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Can you have a menstrual cycle without the bleeding?

(20 Posts)
notnowbernard Fri 09-Oct-09 11:29:05

Apologies if this sounds like a stupid question

It may well be one blush

It's just that I have very irregular periods (atm they are about every 8-10 weeks)

But I certainly feel like I ovulate (high sex drive, change in vaginal mucous etc) but quite often will not start bleeding for ages after

Also often feel PMTish but nothing occurs (maybe I am just a miserable bint)

Have been to the Dr twice in the last 18m, all blood results are 'normal'

SausageRocket Fri 09-Oct-09 11:31:05

I would say no, as part of the 'cycle' is the shedding of the lining of the womb (aka the period bleeding)

SausageRocket Fri 09-Oct-09 11:31:44

so I wouldn't think the cycle is complete without the shedding of the lining.

notnowbernard Fri 09-Oct-09 11:41:50


It's very bizarre, being so irregular (bit of a PITA too)

Thinking about TTC (maybe middle of next year onward) this might prove tricky!

beatiebow Fri 09-Oct-09 12:12:17

In the past year I have been feeling dodgy in my cycle too (am now 36-don't know if it's a getting older thing?). Have had quite a few months where I have had all the symptoms of a period (moods and pains) yet no blood. Always turns up eventually after I have convinced myself I could be pregnant!

fruitful Fri 09-Oct-09 12:20:53

Sometimes the hormones (can't remember which ones) rise, and they are supposed to get to the point where you ovulate, but don't quite get there, so you don't ovulate. But the hormones have been up so you'd have had all the symptoms. And then it all happens again a week or so later. If you actually ovulate then you bleed, roughly 2 weeks later.

[ And in answer to your question - well, yes, I do, but then I have ovaries but no womb! ]

notnowbernard Fri 09-Oct-09 13:04:06


Hope it's not an age thing I am only 32...

rabbitstew Fri 09-Oct-09 17:04:02

When I was younger, I had a couple of quite extended periods of amenorrhoea (no periods) after several years of having periods, for which no reason was ever found (the longest lasted about 2 years). My hormone levels at the time were low-normal (ie the low end of normal). I was told that the lack of periods did not mean I was infertile - I could still be ovulating, although probably not every month. Maybe they just said that to me to ensure I wouldn't just assume I wouldn't need contraception, but I wasn't sexually active at the time in any event, and wouldn't have been that stupid! I also know a good friend of my mother who never had periods in her life, adopted a daughter on the assumption she couldn't have her own children and then shortly afterwards realised she was pregnant... My periods went back to normal in the end - again for no apparent reason - and I never had trouble conceiving (success at first attempt both times around). So, don't be too pessimistic about your chances of success at getting pregnant, because there seems to be no logic and little predictability in relation to ones chances of success on that front!

Oh, and the two tiresome questions they always asked me when I was trying to find out why my periods had stopped were: 1) had I lost lots of weight recently (no, I hadn't - I've been pretty much the same weight since I was 16 years old); and 2) was I very stressed (again, no - my periods returned when I was very stressed, but took a break when I had nothing much to worry about!!!). So, if you've been losing weight recently, or stressing about something, I guess that could help explain why your periods might have become irregular...

rabbitstew Fri 09-Oct-09 17:17:03

ps I think the explanation I was given as to the possibility of having ovulation without a period was that if the body only produced a small amount of womb lining, this could be reabsorbed somehow without being expelled in the normal way. No idea if this has any basis or not in truth, but I'm sure that was the explanation.

Oh, and another thing that can make periods irregular or absent is excessive exercise (again, not something I tended to indulge in!). Irritatingly, I have found that the times in my life when I have been at my thinnest and most stressed, I have had the most regular periods. I remember in particular being incredibly stressed when I was hoping to conceive ds1, because given my past history, I was paranoid I was subfertile!!! Mind you, given the symptoms I get around ovulation these days, I wonder whether my pituitary gland tipped from causing me to produce low levels of hormones to causing me to produce excessive amounts!!!

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 09-Oct-09 17:47:22


A condition called polycystic ovaries can cause such irregularity of periods and it is likely you are not ovulating regularly if at all. A menstrual cycle of over 35 days is more likely than not to be anovulatory particularly if the cycle is consistently irregular.

