Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary once a month and moves down the fallopian tube for fertilization with a sperm. In which case, the uterine wall is already thickened for the preparation of the fertilized egg. However, if conception does not occur then the thick uterine lining as well as blood will be shed, and that is what is always referred to as menstruation.
Besides, only one egg is always released during ovulation and it lives for about 12-24 hours. In the case of fertilization, the implantation can take between 6-12 days after ovulation.
The ovulation cycle can be complex and different depending on each woman. But it is always divided into two parts, with the first part known as the follicular phase while the second half is known as the luteal phase.
The follicular phase often starts the first day of your last period and continues until ovulation while the luteal phase starts the day of ovulation until your next period. The luteal phase often has a precise timeline of 12-16 days from the day of ovulation.
This means that the day of ovulation will ultimately determine how long your cycle will be. But outside factors like stress and illness can disrupt and throw off your ovulation which can result in changing your monthly period.
Moreover, most women have a 28-32 days cycle while others have longer or shorter than this. You can always calculate your ovulation cycle from the first day of the last period or calculate 12-16 days from the next expected period.
But most women often ovulate on day 11 or 21 of their cycle that is if you are counting from the first day of the last menstrual period. And this is the most fertile time in a woman’s life as it increases the chances of getting pregnant. But it all depends on your cycle.
From the Menstrual to Ovulation Cycle
When your menstrual cycle begins, your estrogen levels are always low and that is when the hypothalamus sends out signals to your pituitary glands which then send out the follicle stimulating hormone, FHS.
The follicle stimulating hormone then triggers a few of your follicles to develop into mature eggs. After this, one dominant follicle will release a mature egg as the rest disintegrate. Follicles are the fluid-filled cavities in your ovaries.
The hypothalamus is always in charge of maintaining the levels of hormones in your body.
As the follicles mature they will send out another hormone, estrogen which will, in turn, send signals to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland informing them of the presence of a mature egg. This will lead to the release of the Luteinizing hormone, LH Surge, which will make the egg burst in the ovary wall within 24-36 hours. And this is what is called ovulation. The busted egg then makes its way through the fallopian tube to await fertilization.
The egg can live up to 24 hours while the sperm life often varies 3-5 days. This makes the days leading to ovulation and the day of ovulation the most fertile ones in a woman’s life. And this is when you are most likely to get pregnant.
There is also the follicle in which the egg was released, corpus luteum that releases progesterone for 12-16 days. The progesterone helps with thickening and preparing the uterine lining for implantation.
If an egg is fertilized, the corpus luteum will continue to produce more progesterone for a developing pregnancy until the placenta takes over. Your body will also start producing the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, HCG which keeps the empty follicles active. Besides, the estrogen and progesterone levels will also prevent the lining of the womb from being shed.
You can always start to look for pregnancy signals as early as a week after fertilization and test between 7-10 days past your ovulation dates.
But if fertilization does not occur the egg dissolves after 24 hours at which the hormone levels decrease and your uterine lining will begin to shed about 12-16 days from ovulation. This is menstruation and can last 4-5 days, taking you back to day 1 of your menstrual cycle.
Additional Information on Ovulation Cycle
The ovulation cycle is one of the most important aspects of the female reproductive system as it determines when you can get pregnant and when you cannot. It can be confusing and overwhelming for a few but once you get an understanding of it all, everything is very easy. You can easily know your safe and unsafe days for intercourse and if you want to conceive you can do so without having to jog up and down different fertility clinics
Moreover, you can always track your ovulation using some of the tech devices available in the market. Some include ovulation kits and fertility monitors as well as basal body temperature thermometer and a period calculator. Besides, there are always different ovulation signs and symptoms you can keep an eye for, some include breast tenderness, light spotting and abdominal bloating.
Conclusively, ovulation often produces one mature egg every month. And if it does not produce it menstruation can still occur. It can be painful at times and is often accompanied by abdominal bloating as well as lethargy. Besides, it can be associated with some diseases like cancer. But you can always seek medical assistance in case its symptoms persist.
Moreover, if you opt to use any of the emerging tech devices to determine when you are about to ovulate then choose an easier one like urine or saliva test kit monitors. You just urinate or put some saliva on any of them and read the results as stipulated on the user manual. This is because ovulation predictor kits like basal body temperature thermometers might require you to have several months of data before you can be in a position to determine your ovulation days and in turn your most fertile days.
You should also note that some of these ovulation test predictor kits can be affected by other external and internal stimuli in your body like weather and illness, same as ovulation cycle.