So what if my menstrual cycle isn’t 28 days?  PCOS women must read!

I’m glad you asked! What does happen if your menstrual cycle isn’t 28 days? On the back of a huge week with my ovulation segment on healthalks – there have been questions flying all about the place about healthy menstrual cycles and some concern from women who’s cycles looked a little different. If you missed the segment – you will want to check it out here.

Know this: Very few women have a perfect menstrual cycle every single month.

This is because there are so many factors that influence ovulation – stress, excess weight loss, grief, lack of appetite, exercise, medication, the list goes on. For this reason, the body simply tries to ovulate until it eventually gets the job done. This may mean it attempts the deed several times until it actually completes the job. To you, this will look like variations of fertile mucus that come and go over a week or two depending on the situation. What this should also do in a healthy situation is push your ovulation out. So where ordinarily you would ovulate on cycle day (CD) 14, you may find yourself ovulating on CD20. For this to be a healthy fertile cycle, we would hope to see the luteal phase (from ovulation to menstruation) be at least 11 days, meaning that we wouldn’t potentially see a period until at least cycle day 31. In this situation, if you did see the period arrive on it’s normal cycle day of 28, your luteal phase would be too short hormonally and inadequate for fertilisation of an embryo. You see – the body has got it all figured out!

But if you are finding you are ovulating later in the month and having a short luteal phase, it’s a good idea to try and figure out exactly what your body is telling you. In every instance, it shows that your progesterone levels are inadequate and can’t maintain a strong luteal phase. How we go about fixing that however will differ for everybody – which is why products like vitex may or may not work for you, because it is an individual situation.

But how about those with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)? I’m not finished with you by a long shot! Good news is, the methods I talk about in the healthtalks clip can be applied to anybody trying to conceive. Just remember, if you feel wet cervical mucus – your body is at least trying to ovulate. And if you are trying for a baby, no matter when you see that mucus, go for gold my friend!

Wether it is PCOS or other ovulatory issues, the same principles apply in terms of diet and lifestyle. They are all outlined in my e-book, Fertilise Yourself (let’s not forget there are also 25 recipes in there too to have you on your fertile way) and are pretty much the same across the board however, PCOS does require some specific details.

Insulin resistance adds a level of complexity. There is a link between PCO/S and sugar. Whilst the cause of PCO/S is unknown, what is well understood is that by altering your sugar intake, your symptoms of PCOS are decreased dramatically. Thankfully my friend Sarah Wilson has her book all about sugar and quitting with some pretty delicious recipes too – you can check that out here. In short, insulin is produced by your body and is a normal response to rising blood glucose levels. It’s main function is to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucagon is also secreted by the same organ and does the opposite. The secretion of both hormones is controlled by the amount of sugar in the blood. So – to cut a very long story short, insulin acts on the ovary to make testosterone. This is a necessary body function as testosterone is required for the body to go and make the female hormone oestrogen. Characteristically, women with PCO generally have higher blood insulin levels, which have an affect on the ovary, meaning that they overproduce testosterone. High levels of this lead to lots of symptoms including lack of menstruation, facial hair, weight gain and acne. Given this, it is very important to treat women and regulate their hormones. TCM does this very well.

Bottom line is: Excess sugar intake increases testosterone production and increases PCO symptoms. Lessening sugar for those of you with PCO is key.

I’m going to revisit PCO in the coming weeks and talk about measure you should be implementing to assist your body in recovery. I’ve treated many patients and won the battle of PCOS. But remember for all ovulation disorders, diet and lifestyle is key.

But what happens if you don’t have PCO and you still have irregular cycles. I’d take a guess and say stress in some way is affecting your body and this is simply it’s way of telling you it’s time to get things right. Acupuncture and chinese medicine do a wonderful job of addressing and treating stress – as I always say you can’t in every case remove stress, but we can implement ways to assist our body coping with it.

What is your body telling you? What changes may you need to make for better health? I’d love to hear your story, I’m sure it will help create great discussion and inspire other women into action to take charge of their fertility.


  • March 18, 2013 By Naomi 10:08 am

    Hi Nat,

    You always seem to deliver exactly what I’m ‘asking for’!

    I was wondering with PCOS; would you have to see all of the symptoms to have it? I have a long cycle approx 30-33 days, but I do have a ‘normal’ luteal phase. I have lots of mucus which feels like it is pretty much from around day 10-14 up until just before menstration again.

    However I dont have facial hair. I find i hold a lot of weight around my stomach and thigh area mainly, increasing cellulite even though i exercise reguarly and eat well, tender breasts (nipples) about 1-2 weeks out from menstration and get emotional. Its all just so confusing…

    Thank you for spreading your knowledge to the women (and men) in the world. You’re a gem šŸ™‚

  • March 18, 2013 By Tasha 3:22 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I was diagnosed with PCOS last June and have been trying hard to control my diet and lifestyle to increase my fertility. I am taking Metformin, but I honestly call it my miracle drug because after 3-4 weeks of being on it, I now very rarely crave sugar at all (even if it’s right in front of me!) and I crave water all the time….

    I just wanted to say thanks. I am starting my first ever round of injectable fertility meds paired with an IUI in my next cycle – wish me luck! šŸ™‚

  • March 18, 2013 By Mrs G 7:10 pm

    Hi, Natalie!

    I have a question: what do you recommend between choline inositol (250mg/250mg) and inositol (500mg) to be taken 3 times a day before mealtimes?

