Ovulation – how to recognize it?

Ovulation(from the Latin term “ovum” – an egg) describes  a physiological process when an egg cell ready for being fertilized comes from the follicle into the abdomen. This process happens in women from puberty until menopause and interrupts only during pregnancy. Ovulation and pregnancy are two inseparable notions because when women are ovulating it means that their body is ready for conception.

Ovulation: Ready Yet?

This process repeats every 21-35 days depending on the length of the menstrual cycle and happens approximately in the middle of it. Usually menstruation starts 12-16 (average time line is 14 days) days after a woman’s ovulation.

Ovulation: Ready To Conceive

Pain during ovulationOvulation happens in the middle of the menstrual cycle. It’s signs might be moderate or pronounced depending on the individual aspects of every person. Among the ovulation signs are:

  1. painful feeling in the lower abdomen;
  2. increased sex drive;
  3. there is more cervical mucus;
  4. color of vaginal discharge might change.
  • Pain during ovulation

Not all women feel pain during ovulation or after it. According to the statistics, just one out of five women feel pain. You can feel pain during ovulation because of a small bleeding if a follicle breaks and small blood clots and follicle fluid come out together with the ovum.

  • Moderate pain during ovulation is normal.

signs of being ready to conceiveDuring ovulation pain usually resides in the lower parts of the abdomen. This is the place where the ovaries are located. Pain can be cutting, stabbing or cramping. It can continue for an hour, but some women experience it for one or two days. If the pain during ovulation is too intense, you should tell your gynecologist about it.

The ovaries work by turns:  one month a follicle matures in the right ovary, the other month – in the left one. That is why pain during ovulation can be felt either from the right or from the left side.

Gynecologists explain that pain during ovulation is caused by Graafian follicle which stretches the ovary walls. The pain is also associated with the fluid leaking out of the follicle. It stimulates the uterus and Fallopian tubes contractions, which also causes pain during ovulation.

  • Pain after ovulation – a rare case

If signs of ovulation cause you discomfort, you should contact the doctor. Pain after ovulation, for example a week before menses, might be a sign of the ovaries inflammation or other problems with your reproductive system.  Pain during ovulation, before or after it is not necessarily related to the exit of the egg cell.  Most of the gynecologic illnesses are followed by the pain symptoms of various quality and intensity.

  • Increased sex drive

Pain during ovulation usually affects the sex drive very little. Some people even notice it’s increase. This is the way for nature to give us a cue: ovulation has started and the possibility to conceive is very high. increase sex drive

  • Discharge during ovulation

If you are interested in the way to pin point ovulation, you should just keep an eye for your body:

  • discharges might begin a few hours before ovulation and continue up to 2 days;
  • discharges during ovulation become more fluid in comparison to the discharge before and after menses.

Fluid discharges are one of the signs to determine that ovulation has started and that pregnancy is highly probable. During this period they should resemble the white of the egg and should “spread” between fingers.

  • Change of the discharges color

Color of the discharges might be pinkish or reddish or sometimes even brownish and it will look like a small bleeding. Pay attention to the amount of blood: it should not be a lot. Uterus bleedings might be dangerous for your life, for example in case if the  uterine fibroid pillar is looped.

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The above mentioned symptoms follow to approximate days of ovulation. If the discharges became more fluid it does not necessarily mean that ovulation has passed.  

Ovulation cycle

  • From the 1st day of menses begins a follicular or menstrual phase. During this period several folliculi start growing in the ovaries.ovulation diagram
  • From the 7th day and up to the middle of the cycle goes an ovulation phase. During this time the main follicle becomes prominent. This is the Graafian follicle in which the egg cell matures.
  • On the 14th day of the 28-days cycle the ovulation takes place. On this day the Graafian follicle bursts and the mature egg cell comes out . Now it can become a source of a new life. This is the moment a woman can feel pain during ovulation. During the days of ovulation the egg cell moves to the uterus through the fallopian tube. According to various sources, an egg cell lives about 24-48 hours. However in reply to question about the duration of ovulation many young women say that they got pregnant during 5 days after they received positive results for LH test.
  • Starting from the 15th day a yellow body phase goes on. This is a period after ovulation and before the beginning of the next menses. Walls of the burst follicle close like a flower petals in the evening and start accumulating fats and lute in pigment, which gives them yellow coloring. The altered Graafian follicleis now called the yellow body, that’s why this period is called “a yellow body phase”.

The cycle changes:

  • during one year;
  • after giving birth;
  • during 3 month after miscarriage;
  • after the age of 40, when your body prepares for the menopause.

Absence of Ovulation

Ovulation and pregnancy are closely related, so absence of the first leads to impossibility of the second, which translates into inability to have children. However, even a healthy woman can have no mature egg cells in each cycle. Having two-three cycles of no ovulation a year is normal. The number of such periods will increase with your age.

anovulationHowever if you have four or more anovulations a year you should refer to your physician. As in cases when during ovulation a woman feels severe pain in the lower part of the abdomen, this might be a symptom of some endocrine and gynecological illnesses.

Absence of ovulation can be seen in case of:

  • pregnancy;
  • menopause;
  • your hormones dysfunction;
  • use of some medications.

If a woman desires to have a child, ovulation can be stimulated by specific hormonal medications.  But you should never attempt self-treatment in such case. Stimulation should be done under surveillance of an experienced doctor, who would perform medical examination, necessary tests and prescribe medications suitable for you.

Ovulation types:

  • timely;
  • premature;
  • late.

