Irregular periods are often no cause for concern when you are not trying to make a baby. Those with longer than average and unpredictable cycles can be happy they don’t have to deal with menstruation and all its horrible side effects as often as other women. Those with shorter cycles might be slightly annoyed. What many women with irregular periods don’t know, before they start trying to conceive, is that they can lead to problems getting pregnant.

Let’s take a closer look at irregular periods, their causes, and how to get pregnant – solve the problem and get a step closer to pregnancy.

If you have been watching your cycles, and know that you have irregular periods, the first thing to take comfort in is that you are not alone. Just under a third of all women has irregular periods at some point during her life. Most of the time, this is caused by stress. If you are under stress, you have likely found the culprit – think not only financial troubles, a turbulent time at work, family responsibilities or any of the other common stressors, trying to get pregnant can also be a huge source of stress on you and your relationship!

Sometimes irregular periods are caused by something as simple as not eating well enough, a vitamin deficiency of some kind, or too much exercise. Women who were on the birth control pill before trying to conceive can also experience irregular periods for a while. Not everyone with somewhat unpredictable cycles has problems conceiving, but if you have been trying to conceive with no success, or if you are just worried, there are steps you can undertake.

Because menstrual cycles are regulated by hormones (mainly estrogen and progesterone), and these hormones are essential during the process of fertilization and implantation, a hormonal imbalance is the next thing to check out. Hormones are needed to make you ovulate, and irregular periods can be a sign that this is not happening. Buying ovulation tests and using them regularly is probably the easiest and cheapest way of seeing whether you ovulate. Not ovulating and irregular periods don’t always go together, but it is a pretty frequent combination, unfortunately.

If, after using ovulation tests for a while, you have concluded you are not ovulating, that would be a good time to check in with your doctor. Irregular periods with no ovulation could be caused by a number of conditions that need medical treatment, including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis or other problems. If you do have one of these conditions, you will want to find out about that sooner rather than later, because treatment is available but takes time.

Ovulation can be induced artificially with fertility drugs such as Clomid, but often simpler and less invasive methods, like vitamins, herbs that improve fertility, or progesterone creams solve the problem.

Have you experienced irregular cycles, or cycles with no ovulation? We’d love to hear your story. If you have tips and suggestions for others on how to regulate their cycles, you are welcome to comment too!