Monica has friends that use an online ovulation calculator, and they seem to find it helpful. But it is never accurate in predicting when she will ovulate. She finally realized it is because her cycles are so unpredictable in length. After 2 years of trying to conceive unsuccessfully Monica is frustrated and discouraged. Now what?
Can I Use An Ovulation Calculator With An Irregular Menstrual Cycle?
No, an ovulation calculator will not be accurate or helpful if your menstrual cycles are irregular. If you are in this situation, the first thing to understand is that the health of your menstrual cycle is the best indicator of your fertility.
What is a healthy menstrual cycle?
- 26-35 days
- Clear signs of ovulation
- Luteal phase 12-16 days
- No premenstrual symptoms
- No menstrual cramps
Very irregular menstrual cycles is an indicator that you have a hormone imbalance. You may not even be ovulating every month. Keep track of your cycles and see if this is a problem for you. Also, even regular cycles longer or shorter than 26-35 days are not normal and indicate that something is not right.
The signs of ovulation that you should learn to recognize and keep track of include fertile cervical mucus, saliva ferning, an LH surge and a rise in your basal body temperature. You can use an ovulation predictor kit to know when your LH surge occurs. But often the other signs are adequate and simple to monitor.
What is my luteal phase? This is the part of your cycle from ovulation until menstruation starts again. If it is longer or shorter than 12-16 days that is not normal. Keep track of your cycles for a few months and see what this is for you. Just mark down ovulation onto the calendar, then count the number of days until your period starts again. This is the length of your luteal phase.
Premenstrual symptoms such as moodiness, food cravings, acne, bloating and breast tenderness are common but not normal. Yes, these things are so common that women joke about them regularly and do not even realize it could be any different. If you have these symptoms it is a sign that your hormones are not balanced, which affects your ability to get pregnant.
Menstrual cramps are another common occurrence, but anything beyond mild and brief is not normal. You should not need to take medication, use a hot water bottle, or be debilitated in any way. The first day of your cycle is a good time to not push yourself, and an opportunity to take care of yourself. But it should not be a day of misery.
There is much you can do to normalize your menstrual cycles and help maximize your chances of getting pregnant within a few cycles. Good nutrition and managing stress levels in your life are critically important. Once you are regular, then that ovulation calculator will be an accurate and fun tool to help predict when your most fertile days will occur.
To Your Vibrant Health!
Veronica Tilden, DO