Causes of premature ovulation

Premature ovulation means that an egg cell comes out earlier than in the middle of menses cycle.  This might happen because of various reasons:

  • intense sexual intercourse;
  • physical stress (heavy lifting, exercises in the gym);
  • stress;
  • diet;
  • illness;
  • hormonal dysfunction.

If your cycle is unstable, it makes speaking of an early ovulation a bit difficult as your hormonal system works at an abnormal pace.

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Please note that premature ovulation can be caused even by stress. Nervous strain, attempts to lose some weight, illnesses that we sometimes do not even notice, – all these quite often can be a reason  premature ovulation.

Reasons of late ovulation

Sometimes due to hormonal dysfunction a late ovulation can happen. If you do not feel any abdominal pain in the middle of your cycle and suspect late ovulation, we advise you to have a folliculometry test. It’s an ultrasound examination of ovulation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days does ovulation last?

According to various sources, an egg cell “lives” for about 28-48 hours after it comes out of a follicular. This is the ovulation period. Your chances to get pregnant vary depending on the number of days (one or two) the ovulation goes on.

Ovulation: for which day should I plan to conceive?

Ovulation and pregnancyIf you are planning pregnancy, you should take into account the period of ovulation and length of a sperm life. After ovulation an egg cell lives just one day when sperm can live for 2-3 days. Considering this, sexual intercourse should take place not earlier than 2-3 days before and no later than 24 hours after ovulation to ensure conception.

How to avoid pregnancy knowing the day of ovulation (day of the cycle)?

Taking into account the fact of the premature and late ovulation, life cycle of some men sperm longer than 7 days and variety of other  reasons, the calendar method can be considered as safe way of contraception as an interrupted sexual intercourse (Pearl index for the calendar method is 14–38,5, where the same index for the interrupted sexual intercourse it is 12–38). Even if you usually feel pain in the lower abdomen during ovulation and can certainly say when it happens it would not save you from an undesirable pregnancy.

Is it possible to get pregnant during late or premature ovulation?

Yes, it is.

How does the ovulation test work?

Level of the lutenizing hormone rises in the middle of the menses cycle. Ovulation test is designed to determine its amount in the urine.

Taking this test is much easier than taking basal body temperature every day and drawing an ovulation diagram.  The test gives very high accuracy result in clinical trials – about 99%. Following the instructions you can accurately calculate the period most beneficial for conception. Though use of some medications might cause wrong results.

Usually the test contains 5 strips in air-proof packaging. Besides them you would need a clock.

As soon as you have noticed signs of ovulation, for example pain during ovulation, take the test to be sure it has passed. Application instructions for the test are usually written on the packaging. This test works the same way as the pregnancy test: collect your urine in a clean and dry container and dip the test-stick into it up to the indicated mark. You will know the result in 10 minutes.

How can I determine when the egg cell comes out using the basal body temperature diagram?

On which day does the ovulation takes place? This question bothers a lot of women: those who are not yet ready for appearance of a new family member and are taking precautions against an undesired pregnancy and those, who are dreaming of having a child.

basal body temperatureBasal body temperature rises at 0,3–0,6 °С during ovulation, and drops a little approximately a day before it. Taking your temperature every day and drawing a diagram you can learn about the beginning of ovulation a day before it.  Determining ovulation according to the basal temperature is an easy method, but it does not provide one hundred percent accuracy.

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During ovulation basal temperature rises a bit. You need to measure it in the morning at the same time every day, laying down in bed. You should use the same thermometer. To measure your basal temperature you need to insert it into your anus for about 5 minutes. Enter the measurement results into the ovulation diagram where you mark days of menses cycle and temperature.

From the beginning of menses and up to the middle of the cycle the temperature is lower than 37 °С. When an egg cell matures the temperature rises at a few tenth of a degree, but you will see it as a significant raise in the diagram. This is the ovulation period: a beneficial time to conceive a child if wish to do it and the most dangerous time if  do not yet plan to grow your family.

How does the calendar method work to determine ovulation?

To find out when the ovulation take place (on which day of the cycle) you need to count how many days pass since the beginning of one menses until the beginning of the other. Ovulation time falls upon the middle of the cycle give or take two days. This means that if 28 days pass from the first day of one menses until the beginning of the next ones, the ovulation would take place on the 14th – 15th day. If your cycle lasts 35 days it would fall upon the 17th-18th day after beginning of menses. During these days some women experience pain during ovulation and other signs described earlier.

Are there any ways to find out exactly on which day the ovulation takes place?

How to determine ovulation with 100% accuracy? There are two ways to do it.

  1. Ultrasound diagnostics: during this procedure the size and development stage of the follicular will be estimated as well as the time when it will burst and release the egg cell (when the ovulation will take place).
    2. Blood test for luteinizing hormone: this hormone is produced by the front lobe of your pituitary gland. It’s level in your body increases significantly before ovulation. This fact is also used in the drugstore ovulation tests.

Is it possible to get pregnant during the days after ovulation?

After the ovulation days the highest possibility to get pregnant remains during 24 hours  (according to some sources during 36–48 hours). If conception didn’t occur the egg cell dies.

How does my body know when to ovulate?

The hypothalamus gland sends a bodily hormone to the pituitary gland in order to get it started. The pituitary gland then releases a follicle stimulating hormone to the ovaries in order to tell it to get prepared. After that estrogen is released and travels through the bloodstream from the ovary to the pituitary gland. When receiving this the pituitary gland releases another hormone called luteinizing hormone which then sends a message to the ovary telling it to release the egg. The now empty follicle sends a message to the pituitary gland telling it to stop sending hormones to the ovaries.