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What causes ovulation?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary initially stimulates several ovarian follicles to begin development. Follicle growth is accompanied by increased estrogen. The increased estrogen in turn stimulates increased FSH receptors. Thus the follicle with a slight advantage in estrogen becomes the dominant follicle and, in turn, produces more estrogen. When the estrogen level peaks during the follicular phase, this stimulates the pituitary to release luteinizing hormone (LH). The LH causes ovulation of the dominant follicle.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Ovulation occurs in response to two hormones—luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).  Watch the animation to learn more about ovulation.

Though the process is quite intricate, ovulation occurs when the body's hormones trigger the ovaries to release an egg for fertilization.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.