Struggling to ovulate is an unfortunate problem many women face. Studies show that approximately 30% of women of child-bearing age experience issues with ovulation.
While it’s nice to know that you’re not alone in your issues with ovulation, we understand that doesn’t fix the problem. So what does? What will help you ovulate?
This article will dive into the truth behind that question and others that are key to your fertility.
Before we get into the details, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as a “strong” or a “weak” ovulation. Either you ovulate or you don’t; either the egg gets released or it doesn’t.
But, read on to learn more about ovulation and how to improve your chances of releasing the egg and having natural ovulation.
Can you naturally increase ovulation?
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if you’re looking to naturally increase ovulation, you can’t. There is really no way to directly hack your body to increase your ovulation or bring about multiple eggs to be released.
However, don’t lose hope. We have some good news. There are some ways you can indirectly increase your chances of ovulation. And those ways are primarily focused on shifting your lifestyle.
That’s easier said than done, so keep reading to find out more detailed information about how you can improve your lifestyle to increase the likelihood that your body will thank you by naturally increasing ovulation.
We know some of the terminology like “boosting,” “increasing,” and others can throw people off and leave them scratching their heads. But, we’ve got your back.
Let’s go over some of these terms together so we can ensure we are all on the same page before fully diving in.
- Increasing chances of ovulation – These are methods you can use so that you are more likely to release an egg during your monthly cycle. They include things like living a healthy lifestyle and fixing problems that stop your eggs from being released. These methods help to increase your chances of ovulation naturally.
- Boosting ovulation – This includes ways that help your body release higher quality or a greater quantity of eggs during ovulations. This includes medicine that doctors can give to help stimulate your ovaries to release more eggs. These medications help your ovaries to release multiple eggs simultaneously during ovulation. This is mostly done during IVF treatments to boost the number of eggs for increasing the chances of a positive fertilization.
- Ovulation frequency – This refers to how often a woman releases an egg during her monthly cycle. This typically happens once per cycle, but some women may release multiple eggs at a time during one cycle. However, this is very rare.
Now, let’s start with the basics.
What is ovulation?
You’ve heard the term “ovulation,” but are you one of the many women (and men, too) who isn’t sure exactly what it means?
We’re here to help.
Ovulation refers to the part of the menstrual cycle when an egg is released from the ovary.
Once ovulation has happened, the ruptured follicle starts producing progesterone. This, in turn, thickens the lining of the uterus, which prepares your womb for pregnancy.
If there is sperm and an egg in the fallopian tube, then fertilization happens, which tells the egg to go to the uterine wall to get ready for implantation.
But, if fertilization doesn’t happen, then the body responds by decreasing estrogen and progesterone. This results in the shedding of your uterine lining, and that’s when you get your period.
So when does ovulation happen?
This part of the cycle usually happens around day 14 of a 28-day cycle, but the timing of this release can vary.
A study found that 69% of women have cycles that can vary by six days, so this part of the menstrual cycle doesn’t happen like clockwork.
Ovulation typically occurs 12-14 days before your next period.
Why can ovulation timing vary?
You have your changing levels of hormones to thank for that. While something like releasing an egg from your ovary sounds like it may be a fairly straightforward process, it’s actually quite complex – there are multiple different hormones involved in the release.
- The prerequisite to ovulation is your follicular phase, and this is when estrogen levels rise, resulting in the growth of your uterine lining.
- Increasing estrogen levels trigger your body to produce more luteinizing hormone (LH).
- This, in turn, signals your body to release the egg from the ovary.
- And there you’ve got it – ovulation!
Ovulation is what sets the stage for pregnancy. Once the egg is released, it moves down the fallopian tube and stays there for 12-24 hours, where it can be fertilized by sperm. (Note that sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to five days after intercourse.) This marks your fertile window – four days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and one day after ovulation.
So, if your body skips ovulation, you cannot get pregnant.
Are you sure you’re ovulating?
Though it is your body, as you can see from the above, quite a bit happens at once during your menstrual cycle, and it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on inside with your reproductive health.
That raises the question of how you know whether you’re actually ovulating.
There are some signs to look out for to determine whether you’re experiencing ovulation. These ovulation symptoms include:
- Increased sex drive
- Heightened sense of smell
- Higher cervix position
- Soft and open cervix
- Cervical mucus (stretchy and very wet)
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Increased basal body temperature (BBT)
However, it is rare for women to experience all of the above ovulation symptoms. And, if you do experience the symptoms, it can be hard to tell whether it’s due to ovulation or something else.
Thus, it’s crucial to track your hormone levels so that you know for sure whether you are ovulating.
That’s where Inito shines.
