Anovulation - this is a menstrual cycle without ovulation. Completely normal, as long as it doesn't happen too often. But how often is "too often" and how can I recognise anovulation?
Every now and then we get the message: "Help! femSense couldn't detect ovulation in my cycle!" But don't panic: Anovulatory cycles are completely normal - but many people don't realise this. Just because you have a period doesn't mean that you have automatically ovulated.
What is anovulation?
An anovulatory cycle is a cycle in which no egg is released and no fertilisation or pregnancy can occur as a result.
Especially when you want to get pregnant, life suddenly revolves around this one ominous moment - which actually lasts a few hours: ovulation. This is because you can only get pregnant on a few days of a menstrual cycle, and these are the days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. So if you know when it happens, you can prepare yourself during this time. the "Herzeln" concentrate!
Of course, if you want to have children, you don't want to know anything about anovulation. And yet it is a reality: studies show that most women have one to two months per year in which they do not ovulate, although they probably do not even realise it, i.e. a cycle with anovulation. The bleeding they experience after an anovulatory cycle is technically not a period at all, but oestrogen breakthrough bleeding caused by a low progesterone level and a build-up of uterine lining. If there were no Ovulation tests you would probably just think that your period was irregular that month.
How often are anovulatory cycles normal?
Studies have shown that around 10-18% of all regular cycles are anovulatory. Depending on the length and therefore frequency of the cycles, that's around one to two cycles per year in which no eggs hatch. And that is completely normal! So just because anovulation has taken place once does not mean that you are generally infertile.
Anovulation occurs most frequently in young girls who have just started menstruating and in women just before the menopause.
How can I tell if I have ovulated?
Anovulation itself has no noticeable symptoms. It is therefore easier to look for the absence of ovulation symptoms, as there are different methods to determine if and when ovulation has occurred. These include the following:
Change in basal body temperature: The body temperature rises by a few tenths of a degree during ovulation and remains at this level until the next menstruation begins. You can either take your temperature every day at the same time in the morning immediately after waking up and enter it in charts, or you can make it easy for yourself and use the femSense ovulation test. It uses a skin patch to measure your body temperature and the app notifies you as soon as ovulation is detected.
Increase in the LH hormone: You can test the hormone increase by peeing daily on so-called LH test strips. However, this test is not reliable for PCOS, as the LH level is then consistently high. To compare femSense with various ovulation tests, go to here!
Change in the cervical mucus: It requires a lot of practice, but if you track the Consistency of your own vaginal secretions remains constant over several months you notice that shortly before ovulation it becomes clearer, more watery and can really be "spun" into a thread.
Regular menstrual bleeding: With regular ice jumps, the period is also quite regular. Regular means that it rarely varies in length by more than 3 days. Extremely long cycles - over 40 days - and extremely short cycles - under 20 days - could be an indication that ovulation is not present.
What are the causes of anovulation?
One or two anovulatory cycles per menstrual year are completely normal. However, if they appear to be chronic, you should definitely discuss this with your gynaecologist. There may be various causes, including health problems or lifestyle factors.
Health causes are, for example, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid problems.
Lifestyle factors These include being underweight or overweight, extreme physical exertion such as excessive sport, bad eating habitsjet lag and a high level of stress or constant anxiety.
The intake of certain medications can inhibit ovulation: These include some steroids, herbs and natural remedies, anti-inflammatory painkillers and, of course, hormonal contraception.
Anovulatory cycles occur most frequently at the beginning and end of the childbearing years. For most women, the occasional anovulatory cycle is not a cause for concern and only becomes a real problem when you are trying to conceive and every month counts.
Remember that physical and psychological stress such as sleepless nights, long-distance travelling, training for a marathon, illness or emotional stress such as the death of a loved one can trigger hormones that can temporarily suppress your ovulation. However, this does not mean that you are immediately infertile. Your system will return to normal as soon as your lifestyle does too. You can support your body in a completely natural way. Track your ovulation with the femSense ovulation testrecord all your symptoms in our free femSense cycle tracker and find in this blog post Tips on how you can increase your chances of conceiving in a completely natural way!
Timmons (2023), Anovulatory Cycle: When You Don't Release an Oocyte
Berry (2023), Anovulation: All you need to know