There are certain symptoms and signs, though at times subtle, that will tell you if you are ovulating. And since the ovulation time is the most fertile period to conceive, you can take steps to get pregnant or take precautions during sex to avoid getting pregnant.
The most prominent ovulation symptoms include lower abdominal cramps, breast pain and tenderness, changes in the cervical mucus, and changes in your basal body temperature.
Most of these physical symptoms in the woman occur due to the hormonal changes in the body, which take place to facilitate conception.
Some women ovulate with clockwise precision on the same day of the menstrual cycle while some women have slight variations in the ovulation day.
Not all symptoms may be present and their intensity also varies in women from month to month
Ovulation Symptoms and Signs
Ovulation discharge – Changes in cervical mucus
As your cycle progresses there is a distinct change in the cervical mucus or discharge. During ovulation day the cervical mucus volume increases and that is when you are wet. The discharge is clear, stretchable and slippery.
You can compare it to the white of a raw egg. You can feel this discharge by inserting a clean finger into your vagina and feeling the changes in the cervical discharge.
This change in the nature of the cervical mucus is to facilitate the movement of the sperm through the vagina and the uterus to the fallopian tube to greet the egg that is released during ovulation.
These changes in the cervical mucus are caused by increased estrogen levels and the LH surge. LH surge is the surge in the luteinizing hormone levels, which occurs during ovulation time.
Change in cervical position and firmness
During ovulation, the cervix moves higher and forward, it is softer and the cervical opening slightly increases and becomes moist to allow for the passage of the sperm. You can also feel this with your own fingers.
Ovulatory abdominal pain and cramps
Ovulatory abdominal pain or cramping occurs in about one-fifth of the women. This gastrointestinal symptom is a mild one-sided pelvic pain just inside the hip bone and can be felt as sharp twinges of pain or cramping and is very distinctive in nature.
The pain can occur just prior, during or just after the ovulation and about two weeks before the next menstrual period is due.
A right-sided lower abdominal pain will indicate that the right-sided ovary has released the ovum or the egg.
The duration of the pain varies and it can last for a few seconds, a few minutes or a few hours. Some women may experience pain for 24 to 48 hours.
This pain or symptom is called mittelschmerz. It is also referred to as the “ovulation pain” or the “midcycle pain”. In some women, this cramping can get worse with age.
Medicine isn’t sure what causes this pain, but it could be due to the rupture of the ovarian wall to release the egg.
Change in basal body temperature during ovulation
Most women have a consistent basal body temperature before ovulation. During ovulation day, your basal body temperature (BBT) increases by half to one degree Fahrenheit (one-quarter to one-half degree Celsius). To confirm this, it is necessary that you take your temperature every day during the menstrual cycle.
You will find a lower temperature before ovulation and a higher temperature just afterward with the highest being on the ovulation day.
This is known as the biphasic pattern. Basal body temperature is the lowest temperature attained by the body at rest (usually during sleep). It is measured immediately upon awakening.
At the beginning of your cycle, BBT is consistent and averages between 97.2 and 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit. As ovulation day approaches, there’s a slight fall in the basal body temperature followed by a sharp increase, typically of about 0.4 to 1.0 degrees, just after ovulation
Keeping a monthly chart of your basal body temperature will help to predict your ovulation day in the following month.
Increased sexual urge during ovulation
Ovulation time is also the time of increased sexual desire. You also look better and feel the urge to have sex.
The increased sexual urge is due to the surge in the luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen hormone levels during and just after ovulation.
This is confirmed by measuring the LH in urine. During the high sex phase, it is found that LH levels in urine are the highest.
The hypersexual desire phase or the increased libido phase lasts for six days and starts three days just before the hormone LH begins to peak. This happens just before ovulation.
Another possible cause is that the ovulatory changes increase the blood flow to the pelvic parts, which can increase the sex urge.
Breast tenderness during ovulation
Some women feel breast and nipple tenderness or soreness before but mostly after ovulation. This is due to the hormonal changes that occur during the ovulation period.
During ovulation, your saliva exhibits a ferning pattern, which looks similar to the frost on the window during a cold winter day.
This is seen by examining your saliva every day under the Fertile-Focus microscope during your menstrual cycle and as ovulation day approaches, the ferning pattern of your saliva becomes apparent.
the ferning pattern is due to the hormonal changes (increased estrogen levels) that take place before and during ovulation and cause an increased amount of electrolytes to appear in your saliva.
Night sweats and hot flashes
Some women experience night sweats and hot flashes, which are caused by the increased levels of the progesterone hormone and may occur during or immediately after ovulation. Women tend to ignore these symptoms or associate them with another cause.
Other symptoms include:
- Heightened sense of smell, vision, or taste
- Light spotting or bleeding
- Abdominal bloating due to gas
- Some women experience irritability, severe anxiety or panic attacks that coincide with ovulation. A temporary feeling of depression can also set in.
- Headaches of a migraine