How to Know If You Are Ovulating Regularly With PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the main cause of ovulatory infertility. Find out more about how PCOS can disrupt the menstrual cycle and how to tell if or when you are ovulating.

How to Track Ovulation With PCOS

Ellen Lindner / Verywell

PCOS and Ovulation

The menstrual cycle is initiated when a hormone is secreted in the brain. This causes an egg follicle in the ovary to begin growing. Two main hormones are involved in this process. The first is  follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the maturation of an egg. The second is luteinizing hormone (LH), which triggers ovulation, or the release of the egg.

Due to the imbalance of sex hormones in women who have PCOS, eggs don't always mature or get released from the ovary to be fertilized. Instead, they collect on the ovaries as small, immature follicles. They are mistakenly called cysts.

A woman with PCOS tends to produce excess androgens, or male hormones. As a result, a woman's menstrual cycle and ovulation can be affected. Her cycles may be irregular, longer than normal, or may not occur at all. She may or may not ovulate in a given cycle.

Signs That You Are Ovulating

Having regular periods is one sign of ovulation. Here are a few other ways that you can determine if and when you are ovulating to maximize your chance of conceiving a baby:

  • Ovulation Prediction Kits: Ovulation prediction kits detect elevated levels of LH, which surges right before ovulation. Women with PCOS tend to have high levels of LH. So ovulation kits may not be as reliable for them as they are for other women. There are many different types of ovulation predictor kits, ranging from affordable to very expensive.
  • Basal Body Temperature: Another way to determine whether you're ovulating involves using a thermometer to measure your basal body temperature. Right before ovulation, a woman's temperature will spike. For most accurate results, temperatures need to be recorded using a digital thermometer at the same time every day. Generally, early in the morning upon waking up is best. When you see the temperature rise, there's a good chance that you may be ovulating.
  • Checking Your Cervical Mucus: A woman's cervical mucus changes throughout the course of her monthly menstrual cycle. At the start of her cycle, her cervical mucus will be dry. When cervical mucus is wet or of the consistency of raw egg whites, ovulation may be approaching. Most women notice this change in discharge a few days before ovulation. The discharge also may become wetter and more slippery over several days. 
  • Checking Cervical Position: Your cervix also goes through changes throughout the course of your monthly menstrual cycle. You can reach inside your vagina to feel your cervix. If you are able to feel your cervix fairly easily, you're usually not close to ovulating. If you are ovulating, your cervix may be higher in your body and more difficult to reach.

Using one or more of these techniques can help you make sure that you are timing sex properly if you are trying to conceive. Get to know your body each month and try these techniques. They can maximize your chance of conceiving.

If You're Not Sure

If you don't seem to be getting clear signals that you are ovulating, you should see a doctor and get an evaluation. You may need some help with regulating your menstrual cycles or getting pregnant. Typically, a fertility specialist or a reproductive endocrinologist will do a full hormonal workup, gather a detailed medical history, and possibly do an ultrasound. These steps can help determine if and when you are ovulating.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a cure for PCOS?

    There isn't a cure, but there are things you can do to manage your symptoms and increase your chance of conceiving. Your doctor may prescribe medication like Clomid (clomiphene) to help you ovulate. Managing your weight through healthy eating and exercise may relieve symptoms and may help regulate hormone levels.

  • What are the chances of getting pregnant with PCOS?

    It depends on how often you ovulate, as well as your health and your partner's health. While PCOS can make it more difficult to get pregnant, you can greatly increase your chances by seeking medical guidance. A study found that 80% of patients prescribed clomiphene will ovulate, and about half of those will conceive within six cycles.

Was this page helpful?
3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Barbieri, Robert L, MD, Ehrmann, David A MD. Patient education: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (Beyond the Basics) UpToDate. Apr 12, 2019.

  2. Office on Women's Health. Polycystic ovary syndrome. Updated April 1, 2019.

  3. Frankfurter D. Getting pregnant with PCOSA Case-Based Guide to Clinical Endocrinology. 2015:317-326. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-2059-4_38

Additional Reading