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Anovulatory cycle - can you get a period without having ovulated?

(5 Posts)
InMyPrime Sun 12-Dec-10 01:39:51

Am currently on a weirdly long cycle (day 44 and counting) and am 95% sure I'm not pregnant as I have no symptoms at all, compared to when I did get pregnant, so am thinking that my period is just late for some reason. I've had long cycles a couple of times since coming off the pill 18 months ago and my cycles are generally longer than 28 days and irregular. So how does an anovulatory cycle work? Do you just get a bleed due to a drop in hormones, having never ovulated?

I had always assumed previously that if you got a period, then it meant you had ovulated 2 weeks prior to that. Now I've been referred for fertility testing, however, and when I saw the doctor, he told me that a cycle of +35 days generally means you're not ovulating. This scared the crap out of me as I had thought previously when I had long cycles that I did ovulate but just a bit later than normal. Can you get a period without having ovulated?

KalokiMallow Sun 12-Dec-10 02:17:14

Your period is just shedding the womb lining that builds up ready for the egg. So even if the egg isn't released you will still shed the lining.

I know for a fact that I didn't ovulate last cycle but still had a period.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 12-Dec-10 07:46:20

It is indeed possible to have periods without ovulating. Ovulation is not an exact science and it can occur earlier, later or not at all in any given cycle. You therefore certainly do not always ovulate two weeks prior to the menstrual cycle beginning.

Blood tests can give you an accurate picture; two possible causes of irregular cycles are polycystic ovaries and problems with the thyroid gland. These can be found through blood tests.

InMyPrime Sun 12-Dec-10 12:17:36

Thanks, they are testing me for PCOS at the moment although I had the initial blood test for it back in January last year and was told by my GP that the results didn't indicate PCOS. The gynaecologist I saw last month, however, suspects that I may have a mild form of PCOS where I ovulate fairly regularly but not on every cycle. I'm doing the 8 week urine sampling now to see if there is some irregularity that didn't show up with the initial blood test and am due a scan in February (ironically around when my due date would have been if I hadn't had an MMC in August... hmm ).

The weird thing is that I don't have any symptoms of either PCOS or thyroid problems other than infertility and irregular periods. It's mainly the irregular periods that are worrying me at the moment as I had always assumed if I got my period every 35 days or so then I was doing fine but I'm now worried that I may not be ovulating even when I do get my period. I guess the tests will show things up in time so it's just a matter of waiting...

KalokiMallow Sun 12-Dec-10 16:27:01

You can have polycystic ovaries without having PCOS, and they can cause irregular periods. I tested negative for PCOS, but have PC ovaries. I think they have to do an ultrasound to find that out.

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