Cycles have gotten shorter
11 January, 2012
I am married a year, and prior to my marriage had an average cycle of 28 days, sometimes going up to 32 days. Now, I fluctuate between 25–29 days, usually 26 days. I eat healthy, drink water, take vitamin C, and am not experiencing any stress. What can I do to go back to my longer cycles? I am pretty sure that I ovulate before the mikvah because I feel it, and because I track my cervical mucus. I usually get the hefsek on day 5 or 6. Any ideas?
Mazal tov on your recent marriage!
It is not unusual for a woman's cycle length to vary or fluctuate at different points of her life. However, when it interferes with fertility, then it is important to address the situation.
The first step is to confirm that you are actually ovulating prior to mikveh. This can be done with ovulation kits available over the counter at the pharmacy.
If you confirm that you are consistently ovulating before mikveh, we recommend consulting with your physician to discuss medical options for delaying ovulation. Please see our article on halachic infertility for more information.
If you are not consistently ovulating before mikveh, or if you are able to immerse on the day you ovulate or on the following day, you may wish to try other options before seeking medical treatment. As soon as the bleeding is no longer reddish, you can attempt to perform a hefsek taharah. The hefsek need not be completely clear – there are many shades of brown which are acceptable. Be sure to bring any questionable shades to a rabbi for evaluation, explaining your concerns about getting to mikveh before ovulation. We have also heard suggestions that regular exercise, and consistently eating breakfast before 7 a.m., may help delay ovulation by a day or two.
In either case – whether you are consistently ovulating before mikveh or only sometimes – a visit to your doctor may be worthwhile, either to discuss options for delaying ovulation, or to rule out any other fertility issue preventing conception. In general, after a year of trying without conceiving, a fertility workup is usually in order. With newlyweds, it is normal to take even more than a year to conceive, since it can take time in the beginning of marriage to fully understand the mechanics of intercourse. However, in cases where there are other issues involved (such as short cycles, possibly ovulating before mikveh), a checkup at this point is worthwhile.
Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.
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