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How to tell if you’re ovulating and what to do if you’re not

Are you ovulating?

Do you know when you ovulate?

Knowing when you ovulate is important for fertility. It’s also just as important for healthy cycles which will impact the rest of your health. 

What does it mean?

  • If you’re NOT ovulating there’s a problem. This can be linked to: PCOS, high androgens, stress, thyroid dysfunction, high intensity exercise, too low carb or too low fat diets. 
  • If you ovulate too late, this causes a short luteal phase (second half of your cycle). This gives you less of a window to hold onto a pregnancy as this is when the uterus lining thickens to hold a baby. If fertilisation does occur, this may be be linked with early miscarriage. This can also be caused by stress, exercise, endometriosis, and the like. Another sign is if you have an early period. 
  • If you ovulate too early this indicates a short follicular phase. Thus the egg is not mature enough to be fertilised. This may also be associated with early menopause. 

How to tell if you’ve ovulated:

  • Cervical mucous: clear egg-white consistency that can be stretched between the fingers. 
  • Ovulation pain: you may feel a pulsing sensation or pain on the lower left of right side of your pelvic region. Note: it’s not normal for this to be painful and uncomfortable. This may be a sign of endometriosis.  But for some women it may be normal to “feel” something. This is always my tell-tale sign. I ovulated at 7.08pm last night! 
  • Temperature tracking: your body temperature drops right before egg release. Once you ovulate, your temp should spike .5-1 degree for the rest of your luteal phase (I use Kindara to track this). You must take your basal body temp at the same time each morning upon waking (try not to move around too much). Have a thermometer beside your bed. Do this 3 months straight to check consistency.
  • LH test strips (as featured in the photo): an easy at-home urine test strip. If you want to save money, bulk order them on eBay (I especially like to test twice per day which was evident yesterday when I had a negative reading in the morning, and positive at night)
  • Increased sex drive: a spike in testosterone will increase your libido (and make you realise why men are always ready to go more than we are! Because their testosterone spikes every morning)
  • You should also feel your most confident and switched on around this time. 

Note the point about exercise. Did you know women are better suited to different types of exercise at different times of the month. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen in clinic who have missed their period due to far too high intensity training.

Our physiology isn’t the same as males, thus trying to match our male counterparts in their gym goals may not always be the best thing for your body.

One reason is due to exercise increasing the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol will steal progesterone to be made. Thanks to evolution, your body favours the stress-response over being fertile. This is why stress can often be the biggest culprit to hormonal problems and infertility. 

But of course, not enough exercise may also impact your fertility. So it’s all about finding the right balance that’s not too strenuous. I advise women to aim for 4x 20 minutes per week when starting out. Then you may increase to 5x 30 mins per week. 

If any of these things mentioned are out of whack, it’s good to see your GP for tests and work with a qualified Naturopath to regulate your cycles. 

Three things to start doing straight away to support healthy ovulation

  • Reduce stress: meditation, reducing your work load or things that make you unhappy, and adopt gentle exercises like yoga or walking. Ensure you have two days off in a row each week. And make sure you take holidays!
  • Drink herbal tea: my Healthy Hormones and Calm Me tea are two great teas to start regulating cycles and supporting the HPA-Axis for a healthy stress response. 
  • Adopt a healthful diet that’s dairy and gluten-free, contains plenty of healthy fats such as salmon and avo, lots of high zinc-containing foods such as oysters and grass-fed meats, reduce sugar and processed carbs, alcohol, and increase an abundance of coloured plant foods. 

To take a deeper dive into your hormones using functional testing, investigative questioning, and have someone help you make sense of it all, feel free to book in your first consult with me through this link.

https://jwnaturopathy.as.me/

I’m available face to face in Geelong Wednesdays, or video consults Wednesday and Friday.

Feel free to post your questions or comments in the comment box.

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