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6 Minutes

Ten surprising (and crucial!) facts about ovulation….

Ovulation may seem like a simple thing. It is in many ways, but, did you know that there is no ‘normal’? That it can change from month to month and it can even indicate things about our health? It even changes as we age. We talk about the latest science and tech around ovulation and how understanding this, and your own individual picture, can be hugely powerful.

Ovulate

When we were all having babies in our twenties it was a much simpler picture. However, as we get older, we need to get smarter about our bodies. Ovulation is a wealth of information your own body. You just need to know where and how to look for it…

At The Journey we are all about the individual and helping you find out more about the unique points of your body. We firmly believe that knowledge is power. Ovulation is a prime example of this.

We have an in-depth interview and podcast with one of the leading experts on ovulation. Click here for article and here for podcast. However, if you’re tight on time here are ten pretty important things about ovulation which you may not know/need to know!

75% of people struggling to conceive have some form of ovulatory disturbance:

Knowing your own cycle can be a really powerful way to catch issues before they become ‘issues’. It can also be one of the main reasons why people struggle with fertility. Many people don’t know they have an issue until they try and understand their cycle. The good news is, once you know about it, you can do something about it!

There is no such thing as ‘normal’ ovulation: 

There is a common misconception that every woman has a 26-32 day cycle with ovulation roughly in the middle. This is where the day 14 for ovulation traditional understanding comes in. However, the Wilcox paper tells us there is no ‘normal.’ With around 17% ovulating earlier and up to 60-70% ovulating later than that.

Every woman is different and our cycles and ovulation can even vary each month:

Women with irregular cycles often ovulate at a different point in each cycle. Even women with regular cycles can have variability. When we live busy lives and try and ‘time’ conception this can cause us problems.  

Ovulation patterns can even indicate a potential issue: 

Our ovulation patterns can potentially indicate other conditions underlying which many of us are unaware of. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a prime example of this. Typically PCOS comes alongside late ovulation. Even more alarming is the fact that as many as 50% of women don’t know they have it! On the flip side short luteal phase (where there is a gap of 9 days or less between ovulation and your period) can contribute to implantation failure and miscarriage. So it is good to understand what’s going on. That way you can do something about it.

The most accurate way to gauge ovulation for every person is to look at core body temperature: which should rise 0.3-0.4 degrees Celsius for 3-4 days. 

There are so many ways to try and understand your own cycle. Apps, sticks, wearable tech. However, when it comes to the science by far the most accurate is to use core body temperature. This will capture the progesterone release and subsequent temperature rise as it happens. This is why it is 99% accurate. Ovusense is one company that measures this and is by far and away our favourite method. (No, not because we are paid to say this, but because it is what the science says is most accurate).

Other methods can be problematic: particularly if you have something like PCOS:

When you measure things like skin temperature, you are capturing a rise in temperature after it has happened. Of course your body does things like sweat to cool down and other factors like air conditioning etc can have an impact. It’s accuracy is around 89%. Even more crucial is the fact that the LH rise (which is what pee on a stick devices pick up) can be misleading and come at a different time to ovulation if you have PCOS for example.

Measuring LH surge (pee on the stick) can flag the wrong time if you have PCOS: 

If you have PCOS it is quite common for the LH surge to peak at a different point to ovulation. Often earlier than it actually happens. Pretty misleading! As a reminder, the LH surge should happen 12-24hrs before. The likes of Clearblue are open about this on their site. However, it is really important to know. You may also not have enough LH in your urine for a rise to be detected. It also doesn’t confirm if ovulation has actually happened. So, they are fine, as long as you don’t have any ovulation issues….

Ovulation can get later as we get older: 

On average we are getting older when we have children. So, we need to be smarter about our bodies. Another common occurrence is for ovulation to happen later as we age. Another reason to stay on top of what is going on. Particularly if you ovulate and then have your period in 9 days or less as that may indicate short luteal phase and can lead to issues with implantation and miscarriage.

What happens if I see short luteal phase or late ovulation? 

Late ovulation does not always mean there is an issue. That may just be your normal. However, it is worth speaking to your doctor if you are concerned. If you are noticing that you are ovulating and getting your period 9 days or less following this over a couple of cycles please speak to your doctor. They may give you progesterone supplements to correct this.

Your ovulation can indicate menopause is approaching: 

Another common misconception is that you’ll hit 45 and menopause will approach. This varies a lot between women. It is also highly hereditary so always worth knowing when your mother experienced menopause. Particularly if it was early. A slow and steady rise in core body temperature can indicate onset of menopause. Once again, if you are noticing this, over several cycles, particularly if you’re in your 20s and 30s please go and speak to your doctor. Your doctor will then investigate probably starting with an AMH test which will look at your ovarian reserve. 

All sounds very complicated and now you’re feeling anxious?!

We realise all too well that there is a fine line between lots of information making you feel empowered and more in control vs feeling overwhelmed. Trying to conceive can be a really anxious time. Click here for some tips to manage this. However, once you get to know your own body there is lots you can do. It’s actually pretty easy. Hopefully you will discover you pattern and realise you can relax – it is all good! Realising this can actually take the pressure away. If not, don’t worry, this means you can fix it. Lots can be done to get you back on the road to having a baby. You just need to know where to start!

Bottom line: key things to know about ovulation/knowing your cycle:

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

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Each month we will be giving away a curated box of goodies to suit the individual stage of your Journey, worth £100. To enter the draw and join us, enter your details below. Winner announced at the end of the month.

 

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