5 Sure-Fire Signs You're Ovulating (and What to Do If You're Not)
When it comes to predicting your monthly hormonal changes, chances are you're aware of one major milestone: your period. After all, it's kind of hard to miss. But unless you're actively trying to get pregnant, you're probably not paying attention to ovulation, another big event. You might have a vague idea of when it's supposed to happen - around the 14th day of your cycle — but that rule of thumb doesn't always apply to every woman, and sometimes ovulation occurs outside of that mid-cycle point. And in other cases, it doesn't happen at all.
Regardless of whether you want to have a baby now or ever, it's important to get familiar with ovulation and understand how recognizing if and when it's happening can give you important clues into hormonal symptoms ranging from missing periods to mood swings.
Why Ovulation is Important for Your Health ~
You probably already know that ovulation is essential to fertility and conception. But it's crucial for so much more than motherhood. If you're not ovulating, it means your body's not producing enough progesterone, and low progesterone (and the resulting estrogen dominance) is at the root of so many hormone-based health issues including PCOS, fibroids, and ovarian cysts.
Ovulating on a regular schedule means having:
- Regular cycles
- Lighter periods
- Less PMS symptoms like mood swings, acne, bloating
- Boosted libido
- Less anxiety or depression
- Long term good health and longevity — avoidance of cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis
The Signs of Ovulation ~
Ovulation shouldn't be a mystery — your body should be giving you clear and obvious signs that it's happening. Sure, you can purchase a slew of kits, tester strips, and other products to tell you what's happening, but if your hormones are in balance and you're tuned into what's happening, you should be able to feel a shift in your body, from a shift in sex drive to a switch in energy. Here's what to look for:
~ Cervical fluid. Paying attention when you use the bathroom can give you some important information! Check your panties or look at the toilet paper after you wipe — are you having discharge? Cervical mucus or fluid changes throughout your cycle, and when it starts to have the consistency of egg whites — meaning it's stretch and clear — you're at your most fertile and likely ovulating. It makes perfect sense; this consistency of cervical fluid helps the sperm travel to meet your egg, so if you're trying to have a baby, your body's doing the right thing!
~ Sex drive. If you're feeling particularly frisky, you might just be ovulating. That's because your testosterone levels peak around this time, boosting your interest in sex. Again, it's a smart way your body is ensuring you do all the right things to have a baby.
~ Energy. I love entering my ovulation phase every month because it means I have boundless energy and stamina, making everything from socializing to working out way more fun and effortless! If you're feeling particularly vibrant and communicative, you might just be ovulating.
~ Basal body temperature. Charting your basal — or resting — body temperature when you first wake up in the morning can give you great information, especially if you regularly take anti-histamines or don't produce much cervical fluid to observe. Understanding your patterns and how your body temperature rises and falls over the month can help you know when you ovulate.
~ Symptoms. Some women experience symptoms around their ovulation which are a lot like period problems, including spotting, bloating, acne, and pain (known as mittelschmerz). These are the kind of ovulation signs you really don’t want! There are ways to fix this naturally though and it’s all to do with making sure you’re producing enough progesterone and estrogen in balance.
If none of these signs sound familiar, that's okay; it means you're experiencing some menstrual irregularities and you need some help figuring out where your body's at until you get your hormones back in balance. Until then, checking your basal body temperature can be an excellent way to know if you're ovulating, and it can help you start rebuilding your relationship to your body's internal cues.
If You're Not Experiencing Any Signs ~
If you've recently been sick, under stress, traveling, or taking certain medications, you might experience an anovulatory cycle, meaning a cycle with no ovulation. That's because your body perceives these stressors as signs that you probably shouldn't be getting pregnant, so it protects you from that possibility. It's pretty cool like that! Although a one-off anovulatory cycle is not ideal as you’ll likely experience the resulting symptoms from low progesterone of PMS, heavier bleeding, and cramps, it does happen occasionally.
However, if you’re experiencing multiple cycles without ovulation signs you need to take a really good look at your diet and lifestyle and consider making some changes to support your body. Your body wants to ovulate, it needs to ovulate, and consistent ovulation every cycle is going to ensure you feel at your best and avoid hormonal symptoms.
Why You're Not Ovulating ~
A lack of ovulation signs can indicate a number of issues, but you can remedy them all naturally and effectively by eating the right foods and switching up parts of your lifestyle:
- Blood sugar irregularity. Our endocrine system relies on your blood sugar staying in stable stasis without any crashes or too many peaks. Your body will read mismanaged blood sugar as an internal stressor and the first thing to go when your body is under perceived pressure is ovulation.
- Sleep deprivation. Even just a few nights of bad sleep blocks the hormone melatonin and increases the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Of course, a lack of sleep can be linked to stress or anxiety and become something of a loop of ovulation-suppressing issues.
- Adrenal fatigue. If your adrenal glands are overexerted, they'll create cortisol which can disrupt progesterone. That's because your body starts to use progesterone up as a cortisol substitute when you're stressed. Low progesterone levels prevents ovulation and makes miscarriage more likely.
- Thyroid problems. A sluggish thyroid is a big root cause of anovulatory cycles.
- PCOS. The central symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome is lack of ovulation, irregular cycles and missing periods.
- Low BMI. Having low enough body fat can not only suppress ovulation, but can also stop your period. Maintaining a healthy weight, and eating the right quantity of calories and fats is key to a healthy cycle.
If you’re not experiencing the signs of ovulation, don't wait until you want to get pregnant to do something about it. I recommend you start to support your body in ovulating regularly and consistently — every single cycle — immediately, starting today, and I guarantee you'll see and feel immediate benefits. Ovulation is about so much more than making babies and I want you to feel how powerful ovulation is in shifting your verbal, social, and sexual self! Not only that, but consistent ovulation ensures a symptom-free, healthy, happy whole menstrual cycle and a perfect period.
If you’ve got other period related symptoms that are confusing you, find out your Period Type to learn more about the causes of your symptoms and what to do with food to fix them!
*image via here