All About Ovulation

So, there’s got to be some German word for that weird, specific cramp/ache/pain that only happens on one side of your body about a week and a half after your moon ends. Oh wait—there is. It’s called mittelschmerz, or “middle pain,” and it happens midway through your cycle during, yes-you probably-guessed-from-the-title-of-this-post—ovulation. 

The Science:
Unlike the follicular and luteal phases, ovulation is an event within the full cycle and occurs once estrogen levels have peaked (see: The Follicular Phase) and an ovary is signalled by the brain’s production of luteinizing hormone (LH) to release an egg. 

Each month, your two ovaries switch back and forth releasing an egg—which is why some people feel mittelschmerz on alternating sides of their body each month. Once the LH builds and an egg is released to the fallopian tube, there’s about a 12-24 hour window when fertilization by sperm is possible. If the egg becomes fertilized, it makes its way to the uterus. If not, it dissolves and, ultimately, your body sheds the built-up uterine lining with the start of your moon. 

The Experience:
The ovulation window within the full cycle is often accompanied by heightened senses like smell and taste, and elevated feelings, like optimism and confidence. If the follicular phase is when you’re nearing your most assured and hopeful, ovulation is when you’re peaking, and often when we feel our most socially and/or sexually energized, as well. 

For physical indicators of ovulation, look no further than your undies. Many women notice that their cervical mucus becomes clearer and thinner (many liken it to the consistency of egg whites.) And if, like us, you ordered a thermometer at the start of quarantine, you can use it to check your basal temperature, (your temperature when at complete rest). Many people find that it rises during ovulation. 

The Changes Over Time
Like your moon, ovulation can be influenced by changes in your daily life, from heightened stress to shifts in diet, changes in exercise, even travel. It can also change over time: it’s common for first mooners to ovulate irregularly, just as it is for women approaching menopause and those who’ve recently given birth.
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