What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the rupture of the dominant follicle to release a mature egg. There are many hormonal changes associated with ovulation, but the key event is a surge in LH (luteinizing hormone) triggered by the high levels of estradiol produced by the dominant follicle. This LH surge has many effects, leading to egg maturation and follicle rupture about 24-36 hours later. Estradiol drops shortly after ovulation, while progesterone rises as it is produced by the leftover follicle (corpus luteum).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
How long does the egg live?
The ovulated egg is viable for the next 24 hours to be fertilized by sperm! In the meantime, sperm can stick around for 5 days to get the job done.
How do you know if you are ovulating?
If you have a regular period each month, chances are you are ovulating. If you aren’t sure, over the counter ovulation predictor kits (opk) may help. These kits typically detect increased LH in the urine, i.e. the LH surge.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What are some other signs that you may be ovulating?
- Increase in basal body temperature due to the rise in progesterone (hard to measure!)
- Change in cervical mucus to allow sperm easier entry
- Pelvic pain associated with follicle rupture
- Breast tenderness due to the rise in progesterone
- Increased libido⠀
Understanding the menstrual cycle is key to understanding fertility and ovulation is a big part of that! If you suspect you are having ovulatory problems and are having a difficult time becoming pregnant, it may be time to seek the help of a professional fertility specialist.
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