While other ovulation tests predict your fertile days by tracking your estrogen and LH, they fail to take into account the measurement of the hormone that confirms your ovulation: progesterone metabolite PdG.
Inito, on the other hand, makes monitoring your ovulation and fertility easy and accurate.
With just one strip, you can see your levels of LH, estrogen metabolite E3G, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and progesterone metabolite PdG to confirm your ovulation.
Ways to increase your ovulation
If you’ve measured your ovulation and the results show that you are not ovulating, chances are good you’re feeling frustrated and looking for how to increase your possibilities of ovulating.
Read on to learn some natural ways with which you can increase your chances of ovulating.
Natural ways to increase your ovulation
As we shared above, there isn’t really a way to directly and naturally increase ovulation – the body doesn’t quite work like that.
However, there are some ways that you can improve your lifestyle, which can support your hormonal health.
Here are some lifestyle factors you can adopt to help your body be in a state that makes it more likely to ovulate.
Improve your diet
A healthy diet is the secret to solving many health-related problems, and ovulation is among them. Though a healthy diet won’t guarantee an increase in ovulation, a healthier diet can increase your chances of actually ovulating.
So, what do we mean by “healthy diet?” We basically mean one that is well-balanced, has all the essential nutrients, and stays away from foods that are known triggers for anyone and everyone’s bodies (we are looking at you, processed sugar).
Though there is no real “fertility diet” or designated “fertility foods” that guarantee results, there are some fertility-friendly foods that may help to induce ovulation naturally. They include:
- Organic, clean animal protein
- Organic, fresh fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, and other monounsaturated fats)
- Variety (don’t eat the same thing every day – switching it up is good for your body)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (fish)
And here are some foods you should stay away from if you’re looking to keep your hormones balanced and increase fertility:
- Processed sugar – Excess sugar may cause hormone levels in women to become imbalanced. It’s important to note that sugar once in a while won’t harm, but regularly including it in your diet may.
- Refined carbs – This form of carbs may lead to higher estrogen levels.
- Gluten. Gluten causes inflammation in the body which affects hormone imbalance.
- Unhealthy fats (we’re looking at you, trans fats) – Studies show that even 4 grams of trans fats a day have a 73% greater chance of developing issues with ovulation than those who ate those calories as carbohydrates instead.
- Fat-free items – They have just replaced fat with sugar or other processed foods. Processed foods of any kind are typically just packed with sugar, which can lead to hormone imbalance when consumed in excess.
- Processed meats – These types of meats are loaded with hormones and other chemicals that can throw the body off.
- Excessive caffeine – Caffeine can decrease estrogen levels and throw off hormone balance.
- Excessive alcohol – Alcohol disrupts a female’s menstrual cycle and makes it harder to conceive.
If you have PCOS and are looking to induce ovulation naturally in PCOS, then you may want to try a low-carb diet or maybe just a diet that comprises complex carbs as opposed to refined carbs. Studies show that you may be able to reduce PCOS symptoms with a low-carb diet. Though this won’t guarantee your ovulation, it will increase your chances of it happening despite your PCOS diagnosis.
Maintain a healthy weight
Did you know that your body mass index (BMI) can affect your fertility?Studies show that there is a direct link between BMI and fertility in females. That’s because body fat can affect hormonal balances that are key to fertility including estrogen, FSH, LH, progesterone, and androgens.
Because every woman’s body is different, there is no exact BMI that’s optimal for female fertility. However, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy, so you’ll want to aim for keeping your BMI somewhere in that range to increase your chances of boosting fertility.
So, if your BMI is not in that healthy range, what should you do?
- If you’re underweight. Aim for healthy weight gain. That doesn’t mean loading up on candy and pizza, but rather adding more healthy protein to your diet in the form of eggs, nuts, and more.
- If you’re overweight. Aim to lose even just a little bit of weight. By eating a healthy diet (including the foods we mentioned above) and working out regularly, you increase your chances of losing excess weight.
It doesn’t just end here. BMI is but one factor that can influence your ovulation. Body fat is a more pronounced marker of healthy ovulation.
Your body needs a fat content of 22% for maintaining regular cycles. Body fat comprises visceral and subcutaneous fat. The hidden fat that lines your internal organs deep inside your body is visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that is stored under your skin.
The fat distribution pattern causes an increase in androgens and LH causing delayed ovulation.
Studies show that visceral abdominal fat is linked to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. This can result in irregular cycles. However, subcutaneous fat is the one to be blamed when it comes to dealing with anovulatory cycles.
Exercise regularly, but not too much
It’s no secret that exercise is important to anyone looking to optimize their overall health. But, if you are a woman looking for natural remedies to get pregnant fast, you may want to turn to exercise to help.
Studies show that regular exercise increases a woman’s chances of success with fertility treatments than those women who are not as active.
