Can A Girl Get Pregnant If Her Periods Are Irregular
I have irregular periods. Can I still get pregnant if I don’t get my period all the time? Kim*
Yes! Any time a girl has unprotected sex, she could get pregnant.
Getting pregnant is related to ovulation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. It is the time when a girl is most likely to get pregnant. A girl with irregular periods usually still ovulates, just not on a regular, predictable schedule.
All girls, especially girls with irregular periods, can ovulate at different points from cycle to cycle. That makes it impossible for a girl to know when she is most fertile. Irregular periods also can make it hard for a girl to know if she is pregnant, since she doesn’t know when to expect her period.
Having unprotected sex at any time is risky. Along with the risk of getting pregnant, you could also get an STD, such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only way to completely prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence .
If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against unplanned pregnancy and STDs. For added protection, many couples use condoms along with another method of birth control, like birth control pills or an IUD. Talk to your doctor about the best type of birth control for you.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
How Can Irregular Periods Impact Fertility And Getting Pregnant
25% of all female infertility problems among people with ovaries can be attributed to irregular or abnormal ovulation which, in turn, leads to irregular periods. Dr. Conti says that one of the most difficult aspects of trying to conceive with irregular periods is not being able to time sex or insemination around when youre most likely to get pregnant. According to Dr. Conti, this intentional timing is the best way for sperm to meet the egg and result in conception.
Why do irregular periods make that difficult? If you dont know when you might ovulate , you wont be able to pinpoint your fertile window: the five days leading up to and the day of ovulation. But by tracking your cycle, no matter how irregular it is, or by seeking medical assistance if necessary, its definitely possible to get pregnant.
How To Regulate Periods Naturally
You can also attempt to regulate your periods naturally. This is most easily done when your irregular periods are due to things in your control, like stress and weight. Lifestyle changes can help with other causes of irregular periods though, and its always a good idea to form better habits before pregnancy.
Try the following changes to regulate your periods naturally:
- Lose weight
- Eat a more balanced diet
- Take pre-natal vitamins
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What Fertility Treatments Can Help When You Have Irregular Periods
If you talk to your doctor about medical assistance for getting pregnant with an irregular period, youll likely be prescribed medication to induce ovulation. One of the best and most effective ways to get pregnant with an irregular period or with a condition like PCOS is medication like Letrozole or Clomid, Dr. Conti says. These treatments make you reliably ovulate every single month as if you had a normal period.
While these medicines dont erase the underlying problem, they help your body ovulate each month that you take them. The goal is to increase the rate of pregnancy to what it would be if your cycles were regular. Sometimes thats all you need to help the sperm reach the egg and conceive. If not, treatments like in-vitro fertilization and IUI can help increase your chances of getting pregnant.Dr. Conti also recommends scheduling a preconception appointment before you actively begin trying to get pregnant so that you can prepare for what your fertility journey may entail. You can also ask any questions you may have about your cycle so that you know whether or not youll need to take some additional steps to conceive.
This articlewasreviewed by Dr. Jennifer Conti, MD, MS, MSc.
Youre Dealing With A Medical Condition
Several medical issues could be affecting your cycle:
- Thyroid disorder. This is a pretty common culprit. A 2016 study in 100 women found that 44 percent of those who had period irregularities also had thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism may cause longer, heavier periods, while hyperthyroidism may cause shorter, lighter ones.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome . In the United States, 6 to 12 percent of people who menstruate have PCOS. It affects your ovaries and your hormones, so it can cause irregular periods and other symptoms. You may notice elevated testosterone levels, ovarian cysts, weight gain, acne, or hair loss.
- Uterine fibroids. These are noncancerous muscular tumors inside your uterus. These growths can affect your period, but they can also cause fertility issues, lower back pain, bloating, pain during sex, and a swollen abdomen.
- Endometriosis. This painful condition causes tissue similar to your uterine lining to grow outside your uterus. It affects about 10 percent of people who menstruate. It can cause long, heavy periods with spotting in between.
- Some cancers. Cervical, uterine, and endometrial cancers can all cause super long and heavy periods, bleeding between periods, and other symptoms.
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How Can You Increase Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant When You Have Irregular Periods
Keeping track of ovulation and your cycle with ovulation predictor kits can be helpful even when you have irregular periods. OPKs like the Modern Fertility Ovulation Test work by measuring levels of luteinizing hormone in your urine, which Dr. Conti explains is a hormone that is produced in your brain and tells your ovary to ovulate. Since OPKs detect LH in your urine, your results can help you predict ovulation and your fertile window.
When your period is irregular, OPKs can help you essentially keep a diary of the times you may be ovulating, allowing you to collect data about your own body that can be shared with an OB-GYN or reproductive endocrinologist if youre having trouble getting pregnant. You can be an active partner in your healthcare and gather information before you even visit your doctor, which then helps your doctor treat you because you have information about your cycle, Dr. Conti says.
What Does It Check
Pregnancy tests check for the presence of the pregnancy hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin which is found in womens urine. hCG starts to be produced around six days after fertilisation has occurred. If the pregnancy test is positive to the presence of hCG, this is normally a very accurate and reliable indication of pregnancy.
Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others and are designed to provide much earlier confirmation of a pregnancy ie before the missed period. These more sensitive pregnancy tests may be able to detect low levels of hCG as early as four days before the period is due, or seven to eight days following conception.
