Ovulation occurs when hormonal changes signal a woman’s ovaries to release a mature egg. It typically occurs once a month during a woman’s menstrual cycle. However, ovulation can happen more than once a month and sometimes not occur.
Bloating, tender breasts, and an insignificant increase in the basal body temperature may sometimes be related to ovulation. However, only a few women experience these symptoms of ovulation.
This blog comprehensively explains the different ways to recognise the typical signs and symptoms of ovulation.
What is ovulation?
When the ovary releases a mature egg, the egg moves to the fallopian tube to remain there for 12 – 24 hours and can get fertilized by a sperm in that time frame. This entire natural process is called ovulation. Sperms can survive inside the female reproductive tract for five days after sexual intercourse under the right body conditions. The chances of a woman conceiving are highest when live sperms are present in the fallopian tubes during ovulation.
What are the signs and symptoms of ovulation?
Each person experiences the most common signs and symptoms of ovulation differently. It is usual for women to notice some of the symptoms in one month and not notice them in the next. Women must remember that not experiencing any of these signs or symptoms does not mean they are not ovulating. The following are a few signs and symptoms of ovulation.
Some women experience minor pelvic discomfort or mild cramps before or during ovulation. It is often known as mittelschmerz, pelvic discomfort related to ovulation due to a ruptured follicle and the release of small amounts of blood or fluids. Women experience ovulation pain in either ovary, which may vary in location and intensity from month to month. However, some women experience discomfort for a few moments, whereas others may feel mild pain for longer.
This fluid released during ovulation can sometimes can irritate the abdominal lining or surrounding area. In addition to the pain, a woman may feel heavy in the lower abdomen. Sometimes, ovary pain can be unrelated to ovulation.
Changes in body temperature
The temperature when a person first wakes up in the morning, before getting up and moving around, is called basal body temperature (BBT). The BBT of women increases by about 1°F during the 24-hour window after ovulation occurs. It is a result of the secretion of progesterone. Tracking the BBT can provide clues about the ovulation pattern from month to month, but this method is not perfect.
Changes in cervical mucus
Cervical mucus primarily consists of water. It changes in consistency during the fertile window due to the changes in the levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone and may provide clues about ovulation. The change in consistency of cervical mucus around ovulation helps transport sperm to an egg. During the fertile window, this nutrient-rich fluid increases in volume and becomes thinner, stretchy in texture, and clear in colour.
During the days when ovulation is closer, women may notice more discharge than usual due to increased cervical mucus volume. When they are most fertile, cervical mucus may help ensure that the sperm survives for at least three days but potentially up to 5 days. Thus, increasing the chances of conception and providing lubrication for intercourse.
Changes in Saliva
During or before ovulation, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone may alter the consistency of dried saliva, resulting in patterns forming. However, smoking, eating, drinking, and brushing the teeth may hide these patterns, making them a less reliable indicator of ovulation.
Other possible signs of ovulation
The other potential signs of ovulation include:
- Tender breasts – some women report breast tenderness or sore nipples at the time of ovulation.
- Bloating – some women feel bloated before and during ovulation. Since bloating occurs at other moments during their cycle, especially during menstruation, it is not necessarily a reliable indicator of ovulation.
When should a woman consult the doctor?
If a woman is looking to get pregnant, she must consider making a preconception appointment with the doctor to advise them on how to time the intercourse to increase their chances. The doctor can also identify any conditions causing irregular ovulation or other unusual symptoms. If women are not trying to conceive, the doctor can help them choose the method of contraception that best suits them.
What are the symptoms after ovulation?
After ovulation, a woman may experience a decrease in the discharge volume, and the appearance of discharge may be thicker.
Some women experience signs and symptoms of ovulation. They can include abdominal pain or cramps, bloating, cervical mucus and saliva changes, and breast tenderness.. However, pregnancy can happen up to 5 days prior and one day after women have ovulated. Many causes of infertility can be managed or treated .
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the duration of the fertility window?
The menstrual cycle’s ovulation phase typically lasts between 16 and 32 hours, starting with the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge and ending when the egg is released. Ovulation generally happens 24 to 48 hours after the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge.
Women can become pregnant before and after ovulation (the fertile window). The fertile window starts up to 4 days before the ovulation and extends for one day after the ovulation. Women are most fertile on the day before ovulation and the day of ovulation.
2. What are the fertility issues that women can have?
Irregular periods may often lead to irregular ovulation, or sometimes women do not ovulate. However, some women experience regular periods but may not ovulate. The doctor can order blood work and imaging tests such as a sonogram to try and determine if women are ovulating. If a woman plans to conceive, they must consider consulting the doctor before beginning to try because the doctor can help determine if there are any apparent reasons women might have trouble conceiving.
Fertility also declines with age. However, even young women can have infertility issues. They must talk with a fertility specialist if they have difficulty conceiving if:
- They are under 35 and unable to get pregnant within 1 year of actively trying
- They are over 35 and unable to get pregnant within 6 months of actively trying
3. What is the mood of women during ovulation?
Midway through the menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs. During this time, a woman’s body releases an egg, leading to a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels. A shift in these hormones may lead to physical and emotional symptoms in women. Also, the hormonal changes influence the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the mood, sleep cycle, and appetite. Women with low serotonin levels may experience feelings of sadness, irritability, unusual food craving, and troubled sleep.