What is ovulation? Ovulation is a process of the female body releasing a mature egg from the ovaries. It usually happens about 14 days before the start of the period and carries up to a few days which are considered to be the most fertile days of your cycle. During ovulation the hormones that play a role in the eggs release are- Luteinizing hormone (LH), Progesterone and oestrogen.
How does ovulation work?
To understand ovulation we need to understand the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle consists of four cycles:
The menstruation phase: This happens when the released egg from the ovaries does not get fertilized in the uterus and thus flows down in the form of blood during menstruation.
The follicular phase: This phase starts from the first day of your period and ends with ovulation. The active hormones in this phase are FSH and LH which help the follicles to ripen and ultimately one of the eggs get matured and prepare itself for the ovulation.
The ovulation phase: This phase is the shortest of all, which lasts for only 24 hours. In the stage the matured egg produced as a result of the follicular phase goes down through the fallopian tube to get fertilized.
The luteal phase: This phase is after the ovulation phase and before your next period starts. In this phase the follicle that released your matured egg produces a hormone that prepares the uterus for the implantation.
How will you know if you are ovulating?
There are significant signs and symptoms for ovulation in women. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Increase in sexual desire
- Increase in cervical mucus
- Softening and opening of the cervix
- Ovulation pain (usually not painful, some women report a cramp or sharp pain on their side)
- Decrease in sexual desire
- Decrease in cervical mucus
- Rise in body basal temperature
- Breast tenderness (several days after ovulation, may be mistaken as an early pregnancy sign)
Apart from this Ovulation predictor kits are also available. They are quite similar like pregnancy check kits. If your ovulation test is positive, it is the right time for you to have an intercourse.
Important ovulation facts:
- Usually ovulation releases one egg at a time, but in case of multiple releases the results are twins, triplets or higher.
- Women are born with all the eggs they should have, it is only with age that the egg quality and quantity diminishes.
- Ovulation increases the desire to have sex in both the partners.
- There is a difference between ovulating and menstruation, just because you are menstruating doesn’t mean you are ovulating.
- Ovulation can occur even if menstrual cycle has not occurred.
- Ovulation can be affected by poor health and illness.