Are You Ovulating Regularly?
And why that matters...
Are you ovulating regularly?
Ovulation is when the egg is released from your ovary. It’s an important phase in your cycle because it’s how you progress through to end up with a period. It also promotes regular cycles. Also, when you ovulate you produce progesterone (your calm and happy hormone), so without ovulation anxiety, lack of sleep and other factors may be an issue.
You may not ovulate monthly due to several reasons:
being in the perimenopause phase (which can happen for about 10 years before the end of your period, e.g. menopause);
stress – your body does not want to bring a baby into a world that it thinks is dangerous
over exercising – again, a form of stress
nutrition – eating too many sugary foods, upsetting your blood sugar levels
sleep – lack of sleep rises cortisol, again putting your body under stress
PCOS – the basis of this is irregular cycles
thyroid issues – particularly hypothyroidism
low body weight – again, your body will sense stress and shut ovulation down
Just because you get a period it does not actually mean you have ovulated (this is called an anovulatory cycle).
So how do you know you have ovulated?
There are few ways to tell: your basal body temperature rises when you ovulate. Your cervical fluid changes (a bit gross I know, but it’s the fluid that comes out ‘down there’). Plus, you can also get a blood test done to determine a rise in progesterone (remember, ovulation produces progesterone). There are also ovulation testing kits available too.
So, let’s get a bit more into details
Cervical fluid - this changes throughout the month between your periods. So, you can either look in your knickers to see the difference, look on the toilet paper after you wipe or even use your fingers to notice the difference.
Basically, when the fluid is stretchy, slippery and clear with an egg white consistency, this is a sign that you have ovulated. It’s like this so that the sperm can travel along happily and meet the egg. Testing your cervical fluid can be a great way to determine when you are ovulating if you are wanting to get pregnant.
Many women also use this method to let them know when they cannot get pregnant, as they have unprotected sex outside of these times (when they are not ovulating) – but I suggest you highly educate yourself on this method before throwing all birth control procedures out the window and having unprotected sex.
Sex drive - an increase in your sex drive can be a factor as your testosterone rises just after you ovulate, prompting you to go and do the ‘wild thing’ so that the egg can get fertilised (whether you want it to or not).
Basal body temperature – this is testing your temperature when you first wake in the morning before you get out of bed. You use a regular thermometer under the tounge and track and chart your temperature daily (or use an app). Basically, your temperature increases after ovulation due to the hormone progesterone. This slightly increased temperature stays that way until your period arrives.
You may also have other symptoms that come along when you ovulate, like spotting, a twinge or pain in your lower abdomen area, bloating and breast tenderness.
If you are unsure if you are ovulating regularly, try a few of these methods out to help you answer the question. Remember, your body is always trying to talk to you.
* thank you to the websites that provided these informative images.