Why Am I Not Ovulating?
While many women looking to get pregnant have familiarised themselves with their menstrual cycles, it’s not always easy, especially for women with irregular periods, to determine when they ovulate so they can time intercourse with their fertile window.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you know when you’re ovulating, why you might not be ovulating and how to start ovulating, so you can enjoy the process rather than stress over getting pregnant.
How Do You Know If You’re Ovulating?
Ovulation occurs midway through your menstrual cycle when the increasing presence of LH (Luteinizing Hormone) causes your ovary to release an egg ready for fertilisation. This egg is only viable for 24 hours after release, however, sperm can live in the female reproductive system for up to 5 days, so from 5 days before your ovulation date, you can start having unprotected sex to maximise your chances of pregnancy. This is known as your fertile window.
Generally speaking, if you have a regular cycle, i.e. bleed for the same number of days over a regular period of 21 to 35 days, then it’s highly likely you also have regular ovulation. Though fret not yet, it’s perfectly normal for people with regular cycles to still have a few days difference on their cycle each month.
If you don’t have a period at all, then you won’t be ovulating, but, you can have a period as normal and not ovulate, which is why it’s important to look out for symptoms of ovulation:
- Rise in Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
- Surge in Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
- Egg-white-like vaginal discharge
- Increased sex drive
- Mild pelvic pain
Not all women will experience all of these symptoms, however, since there are no symptoms of anovulation (not releasing an egg during your cycle), you should look out for any of these symptoms to see if you are ovulating.
Taking an Ovulation Test
One surefire way to know if you’re ovulating is to take an instant ovulation test. Ovulation tests work by testing the presence of LH in your urine; a positive result shows an LH surge showing ovulation, and a negative result shows no LH and thus no sign of ovulation.
Therefore, if you have a very irregular period and don’t know if you’re ovulating or when your fertile window is, by taking an ovulation test each day of your cycle from the end of your period, you can see with 99% accuracy when you’re ovulating, or if you are at all.
Even if you have a regular cycle, if you’re struggling to conceive, taking a rapid ovulation test will give you the answers as to whether you’re ovulating so you can determine when your fertile window is open for you to time intercourse.
Why Am I Not Ovulating?
If you’ve taken an instant ovulation test and haven’t got a positive result, and timed it right, then you won’t have ovulated. There are several reasons why you might not be ovulating and they shouldn’t be too much of a cause for concern as there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make or effective treatments to get you ovulating again.
Our list is not exclusive, however, here are the main factors:
Fat is a natural part of the human body and women have a higher body fat percentage than men to support their bodies through pregnancy. But not everybody realises that fat is hormonal, so it affects our menstruation.
If you’re underweight, then your body won’t be signalling for ovulation as you require more body fat to undergo a pregnancy. Conversely, too much fat will produce more oestrogen which usually helps regulate other hormones in the female reproductive system, so if you’re overweight your periods, and ovulation, may temporarily stop.
You should see your doctor for help losing or gaining weight if your BMI score is out of range or you think your weight might be affecting your ability to conceive, as over-exercising can also prevent ovulation.
Since trying for a baby and not successfully conceiving can be stressful in itself, stress being a factor in disrupting ovulation can be a little, well, stressful.
Too much stress in your life, be it from work, your finances, at home, or any number of things, can have many negative effects on your health, including:
- Upset stomach
- Panic attacks
- Weight change
- Irregular menstrual cycle
Whether you have each of these symptoms or none, if you’re feeling stressed, it could be the reason why you’re not ovulating, as your body prioritises your safety over reproduction when it’s on high alert from fear or stress.
But there are helpful ways to manage stress, so you can make some simple lifestyle changes to help you conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
Firstly, if you have any known symptoms of an ovulatory disorder or are concerned you may have one, you should see a medical practitioner for a diagnosis and advice on how to manage the disorder.
The most common ovulatory disorder is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which disrupts ovulation by causing irregular periods, increased androgen and enlarging ovaries and increasing the number of follicles they contain. It doesn’t necessarily cause infertility, but if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and can see from an instant ovulation test that you’re not ovulating during your menstrual cycle, then you should visit your doctor for advice.
Other ovulatory disorders include hypothyroidism which can affect your body’s ability to release an egg, but they can be helped with medication, just as your doctor can help if your pituitary gland is not naturally producing enough luteinizing hormone.
Of course, you need to have unprotected sex to make a baby, but long-lasting STDs can affect your reproductive health and prevent ovulation. If you suspect you have any kind of sexually transmitted infection or disease you should see your doctor as soon as possible, however, some women don’t experience any symptoms, so if you’ve had unprotected sex and not been tested since, it’s worth having a check-up to ease your mind.
You also won’t ovulate if you’re infertile, and there are many factors which can affect your fertility, but don’t jump to conclusions. Visit your doctor about any concerns regarding your reproductive health.
Can You Make Yourself Ovulate?
People with ovulatory disorders should seek advice from a medical professional about ways to start ovulating, as there are medications that can help boost hormones such as FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH, as well as regulate progesterone and oestrogen.
If your reproductive organs are otherwise healthy, it will help boost fertility and regulate ovulation if you, and your partner, cut down on alcohol and stop smoking. Smoking has many negative effects on the body, including menstruation and both male and female fertility so to successfully conceive, you should avoid smoking altogether.
As for eating bananas, leafy greens and seafood to boost fertility and ovulation, there’s some truth to it, but the best advice is to have a varied and healthy diet to make sure you have normal levels of necessary vitamins and minerals.
Instant Ovulation Tests
Conception isn’t always as easy as we want it to be and plenty of couples struggle to conceive for all manner of reasons. But one way to track your ovulation is by taking an instant ovulation test.
By buying our at-home tests, you can take an ovulation test when the time is right for you and get your results instantly because we, at Official Rapid Tests, know that time is of the essence when it comes to our health.We also have a state-of-the-art laboratory for other medical tests, that speedily sends out patient results so no one has