When you think of discomfort during a cycle, you probably think of your menstrual period. But did you know that ovulation could be downright uncomfortable too? It may be more of a nuisance than you thought (that is, before you were trying to conceive). There are 12 signs and symptoms of ovulation, but not every woman will experience all of them. Fortunately, the uncomfortable ones fall into this category. Not every woman will experience them. They include:
- Breast tenderness – As the hormones in your body prepare for ovulation, they may cause some breast tenderness.
- Abdominal cramping – This is referred to as Mittleshmerz, from the German words for “middle” and “pain.” Not every woman experiences cramping during ovulation, but it varies among those who do. It may be mild to severe and last hours to days.
- Bloating – Estrogen can cause you to retain water. This happens during a menstrual period, but it can also happen when you are ovulating.
- Headaches and/or Nausea – Women who experience headaches or nausea during ovulation are usually sensitive to hormonal changes in the body.
- Light Spotting – Because of a drop in estrogen, some women experience light spotting when they ovulate. The estrogen drop causes some of the endometrial lining to shed, similar to when a woman has her period.
Sound similar to a menstrual period, right? For some women, it can almost feel like one. But there is a silver lining. If you do experience any of these symptoms, it is like your body is saying, “Hey, we’re ovulating.”
Here are some other common signs and symptoms of ovulation:
- Increased Cervical Mucus – When you are at your most fertile, your cervical mucus will increase and resemble raw egg white. This is often referred to as EWCM, or Egg White Cervical Mucus. It is usually at this point when you can see it from wiping with a tissue. If you do not see it, or if you are curious at any other part of your cycle, you can insert a clean finger into your vagina to check. After your period you may not notice any cervical mucus, then as you approach your fertile window you may notice your cervical mucus go through the following pattern: Dry, sticky, creamy, egg whites, watery, before drying up again.
- Basal Body Temperature Changes – Chart your body temperature first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. To do so, you will need to keep your thermometer, pencil and pad next to your bed. If you have an online tracking device, you may also use your phone or tablet, but be careful not to move around too much. You will notice your temperature remain rather steady until you ovulate. After ovulation, you will notice a spike of about 0.5 to 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Your temperature will remain elevated for the rest of your cycle.
- Cervical Position Changes – Your cervix actually moves and changes throughout your cycle, so you can tell whether you are fertile by its position and texture. When it is soft, high in the vagina, open and wet with cervical mucus, you are at your most fertile. When you are fertile, it is the opposite. So you can expect it to be hard (like the tip of your nose), lower in the vagina, closed and feel dry.
- Positive OPK Result – A positive result on an ovulation predictor kit can help tell you when you are preparing to ovulate. It works by testing Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels in your urine. These over-the-counter kits are useful, but because you must purchase them, they are the most expensive way to track ovulation.
- Saliva Ferning – If you look at your saliva under a microscope while you are ovulating, you will notice a pattern that closely resembles a snowflake. Be sure to check at other times in your cycle, so you can be certain of the difference.
- Heightened Senses – Have there been times in your life when you were sure you were seeing things more clearly (and not just in a spiritual sense)? You may have been ovulating. When you ovulate, your senses are likely to become heightened.
- Increased Sexual Desire – If you find yourself feeling a little more randy than usual when you are ovulating, do not worry. You are not alone. Many women experience this increased sexual desire at this point in their cycle. It makes perfect sense because it is the only time in your cycle when you can actually conceive.
In fact, women will only ovulate 400 times in a life time. It’s important to understand when this is so you can get the timing right.
Author Bio: Phil Druce founded Ovulation Calculator in 2014 with the goal of providing easy to understand, science backed knowledge and tools to couples trying to conceive. He was inspired to do this after his own fertility battle.