The female body is a complex maze of organs, hormones, bones, and more. Its many fluctuations can make it difficult to understand just what’s going on inside, especially when it comes to your reproductive health.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. We’re here at Intimina to help shed some light on the female reproductive system so that you can make informed and empowered decisions about your health. One way we do this is by answering the random questions that pop into your head like “Does this happen to anyone else?” and “Is this normal?”
When it comes to ovulation, people tend to have a whole lot of questions and unknowns. To clear up mysteriousness of ovulation, we’re going to uncover eight weird things that happen when you ovulate!
What is ovulation?
Before we get into the weird wonderland of ovulation, let’s have a quick refresher about what it is exactly. To put it simply, ovulation is the time during your menstrual cycle where you’re fertile, or could become pregnant.
Ovulation typically occurs about 14 days before your next period, in the case of an average 28-day menstrual cycle. Ova, or egg cells, are stored in the ovaries, which extend from the fallopian tubes branching off each side of the uterus.
During ovulation, one (sometimes more) of your eggs is released into your fallopian tubes, where it waits for fertilization. If an egg is fertilized by sperm, you become pregnant, if it doesn’t then your body reabsorbs it and you go on to get your period.
A lot of weird things can happen to your body during your 12-24 hour ovulation window. Here are a few of them:
1. Your body temperature changes
During ovulation, your body experiences a slight increase in temperature, about 0.5 to 1 degree. After ovulation, the body release the hormone progesterone, which causes this change in temperature.
This change is typically too small to be detected by a normal temperature, which is why people use basal thermometers to help track ovulation and fertility. Your basal body temperature is your body’s temperature at rest, and these special thermometers can detect slight changes that may indicate ovulation has occurred.
2. Your cervix changes
Your cervix is a doughnut shaped organ that separates your vagina from your uterus. Not only does it play a vital role during vaginal birth, it’s also experiences changes during ovulation.
Estrogen levels in the body typically rise during ovulation. These higher hormone levels can cause the cervix to get pulled up further into the body, making it harder to reach with a finger, penis, or toy. It also tends to become more soft and moist, making it easier for sperm to enter the uterus.
3. You may experience pain
Have you ever experienced abdominal pain around the time of ovulation? Then you may be experiencing Mittelschmerz, or ovulation pain.
About 40% of menstruting people experience this pain every month during ovulation. While it may seem worrisome or uncomfortable, this benign pain can be caused by the follicle stretching and/or the egg bursting through the follicle during ovulation.
Not everyone who gets it experiences it every month, and they may not realize it’s because of ovulation. Ovulation pain can also be mistaken for acute appendicitis.
4. Your senses can become heightened
What’s that smell? You could be a little more sensitive than usual during ovulation. This can affect your vision, olfactory senses (smell), touch, and taste. Researchers found that this could be due to changes in gray matter volume and thickness in the brain.
Other researchers found that changes in your sense of smell during ovulation may be particularly sensitive to male pheremones. Not that every person who menstruates is attracted to people with male pheremones!
5. You may feel more creative
Scientists hypothesize that creativity may have evolved as a way to signal mates. Other studies have found that people who mensturate can be more creative during peak fertility, aka ovulation.
Creativity can come out in subtle ways. It could look like having more freeflowing conversations, having more ideas at work, or feeling more motivated to engage with your hobbies and passions.
Another part of creativity is most people tend to feel more energized during ovulation than other parts of their cycle. It’s easier to get your creative juices flowing when you have the energy to do so.
6. Your voice might change
Sex hormones help dictate changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Researchers have found recepetors for these sex hormones on an unexpected place – your vocal folds.
This suggests a link between hormonal changes and fluctuations in your voice. menstruating people who are not on hormonal birth control have displayed a higher minimum pitch in their voice during the late follicular phase of their cycle, which ends with ovulation.
7. You have a rosy glow
You may have heard or noticed that people have a certain glow to them when they’re ovulating. This is again, due to hormones.
Primate species, including humans experience red facial coloration as a social clue, what we know as blushing. The hormone estradiol can cause blood vessels to dilate (vasodilatory), which can cause ovulating people (and primates) to have a sort of rosy glow during their fertile window.
8. You can breathe more easily
If you have asthma, you’re gonna want to hear this. Asthma affects about 9.7% of women and AFAB (assigned female at birth), and only 5.5% of men and AMAB (assigned male at birth) individuals.
Hormones may play a role in asthma as well. Researchers found that people with asthma experienced reduced symptoms around ovulation. On the other hand, about 19-40% of ashmatic women have PMA (perimenstrual asthma). This can cause worsening asthma symptoms before they get their period.
Your body is awesome
We want to clarify that just because we used the word “weird” doesn’t mean your body is abnormal or doing something wrong. You’re just out here being human and ovulating. All of the things on this list are within the realm of normal.
If you do have any questions about ovulation, menstruation, fertility, or your body as a whole, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or gynecologist.