Why Tracking Is Important Even When Irregular
When your period is irregular, you may be tempted not to track it. However, keeping a journal or using an app to track your symptoms as they occur while menstruating or ovulating can be very helpful.
As many of these symptoms differ from woman to woman, and may also occur when a woman is menstruating, it is important for each woman to know what their norm is. Keep a diary or use an app to track your body temperature, discharge, changes in mood and breast tenderness in order to have the best idea of your bodys behavior when ovulating.
Basal Body Temperature Charting
The most common method for detecting ovulation works for all women. There is a surge of Luteinizing hormone when ovulation occurs. It is the LH hormone.
When the level of this hormone increases in the blood it causes a rise in basal body temperature.
The rise in basal body temperature is by 1/2 1 ° at most. You can detect this change by a regular thermometer.
Basal body temperature is the body temperature when you are at complete rest.How to chart basal body temperature for detecting ovulation?
Place a thermometer and a diary near you bedside and go to sleep.
Get up normally and take a BBT test for detecting ovulation. Place the thermometer in your armpit or under your tongue.
Make sure you do not move even a bit or eat anything before recording temperature.
Write this recorded temperature at a place which you wont lose.
Dont make any changes in the sleeping pattern or AC temperature for the next month.
Keep repeating the same step every day. One day youll see a degree rise, and that is ovulation day.
Medical Tests For Ovulation
If you suspect youre not ovulating or ovulating irregularly, see your doctor. You may have a fertility problem, and its important you get things checked out soon. Some causes of infertility worsen with time.
How will your doctor determine if youre ovulating? The most common way is a progesterone blood test. The hormone progesterone rises after ovulation. If youre not ovulating, your progesterone results will be abnormally low. This test is usually done on day 21 of your cycle.
Your doctor will also likely run other blood work during fertility testing, which can help determine why you may not be ovulating. They will also test your FSH and AMH levels, along with estrogen, prolactin, androgens, and thyroid hormones.
Your doctor may also order a transvaginal ultrasound. Ultrasound will enable your doctor to see if follicles are developing in the ovary. After ovulation, ultrasound can detect whether a follicle broke open and released an egg.
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Ovulation Day & Fertile Windows
Additionally, remember the day you ovulate is an estimation and therefore we group a number of days before and a day or two after you ovulate as your fertile window. I love the image below from very well family explaining the fertile window. Take a close look.
Why exactly is our ovulation day an estimation? Well, timing ovulation is not an exact science and there is wiggle room for fertilization. A viable female egg actually lasts for 24 hours in your body while sperm can last five days. Say whaaaat?
Yes that means you could have unprotected sex on a Friday, and while sperm are hanging out in your uterus, still viable, you ovulate on Tuesday, and wind up preggo!
Shocking, I know. I promise, however, with a regular cycle and good tracking you can pinpoint your ovulatory window to avoid or try for pregnancy! How?? Keep-a-reading.
image from very well family
How Do You Know You Are Ovulating
You will experience some subtle changes in your body. However, you may identify these symptoms only if you track the pattern for consecutive months. You might be ovulating when there is:
Pain or mild cramping in the lower abdomen
A slight increase in basal body temperature
Tenderness in breasts
Clear and stretchy vaginal discharge
Not every woman will have these symptoms. A better way to track your ovulation is through a calculator.
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No Rise In Basal Body Temperature
If youve been charting your cycles and you dont get see a slight increase in BBT, its possible youre not ovulating. However, some women dont get the rise in BBT, even if they are ovulating. Why this happens is unknown. Also, irregular sleep patterns and not taking your temperature at the same time every morning before getting up for the day can throw off your charting results.
Tracking Ovulation If You Have Irregular Periods
The most accurate way to track ovulation is to take a hormonal blood test or ultrasonography. There are other less-accurate ways you can use at home .
Ovulation predictor kits, available in drug stores, track ovulation by detecting LH in the urine.
Cervical mucus, a substance on your cervix, changes in quantity at various stages of your cycle. During ovulation, the discharge is more than usual.
Use a digital thermometer to check your basal body temperature as it tends to rise just before you ovulate, and continues to remain high until your next menstrual cycle begins. The thermometer readings are accurate if they are taken from the vagina or rectum. But for this, you need to check your temperature every day for a few months to understand the fluctuations.
Fertility monitors track both estrogen and LH hormones and help identify all the six days of the fertile window. But they are expensive.
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Irregular Or Missing Periods
Its normal if your menstrual cycle varies by a couple days each month. Its not if the variations span several days. Similarly, A “normal” cycle can be as short as 21 days or as long as 35 days. If your cycles are commonly shorter or longer than this, you may have an ovulation problem.
Assuming youre of childbearing age, not getting your period at all or going many months between cycles can both be strong signs that youre not ovulating.
How To Track Ovulation When You Have An Irregular Period
While women with regular cycles can simply assume theyre ovulating at the same time each month, its a bit trickier for those with irregular periods. Fortunately, there are a few ways to figure out your bodys schedule.
The first sign to look for is mucus. If you get a lot of clear, sticky mucus in the middle of your menstrual cycle, then youre probably ovulating, says Beth Taylor, an OB/GYN with the Vancouver-based Olive Fertility Centre. The mucus, which is secreted thanks to an increase in estrogen, means your cervix is ready to be penetrated by sperm to get pregnant.
