helps in diagnosing problems related to ovulation. Some of these problems could be hindering your pregnancy as well.

However, it doesn’t ensure fertilization of the egg by the sperm or implanting the fertilized egg on the uterine wall. Some problems don’t let you conceive post ovulation. These scans do not take care of them, as well.

When is follicular monitoring necessary?

A follicle scan is a painless procedure that lets the doctor see the follicle’s development inside the ovary. With the insertion of small probe inside the vagina. Here are some of the reasons when you should consider doing follicular monitoring:

  • Suppose you are less than 35 years of age and have been actively trying to get pregnant for around one year. It is the first step where you can rule out ovulation-related problems.
  • In case you are above 35 years of age and haven’t been able to get pregnant in the last six months.
  • If you have PCOD, you might have an irregular cycle and irregular ovulation. You might also have a cycle where you do not ovulate.
  • If fertility drugs for ovulation or for producing multiple follicles through fertility procedures like IUI or IVF.

How does follicle tracking work?

Follicle tracking is a series of ultrasound scans of the vagina which take between 5-10 minutes to perform. The follicles start developing from the 9th day of the cycle. The scans continue until the follicles have disappeared, and ovulation has started. Couples are then suggested to have intercourse. It helps in assisting conception as it optimizes the timing of the sperm and egg to meet.

The doctor looks for the size of the follicles, thickness of the endometrium. The doctor might also use a Doppler scan to check the blood flow to the follicle and the endometrium. Usually, a mature follicle measure between 18-25mm and endometrium of more than 10mm is considered normal for a successful pregnancy.

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