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.
What Can Cause Irregular Periods
Irregularity in menstrual cycle is normal during illness or stressful time and in most cases the periods becomes regular once the illness or the stress is resolved. Some women may experience chronic irregularity and it is caused due to hormonal imbalance. One of the common reasons for hormonal imbalance in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome , a medical condition. PCOS symptoms include stimulation of many follicles that increases the level of estrogen in the body without the release of an egg . Increased levels of estrogen cause thickening of uterine lining, which then sheds resulting in a period without the ovulation.. Also Read – Are You Facing Trouble In Concentrating? Do These Yoga Poses for Improving Your Concentration | Watch Video
Another reason for hormonal imbalance are lack of proper nutrition, physical stress and excessive exercise. Doing strenuous exercises for three or more hours every day can make it difficult for the brain to trigger the production of hormones required for the development of follicle and this could lead to deficiency of estrogen. Eating disorder can lead to irregular or absence of menstrual cycle.
Being overweight and underweight also increases the risk of irregular menstrual cycle. Overactive and underactive thyroid gland can also cause irregular periods, which may indicate that the ovulation process is inconsistent. Less ovulation means fewer opportunities to conceive..
Can You Get Pregnant Without Having A Period
Brian Levine, MD, MS, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Can you get pregnant without having a period in months? Yes, its possible, but its not likely. If youre not getting your periods, this is a good reason to see your gynecologist. There are some normaland some not-so-normalreasons this can occur. What could cause you not to get your periods? Could you be pregnant and not know it?
What do your periods have to do with getting pregnant? And, if you want to get pregnant, how can your doctor help you conceive if youre not menstruating?
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Is There Anything I Can Do To Help
Unless you are a trained physician, there is nothing medically that you can do. However, depending on the cause of irregular periods,there are other things that you can help with. If irregular periods are caused by stress, then helping your wife out whenever possible to lessen her burden, or suggesting the two of you take time for a relaxing evening can help. If the cause is dietary in nature, then you can change diets with her to support her. For example, if the cause is caffeine and she needs to stop drinking coffee, maybe remove the coffee maker from your home and only drink coffee at work, where she can’t see or smell it.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If youre experiencing irregular, heavy or excessively painful periods that are disrupting your life, be sure to see your healthcare provider for treatment.
If youre having issues conceiving, reach out to your provider. You may be experiencing anovulation.
If youve been treated for anovulation and are still having issues conceiving, contact your healthcare provider or fertility specialist.
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Do You Need Contraceptives During Perimenopause
Unless you are absolutely sure you are in full menopause, getting pregnant is still a possibility and therefore contraceptives are essential. Whether you are using birth control or other methods of contraception, if you want to be sure you still need to use it. Some studies have found that over 75% of pregnancies in women over 40 are unplanned, so its important to assume you are fertile, unless proven otherwise.
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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Treatment Options: Can You Fix Irregular Periods
If stress is a possible culprit in your irregular cycle, try stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, visualization, cognitive behavioral therapy, and biofeedback. Avoid over-exercising, and try not to diet excessively. If you need help figuring out whats best for you, contact a registered dietitian. For all medical issues, consult your healthcare professional.
Why Do Some Menstrual Periods Become Irregular
There are many variables that can affect the length and timing of your menstrual cycle. Some are correctable, but others can signal significant medical issues.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome This metabolic and hormonal disorder occurs when the ovaries or adrenal glands overproduce the male hormones and the body hasinsulin resistance. Studies have shown that 87 percent of women with irregular menstrual cycles have PCOS.
- Thyroid or pituitary disorders Hypothyroidism , hyperthyroidism , and hyperprolactinemia can all affect menstrual regularity, says Dr. Lynn. One study found that 44 percent of study participants with irregular periods also had thyroid problems.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease An inflammation of the female reproductive system, PID is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections.
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Is It Pregnancy Or An Irregular Period
People who have very long cycles may worry about becoming pregnant without realizing it.
Also, spotting is common in early pregnancy, so light bleeding does not necessarily mean that a person is getting their period. The only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test.
However, it takes a few days after implantation for a test to return a correct positive result. Implantation is the moment when the fertilized egg embeds in the uterus and pregnancy begins. Taking this into account, a negative result could indicate that the person simply took the test a few days too early. Anyone who is unsure when or whether they are ovulating might consider testing every week or so.
