If you’re researching infertility treatment or consulting an infertility doctor, you may have heard of the term follicular study. It is an important study that helps the doctor determine how to help people suffering from infertility conceive. To know about the follicular study, it is important to understand more about the female reproductive tract and the function of follicles.
A female reproductive tract consists of several organs such as the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vaginal canal. The ovaries are two almond-shaped structures that produce and store eggs and secrete hormones. Inside the ovaries, there are thousands of ovarian follicles, which are small sacs containing fluids and immature eggs or oocytes. They also secrete hormones that influence the menstrual cycle.
A follicular study is done to understand the follicular growth in the woman’s ovaries. During a menstrual cycle, the follicles grow, the egg matures and is released into the fallopian tubes (the tube connecting ovaries to the uterus) in a process called ovulation. The egg travels through the fallopian tubes into the uterus, and if a viable sperm is present in the female reproductive tract, it can fertilize the egg and cause a pregnancy. Meanwhile, the uterus also prepares its uterine lining for pregnancy by making it thicker. If a pregnancy doesn’t occur, the egg and uterine lining are shed as periods.
As the growth of egg follicles, release of mature eggs, and thickening of the uterine lining are crucial for a pregnancy to occur, follicular monitoring helps the doctor understand the growth of the follicles and maturing of the eggs. This study is important to know when is the best time for intercourse for pregnancy, to know when to go for egg retrieval during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and when to go for Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI).
Why is Follicular Study Necessary?
Follicular scans are important for infertility treatments.
- They help the doctor know the number of follicles
- Uterine changes can be observed in this study
- The period of ovulation can be determined for intercourse, IUI, and IVF
- The efficacy of infertility drugs dosage can be determined and changed if required for improving the results of the infertility treatment
- Problems related to the growth of follicles can be identified
- The thickness of the endometrial stripe (uterine lining) can be assessed
- Rupture of the follicle and formation of corpus luteum can be analysed (a temporary cyst that forms the hormone progesterone)
- The presence of fibroids and polyps can be seen
If your doctor has suggested a follicular study, it is because it will help them take better decisions about the course of your infertility treatment. Treatment for fibroids and polyps can be initiated if those are seen on the ultrasound. The medications can be altered, and additional treatments are added. The IUI and IVF cycles can be better synchronised with the ovulation to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Hence, a follicle study is very important for infertility treatment.
Follicle Study, Follicular Scan, Or Follicular Monitoring – What Happens in Follicular Study?
The follicular study, also commonly referred to as the follicle study, follicular scan, or follicular monitoring helps the doctor track the growth of the follicles of the woman’s ovaries. The scans done during this procedure help the doctor understand when would the mature egg be released from the ovaries and the uterine walls will thicken to prepare for implantation and pregnancy.
The follicular scans usually start between days 9-11 of the menstrual cycle and continue till ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs between days 13-17 of the menstrual cycle, but this may vary from individual to individual. Your doctor would tell you how often you need the ultrasounds. Usually, 5-6 ultrasounds are required on alternate days.
The follicular study is done in the following way –
- A follicular study is done using a transvaginal ultrasound
- The patient has to lie down on their back with their legs raised and bent
- A probe is then inserted into the vagina and the ultrasound shows images of the ovaries and follicles
- This is done by an expert ultrasonologist or consulting doctor so that the patient feels comfortable and safe during the follicular scan
- Unlike other common ultrasounds of the pelvic region, this one requires your bladder to be empty as a full bladder can affect the results
- The doctor analyzes the ultrasound imaging and suggests a treatment plan to the patient.
The ultrasounds usually take only 5-10 minutes, and you must discuss the ultrasound schedule with your doctor to plan for the appointments for the ultrasounds.
Is Follicular Study Painful?
Now that you know what happens during a follicular study, you may have a common question in your mind – is follicular study painful?
The follicular scan does not feel painful, but the probe might make you feel uncomfortable as it is inserted. If you have any apprehensions, discuss them with your doctor before the scan so that they may suggest some ways to distract yourself during the ultrasound, or help you feel more comfortable with the ultrasound probe.
How a Credible Infertility Clinic Helps Treatment
When looking for infertility treatment clinics to start your treatment, it is important to understand that not all infertility clinics are the same. This is because the expertise of the doctor, the technology, the techniques, the experience of the staff, and transparency about the treatment affect your treatment. A good fertility clinic would not only provide you with experienced doctors and medical experts, but also state-of-the-art labs, accurate imagining facilities, best-in-class technology, the latest techniques and equipment, and also utmost transparency about the treatment costs and procedures so that you can plan the infertility treatment physically, financially and emotionally.
Grace Fertility Clinic is one of the most trusted clinics in Gurgaon and Jammu. Dr. Reubina, the Founding MD at Grace Fertility believes in empowering people to make informed decisions about their health in a non-judgemental and caring environment. The staff at Grace Fertility has patient-centricity at the core, which makes them practice ethically and share the costs, expectations, and expected outcomes of fertility treatment clearly and transparently. This makes the couples feel empowered and aware to take decisions regarding their infertility treatment. The compassionate, ethical, and expert care at Grace Fertility make it one of the most reliable fertility clinics. To start your journey to parenthood, book a free consultation today.