Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation

The most common feature of disordered ovulation is change in period frequency and timing. The following changes in the menstrual cycle are indicative of disordered ovulation:


This is the medical term for an absence of periods usually for six months or more. Occasionally there are uterine disorders that can cause a loss of periods but generally it implies that the ovary is not making an egg and therefore the uterus is receiving no hormonal messages from the ovary as the normal cycle of ovulation commences.


This means infrequent periods with an increased time span between them, often two to four months. It is possible that patients who only get three to six periods per year are occasionally ovulating but in many cases the irregular bleeding which occurs is anovulatory type bleeding where there is a small amount of oestrogen thickening the lining of the uterus but this is not associated with mature and complete egg development.

Short cycle or deficient luteal phase

Some patients may have shortened menstrual cycles especially where the second part of the cycle after ovulation is shorter than it should be. This is termed deficient luteal phase and it implies that the uterus does not have enough time to prepare itself to receive a pregnancy. Luteal phase deficiency is often associated with lowered progesterone output in the second part of the cycle.

It is more common in patients who have menstrual cycles of less than 25 days in length. There is significant controversy as to whether luteal phase deficiency is a real condition. Many doctors believe that luteal phase deficiency is indicative of an overall ovulation defect.

Find out more about treatments for ovulation disorders.