It is important for a woman to know that her ovulation corresponds to the phase of expulsion of the oocyte (egg) from the ovary, ready to be fertilized by a spermatozoon and finally give birth to an embryo.
A girl is born with 500,000 oocytes distributed in her two ovaries, most of which will disappear. Only 450 oocytes will mature and be expelled. After the age of 40, this reserve of oocytes decreases. Ovulation is a continuous normal process that begins at puberty and ends at the menopause, when the activity of the ovaries ceases and the woman no longer ovulates or menstruates.
But what do we call ovulation?
In the ovary, the oocytes are surrounded by follicles, a kind of small sacs. Each month, several follicles prepare to expel their egg, but one of them takes precedence over the others. It increases in size and undergoes many changes. This is the maturation process. Then, the dominant follicle releases its oocyte. And this is ovulation.
The hormones involved and their role
This phenomenon occurs under the effect of hormones secreted by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinising hormone) are the hormones that cause the follicle to mature and increase in size. When the follicle reaches its maximum size of 25 mm in diameter, it is visible on ultrasound as a small “cyst” on the surface of the ovary.
A strong secretion of LH causes the follicle to rupture and the egg to be laid. The remainder of the follicle becomes the corpus luteum, which remains in the ovary for the next 14 days and degenerates if a pregnancy does not occur.
The ovaries also secrete hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, which are involved in the anatomical and physiological variations of the female reproductive system during the menstrual cycle, which prepares the body for a possible pregnancy every month.
Symptoms of the ovulation period
- A few days before and during ovulation, the vaginal discharge is more fluid, brighter and more elastic than usual. This is because shortly before ovulation, the cervical mucus, which is secreted at the cervix, becomes more fluid and loose, due to the effect of the oestrogens secreted by the ovaries during the maturation of the follicle containing the egg. This phenomenon occurs to facilitate the passage of spermatozoa into the uterus and thus fertilization.
- On the day or hours before ovulation, women may experience cramps in the lower abdomen as the egg is being expelled from the ovary. This is called ovulatory syndrome and the pain may be intense but in any case brief. This may also be accompanied by a very slight loss of blood.
- Another body change is that the temperature rises above 37°C immediately after ovulation. This increase is due to the production of a hormone just after ovulation by the ovaries, progesterone.
The best time to be fertile
Once the egg has been released, it moves into the fallopian tube where it can survive for 12 to 24 hours. Sperm survival time varies from 2 to 5 days, but their optimal motility period is 48 to 72 hours, and the post-ovulatory mucus destroys the sperm within 2 to 3 hours. To optimize the chances of fertilization, it is therefore ideal to have sex for the first time at least five days before ovulation and to repeat it at least every 48 hours. However, having sex on the precise date of ovulation does not guarantee pregnancy 100%. Stay in touch with your doctor and check your fertility levels. Medimall experts can help you increase your chances of natural conception with their guidance and medical advice.
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