Ruptured Follicle

Definition - What does Ruptured Follicle mean?

A ruptured follicle can be seen in the ovary during the second half of the menstrual cycle when the mature egg has been released from the developing ovarian follicle in the process known as ovulation.

A mature ovarian follicle consists of a single egg, supporting cells around it and a fluid-filled cavity. Around day fourteen of a 28-day ovarian cycle, a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in the body cause the follicular wall to weaken and burst open the follicle releasing the egg into the abdominal cavity.

The detection of a ruptured follicle by ultrasound scanning can accurately detect if ovulation occurs and predict the time of ovulation that is helpful in the evaluation of infertility as well as for fertility-related procedures such as the timing of intercourse.

FertilitySmarts explains Ruptured Follicle

An early ovarian follicle is made up of a single egg surrounded by a layer of thin granulosa cells. As the follicle develops, the granulosa cells enlarge in size and number. In a mature follicle, granulosa cells divide to form multiple layers, and a distinct cell layer called the theca of the follicle develops around the granulosa cells. During the tertiary stage of development, an antrum, a fluid-filled cavity, appears inside the follicle. When ovulation occurs around midcycle, an opening forms in the outer lining of the egg, releasing the egg and some granulosa cells into the abdominal cavity, which later finds its way into the fallopian tube.

The presence of regular menstrual bleeding does not guarantee ovulation. Absent ovulation is a common cause of infertility, therefore confirmation of ovulation is an important step in the workup for infertility. Monitoring the ovaries for the rupture of the follicle can also be helpful in determining the exact time of ovulation which is useful for fertility-related procedures.

In the absence of rupture of the follicle, the follicle may continue to grow and develop a fluid-filled cavity in the ovary called an ovarian cyst that can give rise to symptoms like abdominal pain, a heaviness of abdomen and vaginal bleeding. If the cyst grows to become very large, it can affect the fertility of women as well.

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