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Signs Of Pregnancy With Irregular Periods
If you are pregnant, you may experience any or all of the following symptoms of early pregnancy:
Some women bleed at the time of implantation, which occurs about one or two weeks after fertilization. It can be easy to mistake the signs of implantation, which include cramps and bleeding, for a light period. Some things that can help you tell the difference are:
- Unlike some periods, implantation bleeding never includes clots of coagulated, or semisolid, blood and tissue.
- Implantation bleeding is very light in flow.
- While period blood is reddish, implantation bleeding is pink or brown.
- Implantation bleeding should only last one to three days.
Due to hormonal changes, nausea is one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy, often starting as early as two weeks after conception. It may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. Low blood sugar levels in the morning often react with the hormones, leading to more frequent nausea in the morning.
Swollen or tender breasts
Some women first notice the effects of pregnancy hormones on their breasts, which can become swollen or tender.
The following symptoms are less common in the first few weeks of pregnancy but may still occur during the first trimester:
Can I Get Pregnant With An Irregular Period
Yes, because women with irregular periods can still ovulate, however, the timing of ovulation may be harder to predict, Dr. Sandsmark said.
Sometimes making lifestyle changes can regulate previously erratic periods and help you conceive. Some women, however, may require the use of other treatment options.
Here are some general guidelines when it comes to conception and medical evaluations:
- If youre younger than 35 years old and have been having unprotected sex for 12 months with no success
- If youre over the age of 35 and have been having unprotected sex for 6 months or more
- If youre 40 years old or older
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What If I Can’t Tell Whether My Pregnancy Test Is Positive Or Negative
Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether the test is positive or negative. The line may be faint, or you may worry whether you peed too much or too little on the stick.
No matter how faint the line or plus sign, if you see it, you are most likely pregnant. The faintness of the line can mean you are early in your pregnancy and your hCG levels are still low.
Also, the pregnancy test should have a control line that tells you whether the test was done correctly. If the control line is blank, then the test did not work and you should take another test.
How Many People Have Irregular Periods
In a South Korean study published in PloS One in March 2019, over 14 percent of 4,709 adult women ages 19 to 54 reported having irregular menstruation. In another, occupational status was found to have an effect: Service, manual overnight shift and sales workers, and unemployed women had higher risks of developing irregular menstrual cycles.
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How Do Irregular Periods Affect Fertility
What is an irregular periods affect on fertility? First its important to understand the ovulation cycle. Ovulation occurs when the ovary releases a mature egg into the fallopian tube, where it survives for 12-24 hours. A woman can become pregnant if this egg is fertilized with sperm. .
If you have a regular cycle, ovulation generally occurs 14 days before your next period is due, says Dr. Kudesia. For example, if your cycle is 28 days long, ovulation will probably occur on day 14 . Similarly, a woman with a 30-day cycle will ovulate around day 16.
Naturally, woman with irregular periods cant calculate ovulation the same way, since it’s impossible to predict when their ovaries will release a mature egg. Having unpredictable menstruation may also indicate anovulation, which is a complete lack of ovulation.
How Many Days Late Can A Period Be Before Worrying About Pregnancy
You can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after your estimated ovulation day, but the earlier you take a test the less accurate it may be and some brands are more sensitive than others . You should probably take a pregnancy test or contact your healthcare provider if your period is nine or more days late.
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How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests
Most home pregnancy tests claim to be up to 99% accurate. But the accuracy depends on:
- How you use them. Be sure to check the expiration date and follow the instructions. Wait up to 10 minutes after taking the test to check the results window. Research suggests that waiting 10 minutes will give the most accurate result.
- When you use them. The amount of hCG or pregnancy hormone in your urine increases with time. The earlier you take the test, the harder it is for the test to detect the hCG. Most home pregnancy tests can accurately detect pregnancy after a missed period. Also, testing your urine first thing in the morning can boost the accuracy.
- Who uses them. Each woman ovulates at a different time in her menstrual cycle. Plus, the fertilized egg can implant in a woman’s uterus at different times. Your body makes hCG after implantation occurs. In up to 10% of women, implantation does not occur until after the first day of a missed period. This means home pregnancy tests can be accurate as soon as 1 day after a missed period for some women but not for others.
- The brand of test. Some home pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others. For that reason, some tests are better than others at detecting hCG early on. Talk to your pharmacist about which brand may be best for you.
When To Take Pregnancy Test With Irregular Periods
Menstrual disorders are a fairly common problem among women of reproductive age group worldwide. Women experience various menstrual disorders right from menarche to menopause such as dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, amenorrhea, pre-menstrual syndrome and so on.
Almost every woman has experienced one or more of the menstrual disorders throughout the reproductive age group. Researches state that nearly 75% of girls in the late adolescent age experience some problems associated with menstruation.
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The Easiest Method To Check For An Irregular Period
A one-off occasion of a late or early period should not cause concern. To check, record the last day of the last period to the first day of the first period. Repeat for at least three months. A significant difference over the timeframe means a possible irregular period. To be safe, schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.
Pregnancy Test False Positives
While its not as common as a false negative, its possible for any person to get a false positive on a pregnancy test. However, PCOS is not the culprit if you get one of these rarities.
Specifically, pregnancy tests rely on the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin the pregnancy hormone to determine whether youre pregnant or not. And thats not a hormone thats directly affected by PCOS.
However, if youre undergoing fertility treatments that require taking certain medications, you may have detectable hCG that can lead to a false positive pregnancy test result. Other common causes of a false positive include:
- not following the instructions correctly
- waiting too long to review the results on a test
Theres one other possibility that we dont like to talk about: If you have PCOS,
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