First, what is ovulation?
Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases a mature egg. This egg will travel through the fallopian tubes. If you’ve had sexual intercourse within a few days before ovulation, the egg might meet a sperm cell. This can lead to pregnancy. If you haven’t had sexual intercourse or used a form of contraception, the egg will continue through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. Typically, the egg only lives for about 24 hours and will be shed along with your menstrual fluid during your period.
Tell me more about these eggs…
Your ovaries make and respond to hormones. These are the hormones that drive the entire menstrual cycle. Oestrogen is a hormone that tells the ovaries to mature some eggs to be released and fertilized. During the first half of your cycle, many eggs are maturing. There comes a point when one egg takes over and becomes the one to be released.
Once released from the ovary, the egg leaves behind a shell called the corpus luteum. This shell releases the hormone progesterone, which signals the uterus to thicken its lining to help a fertilized egg grow. Your hormones will change during this time based on if you become pregnant or not.
Do you ovulate every cycle?
No! This was a surprising fact for me to learn. Even if you have regular periods, you may not always ovulate. This is normal and is seen in healthy individuals. We might be writing an article all about anovulatory cycles (a cycle when you don’t ovulate) in the future, so let us know if you’d like to learn more!
You mentioned vaginal and cervical discharge changes with ovulation…
Lilypads has another blog all about vaginal and cervical discharge, so I’ll keep this explanation short and sweet. Keep in mind if there is a strong smell or a colour other than clear, white, off-white, you should keep track and tell your healthcare professional.
Vaginal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle is completely normal. It can vary from white and crumbly to clear and stretchy. During ovulation, you may notice more cervical discharge, which is the clear and stretchy kind. This is made to help sperm reach an egg. This is a great indicator of what part of the cycle you’re in and important to note.
What about pain with ovulation?
Some individuals may feel a “pop” or “twinge” during ovulation. For some, this escalates to be a painful, throbbing ache or a sudden and severe stabbing sensation (Hill, 2019, p. 128). Like we’ve said before, severe period pains are not normal. So please see a healthcare professional if this is something that impacts your daily life. Severe period pain during ovulation may be a sign of an underlying problem that can be treated.
So, I’ve noticed some spotting when I ovulate…
This is not very common and is thought to be due to the rapid change in hormone balances (Hill, 2019, p. 129). If this is normal for you, then it likely isn’t something to worry about. However, it’s important to track this and mention it to your healthcare professional during regular visits or if it changes/gets worse.
Is sex different around ovulation?
It can be! There are physical and hormonal changes happening that could impact sexual desire. It’s important to practice safe sex whether you want to get pregnant or not (don’t forget about STDs!). Remember, safe sex can always be had by yourself, #girlswanktoo.
- The cervix (the connection between the vagina and the uterus) is higher up during ovulation.
- This is so that sperm doesn’t have to swim as far to get to an egg.
- This could make deeper penetrative sex more comfortable compared to when the cervix is lower around menstruation.
- Cervical Fluid
- The slippery type of discharge that happens around ovulation helps the sperm get to the uterus. It can also help with lubrication for sex.
- Oestrogen and Testosterone increase
- Which may cause you to be thinking about sex more often.
- May aid in you feeling more confident and flirty.
I hope you learned some facts about ovulation, cervical fluid, and ovulation pain in this article. Ask below if you have any questions about this topic. Or you can share ideas on what we should write about in the future!
Hill, M. (2019). Period Power. Green Tree.
Karchmer, K. (2019). Seeing Red Tiller Press.
Written by Morgan Ludington
March 12, 2021
Edited by Lilypads