Fertility Tracking For Women With Pcos And Irregular Periods
If women are not ovulating or ovulating irregularly, as in the case of polycystic ovary syndrome , they may experience irregular bleeding. Women with PCOS have bleeding that occurs randomly, not in response to a true cycle. As a result, women with PCOS cannot use their period to track their cycle. They would be better suited to discuss alternative methods of tracking fertility with their health care provider.
Similarly, women who experience irregular periods should not count on using their period to track their fertility. An average period cycle lasts 21 to 35 days from the start of one period to the start of the next period. If your periods fall out of this timeframe, then they may be irregular and not associated with ovulation.
Women may experience irregular periods for a variety of reasons like being underweight or constant and intense exercise, Harper said. However, irregular periods may be an indicator of an underlying health issue like PCOS. Speak with your provider if you believe you have an irregular menstrual cycle.
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Should Women With Irregular Periods Panic
Irregular periods are concerning. More so if getting pregnant is on the cards. Missing periods can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Theres no need to panic. Take action early. Seek advice from your OB/GYN, as doctors can help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
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Tracking Ovulation With Irregular Periods: Ovulation Predictor Kits
Some people find it cumbersome to manually track ovulation with irregular periods. Ovulation predictor kits and fertility monitors are tools that do the tracking for you. Unfortunately, with irregular periods, particularly those that are longer, you will probably have to do more testing month to month.
The Luteinizing Hormone is consistently detected in your urine. There is an increase in presence 24 to 48 hours prior to ovulation. An ovulation predictor kit detects this increase and lets you know that you are ovulating. As ovulation predictor kits help you identify and confirm when you are ovulating, you should record these dates on your calendar. Whether you look for patterns on the calendar or not, the information will be helpful to a fertility specialist if you find yourself encountering problems when trying to conceive.
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More Information About Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are common in menopausal women, so it’s unlikely that irregular periods are a result of anything serious. However, if either of you is worried, talk to your doctor. Click on the following link to learn more about how to manage irregular periods effectively.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. “The Stages of a Woman’s Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause”. November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. “Menopause: What is it?” Patient Leaflet. 2007
Do I Have An Underlying Condition
In some cases, irregular periods are caused by an underlying health condition. For example, polycystic ovary syndrome affects around 5-10% of women of reproductive age and can cause irregular periods. PCOS can also cause the ovaries not to work correctly. Managing weight, regulating insulin levels, and lowering stress are all crucial for women with PCOS to conceive. Often, women with the condition will undergo in vitro fertilization for help getting pregnant.
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Detecting Ovulation When Cycles Are Irregular
If you are ovulating, but irregularly, you’ll need to make a special effort at determining your most fertile time. There are many ways to predict ovulation. You might need to use more than one to help figure out when is the best time for you to have sex.
Ovulation predictor tests work a lot like pregnancy tests, in that you pee on test strips to determine when you’re most fertile. However, in some women, the tests give multiple “false positives.” This is especially common in women with PCOS.
Another possible pitfall of using these tests when your cycles are irregular is that you’ll need to use more than the average number of test strips. You don’t use the tests your entire cycle, but only around the general time you might expect to ovulate. When your cycles are irregular, that possible ovulation window may be longer than it is for other women.
You may want to consider charting your basal body temperature . BBT charting can show you when you actually ovulated. You can also share your BBT charts with your doctor. They may be able to use this information to make a diagnosis.
Of course, the most accurate way to detect ovulation, or lack thereof, is through a trans-vaginal ultrasound and/or through bloodwork taken at your physician’s office. Talk to your doctor about these options to determine if they are right for you.
Can You Get Pregnant If You Have An Irregular Period
Its possible to get pregnant with irregular periods, but it may take more time. One study found that women with highly variable cycles were 51% less likely to get pregnant per cycle than women with regular cycles.
A separate study, however, found irregular cycles made less of a difference in trying to conceive. In it, most women who got pregnant had cycles lasting 31 days, and women whose cycles were shorter or longer than 31 days also became pregnant, just at a slightly lower rate.
Irregular periods dont necessarily mean you wont be able to get pregnant on your own. Sometimes, making lifestyle changes can regulate previously erratic periods and help you conceive. Some women with irregular periods, however, will need to use fertility treatments.
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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.
Use An Ovulation Predictor Kit
These kits are available over the counter at most stores, and theyre pretty accurate at detecting a surge in luteinizing hormone . Ovulation predictor kits are easy to use you pee on them just like a pregnancy test.
But be warned: Theyre a lot pricier than pregnancy tests. That cost can start to add up if you need to use a lot of them thanks to an irregular cycle.
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