Re the bloodtest results; what hormone levels were tested for and on what days?. They should have tested both your LH and FSH levels on day 2 along with comparing them. If they did not do this then this is poor on their part. I would have thought they have missed something on the blood tests.

Another possible cause is problems with the thyroid gland; this can also cause irregularity of periods.

BTW some GPs are very ignorant when it comes to dealing with such issues. I'd be looking to see a gynae soon if your periods continue to be irregular.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 09-Oct-09 18:04:38

"If you actually ovulate then you bleed, roughly 2 weeks later".

I'm afraid this is not quite right. It is quite possible to have periods without ovulating. Ovulation is not an exact science and a woman can ovulate earlier, later or not at all in any given cycle. Its certainly not always the 14th day.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 09-Oct-09 18:04:38

"If you actually ovulate then you bleed, roughly 2 weeks later".

I'm afraid this is not quite right. It is quite possible to have periods without ovulating. Ovulation is not an exact science and a woman can ovulate earlier, later or not at all in any given cycle. Its certainly not always the 14th day.

rabbitstew Fri 09-Oct-09 18:23:56

Agree with AttilatheMeerkat re blood testing - I remember having blood taken at regular intervals, not just one or two blood tests, to track the menstrual cycle (or lack thereof). I think if they do the blood tests properly, they can tell whether or not you are likely to have polycystic ovaries or whether or not it is worth testing your thyroid function, because these conditions would affect your hormone levels throughout the month.

I was also put on clomid for a few months by a doctor who thought this would kickstart my cycle again, and was also put on the contraceptive pill for a while, because the same doctor was concerned that my bones would be at risk - ie I may get early onset osteoporosis due to the lower than normal level of oestrogen my body was producing at the time (albeit it was low-normal, not low-low!). So there's another reason you may want to check the blood tests were done properly, as you would presumably want to know if you were at greater risk of developing osteoporosis. I wish I hadn't consented to the clomid, to be honest, as it didn't kickstart my periods, it just caused rather unpleasant stomach cramps... However, if you want to conceive and aren't currently ovulating due to low levels of the right hormones, clomid is the fertility drug you are most likely to be given, I think.

notnowbernard Fri 09-Oct-09 21:17:16

Just seen these responses - thanks, very infomative! smile

Think I may go back to GP for more in-depth consultation, even if TTC plan does not go ahead

FlightAttendant Fri 09-Oct-09 21:30:32

Ooh. This is what I was wondering.

I had been feeling like I had a 'cycle' for months before I actually started to have periods again - I'm still bfing ds2 who is 28 months old, and haven't really cut down at all but they just came back.

Also when I was anorexic in my 20s, my periods stopped for four years and came back at exactly the same time of the month!! How weird.

FlightAttendant Fri 09-Oct-09 21:31:21

I too was wondering about whether I would ever be fertile again! smile

notnowbernard Fri 09-Oct-09 21:32:57

The GP thought it was something to do with BF (bf DD2 for 16m - but she's 3.2 now!!!)

rabbitstew Fri 09-Oct-09 22:27:36

That seems like an exceptionally long time post-breastfeeding to still be having irregular periods for that reason (??!!! it's almost 2 years?!), unless you did lose a lot of weight over that time, also, or something else happened in addition to knock your hormones out of kilter. I think thyroid problems are more common post-pregnancy, but you'd probably have other symptoms - either excessive lethargy and weight gain, or excessive nervous energy and weight loss! Despite having problems with absent periods prior to ever trying to get pregnant, my periods returned and were regular within 12 weeks of giving birth both times, despite breastfeeding both my ds's for over 12 months each (including breastfeeding during pregnancy no. 2). Which probably just goes to show how little we understand the workings of the human body, and what stops it working the way it's supposed to from time to time. I would definitely be going back to my GP, though, for some more satisfactory answers. And there is always the outside possibility that you are in the very early stages of an early menopause (I think you'd have to be REALLY unlucky for this to be the case, unless there's a family history), in which case you'd want to be getting on with trying to get pregnant sooner rather than later.

FlightAttendant Sat 10-Oct-09 06:16:03

Oh that's funny, I bf'ed ds1 for 16 months! However they did come back a month after I stopped with him.

I hope you have some answers soon xx

notnowbernard Sat 10-Oct-09 20:03:16

Thanks all smile

Will book to see GP this week and be a bit more directive with him

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