Regular exercise looks like a little bit of movement every day. No, we aren’t talking about spending an hour at the gym every day.
Here are some exercises that you want to incorporate into your daily life (you only need to choose one per day):
- 30+ minute walk
- Other low-impact workouts
For women who are struggling with their ovulation and hormones, it’s best to stay away from doing a lot of heavy workouts.
Studies have shown that exercising for more than 60 minutes with heavy workouts can increase the risks of anovulation.
So, pace yourself and exercise for about 30 minutes daily to maintain a healthy body weight.
One of the most important things you can do for your overall stress, but especially as a woman looking to increase her ovulation, is to reduce stress in your life.
We know – it’s much easier said than done. Stress seems to creep in at the worst times, and can be quite difficult to manage. It’s easy to even get stressed about being stressed, which only makes matters worse for you and your reproductive system.
But, studies show that stress can seriously affect your hormones, which in turn, affects your ovulation. Stress increases cortisol levels and decreases progesterone levels. This can in turn cause an estrogen to progesterone imbalance resulting in estrogen dominance.
Some of our favorite ways to reduce stress include:
- Breathwork. There are some great guided exercises available online that are for novices and pros alike.
- Meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi or a guru to meditate. And you also don’t have to sit for an hour in complete silence. Even 5 minutes of meditation can have a big impact on your stress levels.
- Support groups. You may feel lonely in your struggles with fertility, but you don’t need to be alone. It can help to connect with other people who are on the same journey and be a part of support groups that share their tips and stories. Join our Facebook community to connect with other women in your shoes.
While prenatal vitamins will not increase your fertility, they can help you experience a healthy pregnancy and also may be able to reduce your chances of miscarriage.
Medicated ways to increase your ovulation
The above natural options are great for getting your body and mind into a more healthy state that increases its chances of ovulating.
However, you may find these lifestyle changes don’t work, or you may want to take a more medical approach to your fertility issues. And, there are some options out there for you to regulate ovulation.
- hCG, Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is nicknamed the pregnancy hormone because it rises quickly once you become pregnant, and serves the purpose of triggering your body to produce more estrogen and progesterone.
These three hormones together are what send the signal to your body to stop menstruating during pregnancy.
hCG injections help with the final maturation of the egg during ovulation and trigger the ovary to release the egg in case of IVF or IUI procedures. This helps you ovulate and increases your chances of getting pregnant.
Talk to your doctor more to learn about whether these hormones may be right for you.
- Clomiphene citrate. Another way to induce ovulation is to take the most commonly used fertility drug, Clomiphene citrate. It’s an alternative to IVF that doesn’t cost as much and isn’t as invasive if you’re trying to conceive.
Clomiphene citrate stimulates FSH secretion to trigger the ovary to produce multiple follicles. This ensures availability of numerous follicles that can rupture and release an egg each during ovulation. Clomiphene also boosts estrogen production to help increase the chances of an LH surge to trigger ovulation.
Studies show that within six cycles of use, about 40-45% of people taking Clomiphene citrate will get pregnant.
- Letrozole. Though originally created as a cancer treatment drug, Letrozole is also used off-label for infertility. Oftentimes doctors prescribe this drug to women who are not having luck with Clomiphene citrate and are showing signs of resistance to that medication.
Studies also show that Letrozole is the better choice for women who have PCOS.
Disclaimer: Inito does not diagnose medical conditions or prescribe treatments. If you suspect you have ovulatory infertility or are at risk of ovulatory infertility, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider.
When to consult a doctor about your infertility?
If you’ve tried the lifestyle shifts we shared in this article but find that you’re still not ovulating, first, we want to say we are sorry that you’re going through these struggles. It can be so stressful and frustrating to have these issues with your ovulation. But know that you are not alone.
Thankfully, there are doctors you can turn to who can help you come up with some new ways to approach increasing your ovulation that you may have better luck with.
So we suggest consulting your doctor when you’ve tried everything on your own and have hit a wall.
A quick recap
- If you’re looking for how to naturally increase ovulation, it’s important to know that there are no natural remedies that guarantee an increase in ovulation. However, there are things you can do to lead a more healthy lifestyle that can increase your chances of ovulation.
- Ovulation is the time of your menstrual cycle when the egg is released from the ovary.
- If your body skips ovulation, you cannot get pregnant.
- The best way to know whether you’re ovulating is to use a fertility monitor such as Inito.
- Some of the natural ways you can increase your chances of ovulating include:
Improve your diet
Maintain a healthy weight
Exercise regularly (but not too much)
- If natural remedies still aren’t helping you achieve ovulation, you can turn to medication to help, such as:
- Consult your doctor before taking any of the above medications.