    Since a while, I had improved my diet: lots of veggies, no processed meat, whole grains, no white sugar, no refined flours, reduction of other forms of sugar (I have never consumed artificial sweeteners and sodas, so it’s not an issue here) and as consequence I lost a bit of weight (my BMI has always been less than 25).

    2 months of choline/inositol have really reduced (almost eliminated) any sugar/carbs cravings, meaning that I feel satisfied after eating and also more energetic.

    I’m quite happy, but I have heard that you can have even better results, such as a reduction in facial hair. Shall I switch to inositol or maybe even try the prohibitevly expensive d-chiro-inositol?

    What are your thoughts? Thank you!

  • March 19, 2013 By Iinda 8:36 am

    Hi Nat,

    By sugar do you mean all carbs including things like rice & potato?

    Does starch have the same affect as sugar? & what about fructose specifically?

    Many thanks


  • March 22, 2013 By Belle 7:22 pm

    Hi Nat

    Thanks for this informative article. I am new to your site and I’m impressed so far!

    I am concerned that I have a short luteal phase. I think I ovulate around day 18 but I have on average a 28 day cycle. I recently miscarried at 10 weeks. Could low progesterone be a cause of miscarriage at 10 weeks or would low progesterone only affect fertilisation and implantation? Should I consider taking progesterone prior to trying to conceive again? Do you cover luteal phase in any great detail in your e book?

    Many thanks Nat x

  • March 24, 2013 By Rena 8:49 am

    Thanks Nat. What about a shorter than normal cycle? I typically have a 26 day cycle and ovulate around day12/14. I miscarried about 8mths ago and after a couple months my body returned to this pattern. Is it something that I should address? Does it also indicate progesterone issues? Thanks in advance X

  • April 3, 2013 By Pip 3:40 pm

    Hi Nat,

    Thank you so much for the information – I’m struggling with this topic in my life at the moment.

    I was put on the pill by doctors at 16 because of irregular periods and bad pain. They prescribed this only 4 months after I got my first period. I’m now 23 and married, and while I’m not looking to conceive for another few years, I decided it’s time to just let my body do it’s natural thing and have stopped taking all medications and the pill. I am trying to heal myself through natural methods (dietary choices, juicing, oil pulling etc).

    I’ve been off the pill for 6 months now and I’m having irregular periods between 30 – 38 days.

    I’ve been to a couple of doctors and had tests and they’ve said I have Polycystic Ovaries, but not Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. They told me to go back on the pill to regulate my menstrual cycle and that it wont do any harm to be on the pill in the long term – which I definitely don’t want to do.

    What I am finding frustrating with GP’s is the ‘Cure over Prevention’ mindset. They have all told me to go back on the pill and wait until I want to conceive, and then if I am having trouble they will look into hormone injections or IVF. They’ve all said that due to my PCO I might have problems or I might not, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

    I’m in a position now where I have a few years up my sleeve to overcome any obstacles I need to before I start trying and get prepared to conceive and be pregnant. But I’m finding no GP’s are telling me what I need to be doing now to ensure I don’t have problems with conception in a few years.

    Are you able to shed any light on what I should do? I can deal with irregular periods, but if I end up in a 3 year battle with my body trying to conceive, only to find out there were measures I could have taken to avoid fertility issues I will regret wasting time.

    Pip x

  • August 28, 2014 By ozlem 7:29 pm

    hi i was just wondering from june 2014 till now aug 2014 my periods have gone from 28days to 38 days regulated. i had a hormone test and showed i have hipothriod i have an appointment next week i have been trying to concieve and its stressfull could my irregular periods be from my elevated hipothroid test? once i get my hromones under control will it all alter back to normal?

  • September 28, 2014 By Lilique Cassisa 5:56 pm

    I have gone off the pill for several months now and still have not fallen pregnant, my menstrual cycle is not 38 days. Or on every 38 day I start to menstruate. I’m not over weight, I do not think I stress to much either. Why is this? What can I do to find out when or if I am ovulating?

  • March 11, 2015 By Kylie Williams 10:36 pm

    I had my last period on the 14th of February 2015 and it finished on the 21st of February but tonight (11th of March) I got my period but it’s seems like too soon from my last one. Is this a 28 day cycle because to me it’s not 28 days.

  • June 13, 2015 By jag 10:38 pm

    hi. good day, im having problem with my cycle since it was 38 days. I noticed it last month on my period and now im still waiting and its 36 days , waiting for my next period still.

  • September 13, 2015 By fatimoh Mohammad 9:47 pm

    ma, had all symptoms relating to Pecos but sugar level Normal. unfortunately, I could not conceive still

    • September 17, 2015 By Nat Kringoudis 4:00 pm

      PCOS can show up in a range of ways – unfortunately blood tests aren’t completely reliable. But good news is, PCOS is treatable so I’d encourage you to focus on how you can move yourself into remission. x

  • January 25, 2017 By Dixie 9:23 pm

    Hi,I don’t know if I have pcos or anything, but for the past year I’ve been paying attention to my cycle and it lasts anywhere from 30-36 days. My husband and I haven’t really started trying to concive yet, we’re not always the most careful, but we’re just starting out and this isn’t something that warrants a hospital bill. Anyhhow, I’m only 22 and trying to figure out why my cycle is so long. My mom is diabetic and I do eat a lot if sugar, but I don’t know if that’s anything . Anyhow could you just tell me if this is normal or should I get it checked out?

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