Another way to determine if youre ovulating at all is to track your temperature each morning with a basal body temperature thermometer, which can hone in on small changes up to 1/100th of a degree. After the egg is released in your body, both estrogen and progesterone are flowing. The progesterone causes your bodys temperature to increase by half a degree Celsius .
But this method is a bit tricky for women with irregular cycles. Because the temperature change indicates the egg has already released, it means you need to have sex just before the increase in order to hit your fertile window. Most women track their temperature and use the data to predict when its going to rise in future months. But even if your cycle is a little unpredictable, It can be useful in looking backwards to see: am I likely to ovulate? And when? says Carson.
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Tracking Your Ovulation With An Irregular Cycle
Women with irregular menstrual cycles may worry they are unable to track their ovulation in order to conceive, but this is not so.
Knowing ones period of ovulation lets women know when they are at their most fertile and when they are most likely to conceive. For many women, their cycle does not fall under the neatly defined 28-day pattern suggested as the normative menstrual cycle. Some women have irregular periods and thus irregular ovulation patterns, as ovulation typically occurs in the week following menstruation. However, women without regular periods do not have to lose hope when wishing to track their menstrual cycles.
Use An Ovulation Strip
What triggers ovulation is a surge of luteinizing hormone released by the pituitary gland. This LH surge happens 24-48 hours before ovulation.
An ovulation strip can detect the higher level of LH in your body, hence indicating ovulation. This method is a very accurate and convenient option, if you dont mind spending some money.
Hope you find these methods helpful in calculating your ovulation/fertile days. Please feel free to ask a question and share your experience with us.
P.S. When you have irregular periods, you want to do all you can to restore its natural rhythms. For this, consider taking Chasteberry , the best natural remedy to regulate menstrual cycles.
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Consult A Health Care Provider
Lifestyle changes can sometimes help improve the chances of conceiving, but they cant replace medical treatment for underlying conditions. A health care provider can determine the cause of irregular cycles that may be making conception difficult.
A health care provider will probably perform a physical examination and ultrasound, and may order laboratory tests to measure hormonal levels. This will give them the necessary information to diagnose any health conditions that might be causing irregular cycles.
Theyll also ask about menstruation and look for symptoms of anovulatory cycles .
Once they have determined a diagnosis, a health care provider may be able to prescribe treatment. They may also be able to advise on how to get pregnant fast with irregular periods naturally or make a referral for a fertility specialist.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can help with fertility issues. Being overweight and underweight can both cause hormonal imbalances that can disrupt ovulation, causing irregular cycles and making it harder to get pregnant naturally. Additionally, moderate exercise may be beneficial for fertility.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help regulate hormonal balance. Keep in mind that in some cases, weight issues are caused by hormonal imbalance, and not the other way around. A health care provider can help rule out any hormonal conditions that could be making it hard to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
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Examining Your Cervical Mucus
Checking Your Cervical Position
You can also check the position of your cervix to help you determine ovulation.
This can take practice and consistency to learn how the cervix feels at different times during your menstrual cycle.
During the beginning of your period your cervix will be low, firm and closed. As you get close to ovulation your cervix will start to soften and open slightly with the intention to let sperm in to reach the egg.
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Track Your Ovulation Using Momjunction’s Ovulation Calculator
There is no foolproof method to predict the fertility window and ovulation day, as it is unique to each woman.
The momjunction ovulation calculator gives you the tentative dates of your fertility window when you type in your LMP and average cycle length.
It will help you know the most fertile days, ovulation date and fertility calendar for 6 consecutive months.
For a better understanding, have a look at the below table .
Days 19, 20 and 21
Days 16, 17 and 18
Days 12, 13 and 14
Days 8, 9 and 10
Days 5,6 and 7
Tracking Ones Ovulation With An Irregular Cycle
Many women find it hard to maintain a regular cycle without the use of hormone regulators such as birth control.
Women who stop using birth control in order to conceive typically report changes in their cycles, as the estrogen no longer regulates their period according to a 28-day cycle.
While counting the days from your last period is the easiest way to guess if you are ovulating, this is not the only way to do so.
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Do Irregular Periods Affect Ovulation
No matter the length of her period, every woman ovulates about 14 days before her next period. So, if you have a 28-day cycle, youll ovulate on day 14, and if you have a 32-day cycle, youll ovulate on day 18. But, when you have an irregular cycle, identifying an ovulation date isnt so easy, because without knowing when youre going to get your period, you dont know when to count back 14 days from.
Women with irregular periods are also more likely to be anovulatory, which means they simply dont ovulate. They may bleed on occasion, but the menstruation isnt following the release of an egg. Carson says women experiencing anovulation likely wont feel typical period pains, such as cramping, and their periods can be light or heavy in flow.
Some women ovulate occasionally but its irregular and unpredictable, which can also make it a challenge to conceive. A woman ovulating with a 28-day cycle ovulates 13 times a year. So there are 13 times in which she can get pregnant and she can figure out when they are, says Carson. But if she ovulates six times a year, right away its half as likely that shell get pregnant. And being irregular will make it a challenge to even track down those six times when youre actually fertile.