If you have periods, it means that you’re ovulating, right? Well, probably. Your reproductive system is a complicated system, and like most complicated systems, there are unfortunately several opportunities for it to “go wrong.”
Ovulation is one of those things. In a typical menstrual cycle, ovulation happens roughly halfway through (so if your cycle is 28 days long, it will likely happen around or slightly after day 14). Of course, every woman is different, so it’s important for you to track your cycles in order to get to know what is normal for you. With the information that comes from tracking, you will get a better sense of when something is out of the ordinary for your cycle, or if it is possible that you have not been ovulating.
Most people who have regular periods are ovulating. It is unusual to have regular cycles and to not be ovulating—if you have been having regular cycles and have not conceived in several months it is likely something other than lack of ovulation: an obstruction in the cervix or uterus, lack of sperm or sperm motility, not enough or too thick cervical mucus, or just plain dumb luck.
If a person is not ovulating and still has periods of bleeding, it could be one of two things:
-estrogen levels are increasing, and then drop suddenly, causing estrogen withdrawal bleeding.
-the uterine lining keeps growing and growing, then becomes so thick that it needs to be expelled. This is called estrogen breakthrough bleeding, and it is the more common reason for bleeding without ovulation.
Neither of these usually happens on a regular schedule, although it is possible that the estrogen withdrawal bleeding might mimic a regular cycle. Likely, a hormonal blood work panel would show what is going on, and then you can talk with your doctor about what your options are.
If you are concerned that your lack of periods is causing you to not be able to conceive, it’s best to go to your doctor. There are hormonal supplements that you can take, or other therapies that will help to get your system back on track. You can look at herbal supplements and even diet changes as ways to improve your hormone health.
In the meantime, what you can do is to make sure that your body is in fabulous health! Make sure you are eating well, getting some light exercise each day, and trying to get a full night’s worth of zzz’s every night. When your body is in poor health, your hormones don’t have a great opportunity to do their job in your body. When your health improves, it is less work for those hormones to chug along doing their thing! Your pituitary gland and your hormones will thank you for maintaining whole-body good health.