Anovulatory Cycle Explained: What Is It and How to Prevent It?

by | Aug 19, 2019

A menstrual cycle involves dedicated dynamics of hormone levels. To ovulate, your hormone levels have to up and down precisely at the right time. Ovulation happens when the ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube, setting up the foundation of pregnancy.


When you are trying to conceive, it is natural to pay more attention to the ovulation. In order to get pregnant, you must ovulate.

However, you may have found that sometimes the absence of ovulation occurs. You assumed that menstrual bleeding is a sign that you ovulated normally. But that’s not always the case.


What is an anovulatory cycle?

An anovulatory cycle is a menstrual cycle characterized by the absence of ovulation, and the inability to get pregnant.

In a regular cycle, hormone changes drive the ovary to release a mature egg. If the egg meets the sperm, fertilization can happen and prenatal development starts. In an anovulatory cycle, menstrual bleeding can still happen, even without ovulation. So, you may have experienced one and not even noticed.

In an ovulatory cycle, progesterone level rises and leads to ovulation. In a cycle with the absence of ovulation, the insufficient level of progesterone can lead to anovulatory bleeding. You may mistake this one for real menstrual bleeding.

The anovulatory or uterine bleeding can also be caused by the buildup of the uterine lining, which is known as the endometrium. When the endometrium can’t sustain itself anymore, it sheds and leads to bleeding.


How to detect an anovulatory cycle?

Unless you track your ovulation, you are most likely not aware that you have experienced an anovulatory cycle. Tracking the period alone will not tell you if you had ovulation or not. If your period is late for 10 days or more, you just had a much shorter than usual cycle, or you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you are more suspected to have an anovulatory cycle.

Mira fertility tracker tracks your actual hormone concentrations. The only other place you can get to this level of accuracy is the doctors’ lab.

With Mira, you can see your unique hormone curve so you know exactly when you are fertile or non-fertile. Mira’s algorithm learns your cycle. Your test data is automatically synced and managed by the Mira App.

Having a hard time tracking ovulation? Mira takes the guesswork out by measuring your actual fertility hormone concentrations! Sign up today for exclusive Mira content and discounts!
Sign up Now

Another way to detect ovulation is by ultrasound. It confirms the follicle growth and the characteristics of endometrium and corpus luteum formation. To do this, you will need multiple hospital sessions with 2-3 days apart to monitor your cycle.

In your follicular phase, doctors often measure the level of your follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, luteinizing hormone or LH, and estrogen hormone. In the middle of your luteal phase, progesterone level is checked as well.

If the ultrasound confirms fully developed corpus luteum, and the progesterone peak has been reached, full ovulation is confirmed. If the above is not true, the cycle is called anovulatory.

You can also suspect an anovulatory cycle if you have a regular period, but the last cycle length was much shortened. Or you have irregular periods, and the last period was significantly late.

Excessive stress, unhealthy lifestyle, or low body weight can lead to anovulatory cycles as well.

If you have regular periods every 24 to 35 days, you are likely ovulating regularly.

In the United States, one out of six couples has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Anovulation is a common reason.


Causes of anovulation

A menstrual cycle with the absence of ovulation most commonly occurs with two groups of women. They are girls who just started menstruating and women who are close to menopause.

In both groups, the woman’s body goes under a lot of changes. Sudden change in hormone levels can trigger an anovulatory cycle.

Anovulation often happens because there is a hormone imbalance. The hormones finely regulate your cycles every month, and there are a number of factors that can affect them. Dietary pattern, high level or prolonged stress, PCOS, menopause, extreme exercise, and body weight can all affect your hormone levels.

Hormonal contraception works by suppressing hormones so ovulation doesn’t happen.

If you are trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy naturally, be sure to track your hormone and ovulation with a fertility tracker such as Mira. If you believe you may have a reproductive health problem, visit a doctor as soon as possible.


What are the ways to regulate ovulation?

Your doctors will often recommend a treatment plan if you have frequent anovulation. In addition, there are some natural ways to encourage your body to ovulate.

Nutrition, lifestyle, eating habits, stress level, and physical activities all play a role in women’s health. Try to stick to these changes for a few months, and check if your ovulation comes back and became regular. If you are overweight, losing weight encourages ovulation to restart.

If the above changes don’t seem to make a difference, you should talk with your doctor. Doctors may give you medications that help the ripening of follicles, increase estrogen, and stimulate ovaries to release eggs.


Order Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

Reserve Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.