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Can you have a period without ovulation? Can you ovulate without a period? Questions like these are very common if you have an irregular menstrual cycle and also if you’re trying to conceive.
Irregular periods can sometimes give you a hard time getting pregnant, but it is possible. A lot of factors come into play during the menstrual cycle and periods, such as PCOS, anovulatory cycle, hormonal imbalance, birth control, stress, and many others.
So what is ovulation and its relation with pregnancy? And how can you ovulate without a period? Here’s the answer to all your questions.
What Is Ovulation ?
Ovulation happens when one of your ovaries releases a mature egg, which travels through the fallopian tube, and is ready to be fertilized by a sperm. Your uterus lining is thickened to prepare for the fertilized egg. In case, no conception occurs, the uterine lining will shed during your period.
What Are The Signs Of Ovulation ?
If you see the usual signs of ovulation, there’s a chance that you are ovulating.
(1) An elevated level of the luteinizing hormone
The ovulation test detects the rise in luteinizing hormone (LH), which occurs 12-24 hours before you ovulate. The test is not recommended if you have PCOS, because the LH level is high throughout the cycle, thus showing misleading results.
(2) Regular periods
If you have a relatively predictable cycle of 24-35 days, it’s a sign that you’re ovulating. Absent or irregular periods (less than 21 days or more than 35 days) may be a sign that you are not ovulating. However, there are chances that you are having normal periods but not ovulating.
(3) Consistent change in Basal Body Temperature
Your body temperature at rest slightly increases during and after ovulation. Since there are other factors as well that can increase body temperature, it is not a very accurate way to predict ovulation.
(4) Change in cervical fluid
If you notice clear, egg-white-like, and stretchy secretion, then it’s a sign that you’re about to ovulate. After ovulation, your cervical mucus becomes thicker and cloudier cervical mucus.
(5) There are also some other signs of ovulation, such as:
- Change in cervical position and cervical firmness
- A brief twinge of pain or a dull ache that is felt on one side of the abdomen
- Light spotting
- Increase in sex drive
- Breast tenderness
- Abdominal bloating
- A heightened sense of vision, smell, or taste.
What Is The Relation Between Your Periods And Ovulation ?
There are chances that you might have any of the symptoms of ovulation but are not getting your period. So, can you ovulate without a period?
To answer this question, it is important to understand how periods work and their relation to ovulation. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens during your menstrual cycle in one month:
It is important to understand your periods before understanding the relationship between period and their relation with ovulation. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens during your menstrual cycle in one month:
1) At the start of your menstrual cycle
Specific hormones inside your body signal your ovaries to start developing an egg. An immature egg is contained in a tiny bubble with fluid and nutrients, called the follicle.
2) About 12 to 14 days in your monthly cycle
The hormones stimulate the follicle and the egg, till it reaches maturity.
3) Halfway through your cycle
The follicle bursts open and an egg is released. This is called ovulation and the egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours.
4) The second half of your monthly cycle
In about 15 to 25 days (after ovulation), the progesterone hormone triggers the uterine lining to prepare for the fertilized egg or embryo. The lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium. During this period, the endometrium builds up and becomes thicker, preparing itself to be just right for the embryo.
What happens next, depends if you have had sexual intercourse within the five days of ovulation.
What Happens If You've Had Sexual Intercourse Within The First Five Days Of Ovulation ?
If you have, then there must be a sperm waiting in your reproductive system. Sperm can survive in the female reproductive system for approximately five days. There’s a higher chance of getting pregnant if you have sex in the five days of your ovulation. This is also known as the fertile window. You will become pregnant if a sperm fertilizes the egg. An embryo will not implant itself into the lining of your uterus. The ideal time for this is about 7 to 10 days after ovulation. Different hormones will not be triggered to prepare your body
What If You Didn't Conceive ?
In case, you didn’t conceive, your body’s progesterone level will drop. A low level of progesterone will signal the endometrium to break down and expel itself. This is your period.
After the endometrium is expelled, your body will release hormones that will trigger the next month’s ovulation. Your period marks the end of one menstrual cycle.
