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Women’s Health and the Ovulation Cycle

When discussing the menstrual cycle, many people instantly think of a regular period as the main indicator of normalcy. But the part that comes before the shedding of the uterine lining plays an equally important role: ovulation. How does the ovulatory cycle affect women’s overall wellness, and why is it important we stay paying closer attention to it? Keep reading to learn more.

Ovulation is Critical for Women's Overall Health

What Happens During Ovulation?

Ovulation is when a woman’s ovary releases an egg. If this egg gets fertilized by sperm, pregnancy is likely to develop. If the egg remains unfertilized, it will shed with the uterine lining through your period.

But just like the rest of the female reproductive cycle, there are hormonal factors that also come with ovulation. Ovulation and progesterone are directly linked, and both are vital factors in a woman’s health.

After ovulation, the ovaries produce progesterone, the hormone responsible for fertility and pregnancy. Progesterone is made by the corpus luteum. If there isn’t enough progesterone produced by the body, infertility and miscarriage can occur.

Because ovulation is the key contributor to natural progesterone release, a lack of ovulation means a woman is missing out on essential hormone levels her body needs.

Listen to Georgie Kovacs, Dr. Jerilynn Prior, and Dr. Lara Briden discuss why ovulation is critical for women’s health: click here.

Ovulation and Anovulation

Just as estrogen, the “female hormone”, needs to be in balance for a healthy cycle, so do progesterone levels. Estrogen and progesterone imbalances are quite common today, affecting 50% of women. Each of these imbalances poses different symptoms, which you can read more about here.

Women need to understand anovulatory symptoms just as much as ovulatory ones. Each affects your cycle and overall health.

Signs of Ovulation

What are the signs of healthy ovulation?

  • Regular cycles (periods are consistently 28-31 days apart).

  • Rise in basal body temperature (BBT).

  • Changes in cervical fluid (it becomes an egg-white consistency).

  • Higher sex drive.

  • Ovulation pain (discomfort or a slight twinge in an ovary).

There are at-home ovulation tests and trackers that can help you determine ovulation. If you have irregular ovulation or periods, talk to your doctor.

Learn more ovulation signs and cycle tracking tips from Fempower Health.

Anovulation Symptoms and Signs

Anovulation is when an egg doesn’t get released from the ovary in a cycle, and a woman therefore skips ovulation. It’s normal for many women to experience an anovulatory cycle on rare occasions, but it becomes a health concern when it’s frequent.

Many health professionals assume anovulation only happens in women with irregular periods, but women can experience anovulation with regular periods without knowing it. It’s important for women to know the signs:

  • Heavy periods

  • Irregular periods

  • Absence of periods but no pregnancy

  • Lack of cervical fluid

  • No increase in BBT during predicted ovulation time

Since the rise of progesterone causes BBT to rise 0.5 to 1 degree Fahrenheit for a sustained period of time, tracking body temperature is one key indicator of ovulation (or lack thereof).

The Importance of Progesterone

Progesterone drastically impacts the regulation of bone density, sleep quality, tissue differentiation, metabolism, heart health, and more. It also works to counterbalance the effects of estrogen in the body.