All About Ovulation

Ovulation as the primary event in the cycle, hormone creation and how that helps everything in our body to function, herbs to support

When we talk about our menstrual cycles, the focus is usually on our period. It’s the most talked about (let’s be honest…stigmatized) and logistically disruptive part of the month to be sure. But, in reality, your period is somewhat of a non-event compared to the mid-cycle party that your hormones throw for ovulation. 

The menstrual cycle is divided into four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal. The menstrual phase is when you are bleeding. It is followed by the follicular phase when your body prepares to nominate an egg for fertilization. Ovulation is when, through a series of significant hormone changes, an egg is actually released from the ovary. The final phase is the luteal phase where the lining of your uterus is thickening, preparing to be a nest for fertilized egg if necessary. If the egg does not get fertilized, then you return to the menstrual phase where that lining is shed.

So, what’s so special about the ovulation phase?

Turns out that the ovulation hormone jamboree is actually quite a significant event. Think “New Year’s Eve” except instead of a ball dropping, it’s an egg. It also marks an end to one phase, the follicular, and the beginning of another, the luteal. Hormones are driving this change. For the first half of your cycle, your primary hormone was estrogen. According to Lara Briden, ND, known as The Period Revolutionary, estrogen “promotes muscle gain, insulin sensitivity, and the long-term health of bones, brain, and the cardiovascular system.” Ovulation is the time when estrogen diminishes and makes way for progesterone (pro-in support of, gest- gestation/pregnancy, so progesterone is the hormone intended to help support a pregnancy if the egg gets fertilized). Progesterone “reduces inflammation, regulates immune function, and supports thyroid, brain, bones, and breast tissue.” Women who do not ovulate do not get the protective and functional benefits of these hormones throwing that festive party every month. Talk about FOMO. 

Ovulation fun facts:
You are most creative during ovulation. Studies actually show that women have more creative, original ideas while ovulating. This could be because being creative is useful in attracting a mate, and your body is looking to fertilize the egg that has just been released. Hellooo, suitors! Watch my creative ideas unfold!

Is it a bit balmy in here? Your body temperature goes up. This is actually a really useful tool for when trying to conceive. In addition to an ovulation calculator, you can monitor body temperature to gauge when you are ovulating, or when there is an egg that is ready to get fertilized!

During ovulation, some women feel a “pop” as it is released. If you feel pain from this pop, the upside is you get to call it “mittelschmerz” which is German for middle pain (because it comes in the middle of your cycle). 

You’ll likely get a surge of energy. Your estrogen levels dip and progesterone levels begin to rise.

You should also note that you may have an “anovulatory” cycle (no ovulation) without being on hormonal birth control if you have other health concerns such as inadequate calorie intake, PCOS or high levels of stress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hormones have beneficial roles in the body beyond making babies
  • Generally, you will not ovulate while using hormonal birth control methods
  • Ovulation is an important body process with health benefits across all systems of the body

(anovulation and stress)