It is common for your menstrual cycle to be 28 days in one month, 31 days in the next, and 27 days the month after. Your periods are generally considered regular if your cycle length varies between 24 to 35 days. But if the cycle length is less than 21 days or exceeds 35 days, it is termed as irregular periods.
Can You Ovulate Without A Period ?
Now coming to the most important question that you might have on your mind. Can you ovulate without a period? You can have your periods and not ovulate, and on the other hand, it is also possible to ovulate and not have your period. Complicated, right? Let’s break it down.
- There are chances that you can ovulate, but not have later bleeding like a period. This is caused either due to previous uterine scarring or certain hormonal medication.
- Also, having a period doesn’t necessarily mean that ovulation has taken place. Some women experience an anovulatory cycle. An anovulatory cycle is caused by the thickening of the uterine lining. How does this thickening of the uterine lining take place? If estrogen (which is produced before ovulation) continues to be secreted unopposed to progesterone (which is produced after ovulation), the lining of the uterus becomes thick and unstable and it sheds itself.
Why Am I Not Getting My Period ?
Amenorrhea or the lack of menstrual cycle can be caused by a lot of factors. Many of these factors can affect ovulation or make getting pregnant more difficult. In a few cases, the reason for irregular menstruation is unknown.
If you have regular periods and suddenly stop having them, the first thing that comes to your mind is pregnancy. It is to be noted here, that even if you get a negative pregnancy test, there is still a possibility that you’re pregnant.
Breastfeeding your baby can also cause irregular periods. It depends on how often you are breastfeeding and your biology.
3. Birth Control
Many birth control pills can stop your periods. You must have been informed of this by your doctor who prescribed them to you. If you want to try to conceive, it depends on your body and your contraceptive choices. Consult your doctor before taking any steps regarding birth control pills.
Being over or underweight can severely affect the chain of hormones in your body. This can lead to irregular ovulation, and in some cases, absence of ovulation.
5. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is the most common cause of infertility from lack of ovulation. In this condition, the female body secretes too many androgens (often thought of as “male” hormones). This can prevent mature eggs from developing and releasing into the fallopian tube.
6. Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)
POI, also known as premature ovarian failure, causes irregular or absence of ovulation. In this case, a person may go months or sometimes even years without periods, only to have them restart all of a sudden.
7. Hormonal Imbalance
An imbalance in hormones can also cause ovulation problems. Thyroid imbalance, endometriosis, an underlying untreated medical condition (like diabetes), and hyperprolactinemia can cause irregular or absent periods.
Perimenopause is the phase where the estrogen and progesterone level naturally declines. It causes irregular Periods and ovulation before they stop altogether, signaling menopause. Symptoms of perimenopause may include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
Stress can affect a lot of body functions. Many women are likely to have menstrual irregularities due to stress.
What To Do If I Want To Get Pregnant But I Am Not Getting My Period ?
It is recommended by doctors to at least try conceiving for a year, and if you’re 35 or above, then at least for 6 months before getting a fertility test. However, this doesn’t apply if you’re showing any symptoms of a fertility problem.
If you’re not getting timely periods, you may be dealing with infertility. Both you and your partner need to get evaluated. Male infertility is also very common and something that needs to be taken into consideration.
Consultation with a doctor can help you land the perfect solution after diagnosing whether your problem is arising from ovulation or infertility. Some possible treatments include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Change in medication
- Treatment for underlying untreated medical condition
- Fertility treatment
What If You Don't Want To Get Pregnant ?
Even if you don’t want to get pregnant, your lack of menstrual cycle shouldn’t rely on it as birth control unless your doctor tells you so.
It is common for women to experience irregular periods, mostly due to irregular ovulation. Before coming to any conclusion about your periods and fertility, it is always recommended to consult a doctor. Infrequent periods can make it difficult to get pregnant, but it is not impossible. Your doctor can help you increase your fertility by treating the cause of your irregular periods and monitor your progress once you do conceive. Thus, it will help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.