What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is an event that occurs around the middle of the menstrual cycle. When the preovulatory follicle is ready, it produces a notable rise in estradiol which stimulates an LH surge. About 10-12 hours after this surge, the follicle releases the egg.
The beginning of surge starts around 34-36 hours prior to ovulation and is a predictor for timing ovulation. This LH Surge stimulates a few key processes:
- Luteinization of the granulosa cells.
- The synthesis of progesterone.
- Resumption of development of the egg.
- Prostaglandin and Proteolytic enzyme are increased in response to LH and progesterone to help release the egg from the follicle.
- Once the egg has been released, there is a decrease in LH and FSH, and estrogen and progesterone start to increase.
During this process there are a few things to monitor which all indicate you are ovulating.
Cervical Mucous Changes
During a menstrual cycle, the cervical mucous fluctuates in its texture and volume. Around ovulation, one will notice that the cervical mucous volume increases and becomes like an “egg white” texture.
For those who track their basal body temperature, they will notice that the body temperature will increase slightly and stay elevated in the second half of the menstrual cycle.
LH strips or “ovulation strips” test for the level of LH in the urine. When there is an LH surge, it signals the time point right before ovulation.
Some women experience an increase in their libido during ovulation time. This happens during the most fertile part of the cycle.
Cycle monitoring is a process that follows the development of the ovarian follicles. This can be used to determine the health of a menstrual cycle and as a tool in preconception/fertility care. From a Naturopathic and TCM perspective this involves tracking a few things:
- Menstrual history: its regularity
- Ovulation Predictor Kits (LH strips)
- Basal Body Temperature
- Cervix: Mucus
Basal_Body_Temperature graphing can track the basal body temperature, cervical mucous/vaginal discharge, and menstrual regularity. Take your basal body temperature (BBT) first thing in the morning before you move. A typical graph will show a slight drop in temperature prior to ovulation, followed by a rise in about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
One will also notice that their cervical mucous around ovulation should be wet and slippery, similar to an egg white consistency.
Lastly, tracking will help you determine menstrual regularities or irregularities in terms of: length of cycle, flow volume (scanty to heavy), consistency (clots) or episodes of pain.