For most women, getting pregnant is a magical experience. However, stress and other lifestyle changes make conceiving difficult. One of the reasons for difficulty in getting pregnant is irregular periods.
What are Irregular Periods?
Irregular periods, medically known as oligomenorrhoea, is when the period cycle is either less than 21 days or more than 36 days. Some women can also miss entire cycles. Irregular periods are responsible for 30-40% of all cases of infertility. Good thing is irregular periods are treatable in most cases.
Causes of Irregular Periods
Some of the causes of irregular periods are:
- Hormonal imbalances, particularly that of oestrogen and progesterone
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Eating disorders
- Change in contraception
- Sharp decrease or increase in weight
- Extreme exercising for sports or otherwise
How Do You Know if Your Periods are Irregular?
To know if your periods are irregular:
- Check to see how many days your cycle is. If it is lesser than 21 days or more than 36 days, this strongly indicates irregular periods.
- Note how long you menstruate for and whether the flow is heavy or light.
- Keep track of the level of cramps you experience while on your period.
- Check if you have clots when you bleed.
- Keep track of your emotions during your period.
READ ALSO: Best diet for PCOS
How Irregular Periods Affect Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
Irregular periods can be a sign of anovulation (your ovaries are not releasing ova on a regular basis). Only when the eggs are being released by the ovaries can they be fertilized. Other reasons for irregular periods that affect your chances of getting pregnant are hormonal imbalances, PCOS, thyroid imbalances hyperprolactinemia, premature ovarian failure, and low ovarian reserves.
It is important that the reason for your irregular periods be correctly diagnosed and, if possible, rectified. Only then will your chances of conceiving improve. Irregular periods after marriage and chances of pregnancy are interwoven and must be examined quickly.
READ ALSO: Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women
How to Get Pregnant with Irregular Periods
It is possible to conceive even if your periods are not regular. Here are a few tips that can help you:
- Tracking Your Ovulation
It is important to track when you ovulate in order to plan for conceiving, when you have irregular periods. There are many resources available for you to be able to use to find out if you are ovulating. Your doctor will be able to tell you approximately when you might be ovulating, and you can test to find the best opportunity for you to try conceiving.
- Frequent Sex
Engaging in regular sex not only increases the chances of you getting pregnant but also reduces your stress levels which in turn increases your chances of getting pregnant. Having sex regularly means that the chances of missing the ovulation window are small.
If the doctor determines that you are not ovulating regularly enough or at all, then she may prescribe fertility drugs to help stimulate ovulation and help you get pregnant. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, then your doctor will recommend other drugs to help correct the condition in order to up your chances of pregnancy.
Importance of Tracking Ovulation with Irregular Cycles
Timing is of the essence, even with women who have regular periods. Understanding the primary time period of your ovulation cycle can help you enhance your sexual activity to increase chances of pregnancy. This means keeping a constant check on your menstruation cycle and with irregular periods, ensuring you let your partner know when you are ovulating.
Different Ways to Track Ovulation
- Ovulation Prediction Kits
The ovulation prediction kit helps you measure the Luteinizing Hormone or LH levels in your urine. This hormone spikes 24 to 48 hours before you ovulate. It is best that you record the level of LH, as this can help your fertility specialist if you decide to consult one.
- Fertility Monitors
Fertility monitors can help predict when you will be ovulating up to seven days in advance. These monitors will track your body chemistry and vitals electronically and will create a digital ovulation calendar for you. These monitors use a sample of your saliva and vaginal mucus to predict ovulation.
Is There Medication Available to Get Pregnant with Irregular Periods?
Since the cause for irregular periods varies, medications can target different concerns in your body. Some drugs take care of insulin resistance which could be the cause of PCOS. Some other drugs target ovulatory dysfunction. These drugs are usually fertility drugs. They can also be given in the form of an injection.
It is vital that your gynaecologist decide the best course of medication your body requires in order to address the concern of irregular periods. Your doctor will decide on a treatment plan only after series of tests to determine the health of your various organs as well as the level of hormones in your body. Based on the findings from these tests, your doctor will prescribe the right medication for the same.
How to Get Pregnant with PCOS and Irregular Periods
Women who have been diagnosed with PCOS will find it harder to get pregnant than women who don’t, or who just have irregular periods.
- PCOS Symptoms
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome include:
- Irregular ovulation
- Irregular periods
- Abnormal hair growth on chin, upper lip, and nipples.
- Aggressive acnethat follows a cycle.
- The oil glands on your skin will work overtime resulting in excessively oily skin
- Insulin resistance
- Getting Pregnant While You Have PCOS
While some women who have PCOS will need IVF in order to get pregnant, there are a number of non-tech ways in which you can tackle the condition.
- Losing Weight:PCOS contributes to weight gain, but losing weight will help reverse the condition to a certain extent. Losing even 5 to 10% of weight will help jump-start the menstrual cycle and put you back to ovulating more regularly.
- Diet:One of the most important ways to combat PCOS is to have a diet that is perfect for the condition. Foods that are fermented such as tofu or soy curd have proven to be very beneficial. Staying away from processed foods that are high in refined fats and sugar will help control the weight.
- Metformin:Some women with PCOS might be prescribed metformin which combats insulin resistance. Even if a woman is not insulin resistant but has PCOS, metformin might help with weight loss and normalize her periods.
When to Consult Your Doctor about Irregular Cycles
See your doctor or an experienced health professional if your period cycle is between 45 to 60 days or even longer. You can also approach a doctor if you are just worried about your periods and want to know if they are regular or not. Getting advice from a medical professional will help you in the long run and will also remove any fears or worries that you might have.
READ ALSO: 6 Benefits of Magnesium for PCOS
Irregular periods are a cause for worry even if you aren’t trying to get pregnant. They can be attributed to a host of different issues from PCOS to stress. Maintain a healthy lifestyle devoid of alcohol intake and tobacco smoking. Exercise daily and have a healthy and balanced diet in order to get to your ideal weight.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.