Amenorrhea & Fertility: Can You Ovulate Without a Period?

Amenorrhea & Fertility: Can You Ovulate Without a Period?

So, you’re on the TTC (trying to conceive) journey — congrats!

It’s an exciting, but potentially turbulent, journey to be on.

Especially when ovulation and period drama steps into the ring. 🙄

If you’ve had missed periods, or had your periods stop altogether (also known as amenorrhea), you may be wondering how this affects your ovulation. [1]

Are eggs still being released?

Can you still get pregnant if you don’t have a period?

That’s why we’re here — getting your questions, answered. ❤️

In this article: 📝

  • Is ovulating without a period possible?
  • What is secondary amenorrhea?
  • How can I track my ovulation if I have no period?
  • Can you get pregnant with secondary amenorrhea?

Is ovulating without a period possible?

First off, yes — it is possible. [2]

Although, it’s not all that common for women who have regular periods who aren’t on any form of birth control, it can be more common for women with irregular periods.

“But, periods and ovulation go hand in hand… how can you have one without the other?! 🤔”

We hear you — it’s a pretty complex topic.

And, to make it even more mind-blowing, you can actually have menstrual-like bleeding without ovulation, too. 🩸 

Why would I ovulate without a period?

There are actually a bunch of reasons why women may have missed periods, but still ovulate.

Ovulating without a period is more common in women who:

  • Take certain hormonal medications (such as the hormonal coil, or some birth control pills)
  • Have previous uterine scarring
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — more on this later!

But, essentially, one of the main reasons is due to secondary amenorrhea. 👇

What is secondary amenorrhea?

So, secondary amenorrhea is what’s referred to when a woman misses 3 or more periods in a row (and they’ve had periods previously). [3]

While, on the other hand, primary amenorrhea is the absence of the very first menstrual cycle, and is clinically diagnosed when there’s no history of menstruation by age 15. 👧 [4]

But, primary is a little bit of a different story…

So, back to secondary — why might it be causing havoc with your periods?

One of the most common causes of secondary amenorrhea is, of course, is pregnancy. 🤰

While another is when a woman is entering into the menopausal stage of her life.

But there could be other things at play here, too…

🔍 Get Clued Up: Can You Have a Period While Pregnant? 🩸


What causes secondary amenorrhea?

So, what are some of the main reasons why you might have missed periods, or they have stopped altogether? [5]

  • 📈 Hormones:

Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. 🙃 

These pesky things have a lot of control over our bodies

And, even if one of them is slightly out of whack, that can cause your periods to fluctuate, or stop altogether.

  • 💊 Contraception:

Also, some birth control methods (like some variants of the pill) can mean you don’t ovulate at all, and actually instead experience a fake period.

With other methods of birth control, such as the IUD, you still ovulate and can still experience a period (although much lighter, if present at all). [6]

  • 😵‍💫 Stress:

We’re sure you’ve heard the effects stress can have on the body, and that certainly doesn’t exclude menstruation. [7]

Stress releases high levels of cortisol in our bodies, which can be responsible for a bunch of things happening.

But essentially, if you’re under a lot of stress, it can make your periods vanish. 😕 

  • 🏃‍♀️ Weight changes:

Significant weight change, or extreme over-exercising, can also cause your periods to go a bit all over the place. [8] [9]

If you’ve started to severely restrict the calories you’re consuming, this could stop the production of the hormones needed for you to ovulate.

But, being overweight can also affect it — as your body may produce an excess amount of estrogen, which can affect your periods. [10]

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):

With PCOS, sometimes, your eggs aren’t developed or released, which means that ovulation doesn’t take place. [11]

But, you’re not alone. ❤️

In fact, PCOS is so common that it’s thought to be responsible for as many as one in three cases of stopped periods. [5]

  • 👩‍⚕️ Underlying health conditions:

There are also a number of other medical reasons why your periods may have stopped — some more serious than others.

It’s important to have your symptoms discussed with your doctor, to see if any treatment is needed to re-regulate your periods, or to find out what the cause might be.

  • 🩸 Menopause:

Depending on your age, your lack of period could be due to your body starting to go through the perimenopause.

The ‘peri’ aspect refers to the ‘before’ menopause, and means your body is gearing up to go through the change.

So, this can stop your periods, or make them really irregular, for a while before actually entering into the menopause.

  • 🤰 Pregnancy:

And, of course, one of the reasons that’s mostly associated with a lack of period… that big, fat, positive. 👏

After ovulation, your egg is fertilized with the sperm, causing implantation (note: you might actually experience some bleeding here 🩸).

The biggest clue you’re pregnant?

No period. 🤷‍♀️

How can I track my ovulation if I have no period?

You might think there’s no easy way of tracking your ovulation without your period as your tracking compass… 🧭

But, fear not, ladies — Mother Nature has much more in store for you than just menstruation. 🌱

As well as knowing that ovulation generally occurs midway through your cycle, here are some telltale signs to see when you’re ovulating:

  • 🤍 Cervical mucus: This is probably your biggest physical indicator that ovulation is here, or that it’s brewing. You’ll likely see changes in your cervical mucus when you’re ovulating (it will be stretchy, slippery, clear, and there might be a lot more of it), compared to the start of the month where it’ll be mostly dry.
  • 🌡️ Basal body temperature (BBT): Another handy trick up Mother Nature’s sleeve, your BBT will rise around the time of your ovulation. So, to put it into context, your BBT will usually be between 96°F and 98°F, then, when ovulation occurs, it’ll rise to generally between 97°F and 99°F. You can check this using a basal thermometer. [12]
  • 💦 Ovulation tests: These handy little strips are a game changer for tracking ovulation with irregular periods. Ovulation tests work similarly to pregnancy tests (instead of testing for HCG they test your LH levels) in that you pee on them (or dip them in a container of urine) to determine whether you’re ovulating or not.

🔍 Read More: Can You Ovulate Twice in a Month? 🥚


Can you get pregnant with secondary amenorrhea?

But, fear not, ladies…

Even if you don’t have periods, you could still get pregnant.

So, we’ve worked out you can still ovulate without having a period…

And, because it’s unclear why your periods have stopped, fertility isn’t ruled out by simply not having periods.

So, it all really depends on why your periods have disappeared.

If it’s something as simple as hormonal medication (like birth control), once you stop having this medication, your periods should be regulated again. 🩸

But, in some cases, it may be trickier to get pregnant… and your secondary amenorrhea could be due to something more serious.

Best bet?

Chat to your doc — they’ll know the best course of action for you, and your individual medical history. 🩺

🔍Read More: Conceiving With Irregular Periods 🩸

What if I can’t get pregnant with secondary amenorrhea?

Again, your doctor should be your first port of call here to discuss your options.

But, if you’re not able to conceive on your own without medical help, there are also other ways you could get pregnant.

Some of the most well-known ways are:

  • 👩‍🔬 IVF: IVF is where your eggs are fertilized in a lab setting with the sperm of your intended father, and then you have the embryos transferred into your uterus. Pretty clever, right?
  • 🤰 Surrogacy: This is when someone has a baby on your behalf, and you can choose between a traditional surrogacy or a gestational surrogacy.
  • 👶 Adoption: Fostering or adopting is an incredible route to mamahood — and a common route, too. In fact, more than 1.2 million children in the U.S. have at least one adoptive parent! [13]

🔍 Get Clued Up: Fertility Treatments in 2024 👶

So, in short, there’s generally a reason why your periods are a no-show if you’re ovulating, and it’s best to chat that through with your doctor.

But, in the meantime, you might find it helpful to chat to women who’ve been through it before?

Enter: Peanut. 🥜


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