Deare amymo: Excellent question! A woman can have apparently regular flows and yet still not be having regular ovulations. How can this happen? In a cycle without an ovulation, estrogen stimulation (assisted by the hormone FSH ) will continue to make the lining of the uterus grow thicker and thicker. In the absence of a LH surge, no ovulation will occur. The progesterone level will not rise. When the follicle that contains the un-ovulated egg involutes the woman's blood estrogen level will drop. This triggers much of the lining to be shed. Thus if it takes two to three weeks for the follicle and un-ovulated egg to regress, the woman may have somewhat regular bleeds.
How often does this happen? In the first year after menstrual periods begin up to 55% of the cycles may occur without ovulations (Mansfield & Emans, 1984). In a study of 20-35 year old women who were had regular cycles but were infertile, an average of 30% of women were not ovulating. Among these 123 women with regular cycles the highest incidence of not ovulating was 41%. This highest incidence occurred among women who had never had a conception. Women who had at least one documented pregnancy had a lower incidence of non-ovulation despite regular periods (Hegab, 1987).
Lastly, the presence of very regular periods, accompanied by common premenstrual symptoms ("molimena") suggests an ovulatory cycle—especially when there are menstrual cramps. Yet this may not always be the case. In as many as 5% of these "classic for ovulation" cycles, ovulation may not have occurred (Speroff, 1999).
Bottom line amymo, other than a confirmed pregnancy the only other ways to document an ovulation are to do blood progesterone levels on cycle day 21, or to use ovulation predictor kits which measures for the LH surge. Even basal body temperature charting or watching for cervical mucus changes can have results thrown off by other physical issues (eg viral infection or elevated estrogen levels from PCOS).
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
The opinions expressed in WebMD Communities are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Communities are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.
Do not consider Communities as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.