Hyperovulation does not usually have symptoms. However, ovulation in general can cause stretchy vaginal discharge, breast or chest tenderness, and pelvic pain.
“Generally, hyperovulation is experienced no differently than normal ovulation is,” says Eric Flisser, MD, medical director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York.
Typically, one mature egg is released from your ovary during the ovulatory phase of your menstrual cycle. From there, the egg flows down to your fallopian tubes, where it can be fertilized by sperm.
Sometimes, an ovary releases more than one egg during the same menstrual cycle. This is known as hyperovulation.
This phenomenon can lead to fraternal twins if sperm fertilizes both eggs during the ovulation window — the 12 to 36 hours when the egg(s) stay in your fallopian tube.
“There is no particular set of symptoms that predict whether or not an individual is going to release more than one egg in the same cycle,” says Flisser.
Hyperovulation has few symptoms, if any.
Broadly speaking, ovulation can cause:
- a change in basal body temperature
- an uptick in vaginal discharge
- discharge that’s clear and stretchy, similar to egg whites
- pelvic pain or discomfort
- breast or chest tenderness
Healthcare professionals typically diagnose hyperovulation after an individual develops multiple pregnancies at once. Unless this occurs, any unusual symptoms are likely the result of an underlying health condition such as:
“A predisposition toward this phenomenon may be a genetic trait,” says Flisser. In some cases, ”twins run in the family,” so there’s reason to believe hyperovulation may run in the family too.
Your age may also be a factor. “People nearing the extremes of their childbearing years are more likely to hyperovulate,” explains Flisser.
In older adults, a diminishing ovarian reserve may release extra FSH, triggering a period of hyperovulation.
Your history with hormonal birth control matters too. When you stop using hormonal birth control, you may experience a number of unexpected symptoms, including hyperovulation, until your body adjusts to its new hormone levels.
How common is hyperovulation?
One older study suggests that 20% of people who menstruate have the capacity to hyperovulate.
However, Flisser notes that it usually doesn’t occur during every menstrual cycle. “Hyperovulation tends to be sporadic,” he says.
Hyperovulation typically isn’t diagnosed.
“The only way to know if someone is about to hyperovulate would be to perform an ultrasound right before ovulation occurs to see if there are multiple dominant follicles in the ovaries,” Flisser explains.
As a refresher, the eggs are found inside follicles in the ovaries. These follicles develop only when there’s a rush of FSH in the body. Usually, one follicle becomes dominant, releasing one egg into the fallopian tubes.
Healthcare professionals could theoretically use an ultrasound to see whether multiple follicles are developing. But it’s highly unlikely that they would order an ultrasound for this purpose.
What’s the outlook for someone with hyperovulation?
Hyperovulation is not a disease or cancer. It’s just a fluke thing that happens to some people during their menstrual cycle.
But hyperovulation can lead to multiple pregnancies, and carrying multiple pregnancies can increase your risk of high blood pressure, preterm labor, and other complications.
“Twins, on average, deliver prematurely because of restricted space for growth in the uterus,” explains Flisser. ”The fetuses tend to be smaller because of competition for maternal resources usually provided to support the growth of one fetus.”
Still, most multiple pregnancies do well given current medical care, he says.
Is hyperovulation the same as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome?
“Hyperovulation is distinctly different from OHSS,” says Flisser. “OHSS is a potential complication of infertility treatments that are designed to stimulate egg production.”
In OHSS, people
How can hyperovulation affect your fertility?
“Patients who hyperovulate may achieve pregnancy faster since they have more opportunities to conceive in the same period of time as someone ovulating only one egg each menstrual cycle,” says Flisser.
More research is needed to explore the timeline for pregnancy in people who hyperovulate in comparison with those who do not.
What does hyperovulation mean for contraception and family planning?
In short, you may be more likely to get pregnant if you hyperovulate.
If you have a history of hyperovulation and do not want to become pregnant, fertility awareness methods (FAMs) may not be a good contraceptive option for you.
FAMs rely on ovulation predictors to estimate when you’re most likely to get pregnant. If you hyperovulate, these predictors may be off, which could make you think you’re in the clear when you’re actually not.
At the end of the day, hyperovulation is something anyone of reproductive age should know about. After all, it’s a phenomenon that can affect fertility and pregnancy.
However, hyperovulation usually does not cause symptoms.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.