A Closer Look At Follicular Scanning For Ovulation Tracking: Is It Worth All The Inconvenience?

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If you are trying to crack the intricacies of getting pregnant, know that you’re not alone. 

Before pregnancy occurs, ovulation needs to happen; and the fun fact about ovulating is that you can track it to accurately time your conception!

Now, the billion-dollar question you may have is, “which tracking method do you use?” For one, some couples use follicular scans to track their ovulation. 

Although this way comes with tons of pros, it doesn’t fail to drag a backlog of cons.

In this article, you’ll discover all the nitty-gritty details about follicular scans, if it’s really worth it at all, and better options to successfully get pregnant.

What is Follicular Scanning?

Your doctor carries out follicular scanning to check the size of your follicles—especially the active ones. 

The ultrasound scan focuses on your internal pelvic region to make sure the results are accurate. 

A follicle is a sac containing fluid in your ovaries that contain eggs. This tracking method predicts when you will likely ovulate.

Now, knowing this information forehand increases your chances of getting pregnant naturally. 

According to some experts, you will need three scans each time after you menstruate. 

Initially, your doctor will perform a full scan. However, the following follicular scans will focus on your ovaries. 

The big idea of a follicular scan is to boost your chances of getting pregnant naturally, supporting fertility medications and treatment, along with scanning your uterus, endometrium and ovaries.

Who needs follicular tracking?

follicular scan

Follicular tracking scans are primarily for women unaware of their ovulation cycle during their period, those who have experienced miscarriages, or are on follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) therapy.

If you can’t track your ovulation day, you might need to try the follicular tracking method. 

Also, any woman who has experienced a tragic miscarriage while pregnant in the past, may use these scan results to be extra careful this time around.

You’d be glad  to know that these follicular scans are perfect if you have taken pills to kick-start your ovulation.

How does it work?

Follicular scans are ultrasound scans of your uterus which last for about ten minutes.

Your doctor checks the size of your follicles along with the thickness of your uterine wall. 

They may also use a doppler scan to see if your follicle and endometrium receive enough blood.

Now how do you know if you’ll get successfully pregnant?

Well, a mature follicle is about 18-25mm in size, while your uterine wall is more than 10mm thick. These ranges are great for conception!

Typically, your follicles develop on the 9th day of your cycle, but these scans continue until your follicles are no longer visible and your ovulation begins. 

Your doctor may recommend you to have sex with your partner during this period. This is because your chances of conceiving have peaked as the sperm will most likely meet your egg and fertilize it.

When is follicular monitoring necessary?

This question may have crossed your mind. But if you weren’t able to get a befitting answer, don’t worry. These scans are as vital as they seem! 

The best part about a follicular scan procedure is that you won’t feel any pain. Instead, your doctor inserts a tiny crucial plastic probe into your vagina.

 A sonologist will use the images to tell how your egg is developing inside the follicle.

Reasons why you need a follicular scan:

  • To check when your follicle has matured
  • To check when the mature follicle will release the egg
  • To predict your ovulation day and improve your chances for conception

For people living with PCOS, it would be normal to experience irregular periods and ovulation or anovulation. In such cases, a follicular scan helps identify the number of cysts in your ovary and if ovulation may occur or not.

A sonologist may recommend taking these scans on the sixth or seventh day of your cycle.

This day corresponds to the day your follicles may start growing to release a follicle on maturity. However, this day differs for every woman owing to different cycle lengths or irregular cycles. 

Advantages of follicular scanning

There are even more mind-blowing accolades behind follicular scans. For example, the scan doesn’t only check your follicle size, but it also detects when a follicle will release an egg. 

Follicles that die before releasing an egg are visible in the scan results. So, in cases where some follicles don’t grow, your doctor can be informed.

Additionally, follicular scans can detect:

  • Follicles that are meant to rupture ordinarily but, for some reason, do not
  • If your uterine wall is not thick enough
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) – an exaggerated response to excess hormones given during ovarian stimulation.
  • Your ovulation day and fertile window

Your doctor watches out for any of these issues round-the-clock so they can be treated if detected early. 

Disadvantages of follicular scanning

Even though this method of tracking your ovulation—follicular monitoring—has received a lot of praise, some significant setbacks may make you turn the other eye. Let’s take a cursory look at the common ones:

  • Stress: The biggest problem with follicular monitoring is the additional stress and its impact on your chances of getting pregnant. Not only do you have to go to the clinic and wait for scans daily, but you have to pass through the traffic and long commute.
    This kind of mental stress may lower your fertility levels and desire to have sex, further reducing your chances of conception.
  • Career/Life: Think about this. We lead busy lives, and spending hours traveling and sitting in the doctor’s office is not pleasant or practical. So regular follicular scans would essentially mean taking leaves from work.
  • Discomfort and Inaccurate Results: Don’t forget that scan centers may reduce the recommended number of scans from 6-7 to 3-4 for ease. However, it may lead to confusion and inaccuracy in results.

Remember when we said how these scans work through the vagina? It turns out that some sonologists do an abdominal scan to reduce the intrusion, which comes with consequences like inaccuracy of results. Also, for some, the whole vaginal scan can be painful and scary.

Is it worth all the inconvenience?

It is not uncommon that follicular scans are overhyped, whereas, in reality, they only have a success rate of 10%, not to talk of the excessive stress on most couples. Most times, doctors suggest that couples take these scans forgetting the strain it may have on their marriage or relationship.

Hence, it is better to look for an easier way of tracking your ovulation. You can track your ovulation peacefully at home, which will still do the job of a follicular scan minus the stress!

Fertility Monitors – An easy way to get pregnant!

A Fertility Monitor is a device that lets you track your fertile window and ovulation day by checking the levels of Progesterone metabolite-PdG, Estrogen, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). 

It boosts your likelihood of conceiving by 89% and predicts your six fertile days by checking your Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Estrogen, & Luteinizing Hormone levels in your urine. By measuring progesterone levels, fertility monitors can confirm your ovulation day.

The results from a Fertility Monitor are accurate, easy to understand, convenient, and portable – unlike follicular scans, you don’t need to go to the lab multiple times monthly.

Put it all together!

Now that you have come to the end of the article, it’s time to recap what you learned quickly. 

  • Follicular scans are performed to check the size of your follicles.
  • They also see if the egg inside the follicle has been released.
  • Women who have had miscarriages, PCOS, or are on any kind of fertility treatments may need to consider these scans. 
  • Although these scans are generally suitable for tracking your ovulation, they come with a bucket-load of stress.
  • Like Inito, fertility monitors are stress-free and more straightforward ways to check your ovulation and get pregnant successfully.
  1. Giannopoulos T, Sherriff E, Croucher C. (2005). Follicle tracking of women receiving clomiphene citrate for ovulation induction. J Obstet Gynaecol. 
  2. Queenan JT, O’Brien GD, Bains LM, Simpson J, Collins WP, Campbell S. (1980). Ultrasound scanning of ovaries to detect ovulation in women. Fertil Steril. 
  3. J.R. Richmond, N. Deshpande, H. Lyall, R.W.S. Yates, R. Fleming. (2005). Follicular diameters in conception cycles with and without multiple pregnancy after stimulated ovulation induction. Human Reproduction.
  4. Nalaboff KM, Pellerito JS, Ben-Levi E. (2001). Imaging the endometrium: disease and normal variants. RadioGraphics.

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