Searching 'what does ovulation mean'? 8 simple signs to help you understand

Catriona Harvey-Jenner, Ally Head
·4-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Unless you're actively trying for a baby, it's likely you'll be completely oblivious as to when you're ovulating. Some people might not even know what it means, in fact.

Sure, some of you may be aware of some of the indicators of ovulation, like thinner discharge, a rise in body temperature, irregular bleeding, like spotting, and abnormal bloating. But, did you know? There are also some more surprising side effects you likely don't know about.

If you've been Googling, 'what does ovulation mean' and still have only a vague idea, let us help. We've spoken to GP Dr Tatiana Lapa, who's not only explained what the most common symptoms of ovulation are, but further detailed what exactly ovulation means. Time to go back to basics.

What does ovulation mean?

In the simplest terms, ovulation is the term used to describe when an egg (or sometimes multiple eggs) are released from your ovaries. Tatiana explains that the egg travels down your fallopian tubes and hangs about for a few days, waiting to be fertilised. It's your most fertile time of the month, and it usually occurs about 12 to 14 days before your period starts.

The NHS website says the same, further adding that you're at your most fertile within a day or two (either side) of ovulation. Fun fact: you don't have to have sex on the day of ovulation. Sperm can survive in your body for up to seven days after sex.

"If you want to get pregnant, having sex every couple of days will mean there are always sperm waiting to meet the egg when it's released," the site advises.

Then keep reading for everything you need to know. And yes, apparently being hornier is one...

8 signs you may be ovulating

1.You may feel pain

Most people think you just get cramps during your period or slightly before it, but ovulation can be painful, too. The process where your egg releases can cause pain (from mild twinges to full on cramps) similar to period pain. This process is called 'mittelschmerz' and is generally felt on one side of the abdomen, depending on which side of your body your egg is being released from, explains Lapa.

2. You may have vivid dreams

While the old wives’ tale about eating cheese before bed may not be true, ovulation has been shown to give women crazy dreams. Studies have linked changes in body temperature with how scary or vivid dreams are, Lapa shares. A woman’s temperature generally rises half-way through the monthly cycle, around the time of ovulation, which could cause negative, vivid or unusual dreams.

Photo credit: Hulu
Photo credit: Hulu

3. You may feel hornier

The increase in the testosterone hormone also increases libido and the chances of getting pregnant, Lapa reckons.

4. You might feel impulsive

Finally, science explains your shopping habits. As you move towards ovulation, your body releases the desire hormone, testosterone. This can increase your libido, and combined with oestrogen, improve assertiveness and confidence.

While this can be great if you’re tackling something huge like a new job, it can also make you more impulsive, especially when it comes to your love life, food and shopping. Be warned.

Photo credit: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Photo credit: Confessions of a Shopaholic

5. You may be meaner

It’s not only premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that spins our bodies out of control. A study by The University of Texas found that women were more inclined to act more meanly, selfishly and competitively with other women during ovulation. At the same time, they were also nicer to men, Lapa explains.

6. You may be more assertive

As you move towards ovulation, your body releases the desire hormone, aka testosterone. This, combined with oestrogen, improves assertiveness and confidence, according to Lapa.

Photo credit: Giphy
Photo credit: Giphy

7. You may feel sexier

Along with feeling more assertive and confident, the mixture of hormones released during ovulation makes women feel a lot sexier. Research from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management showed that women were more likely to buy sexier clothes while ovulating than at any other time of the month. According to Lapa, scientists believe this could subconsciously be to attract the best romantic partner.

8. You may get a cold

Studies have found that during ovulation, women’s immune systems become weaker and more open to infection. This is because the increase in the oestrogen hormone lowers the activity of a key immune system molecule, which allows sperm to to survive for longer in the reproductive tract, Lapa explains. The downside to this is that germs can survive for longer too, leading to an increase in the likelihood of getting a cold.

What are the signs ovulation is over?

In short, it's quite difficult to know. Some women can tell as they don't experience the thinner discharge mentioned above. Normally, the mucus coming from your cervix is white, thick and creamy. Doctors sat that, when you're ovulating, cervical mucus is stereotypically much clearer.

Other than that, as per the NHS website, regularly tracking your cycle and using ovulation trackers are two of the most reliable ways to know.

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