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Ovulation Symptoms: How Do You Really Know?

A fever, aches, and some serious fatigue tend to indicate that you’ve caught the flu. Similarly, bloating, cramps and the desire to eat a lot of chocolate are clear signs for many women that their period is about to start. What are the signs of ovulation though??

If you want to become pregnant you’re probably very interested in when your body is ovulating. 

After all, if you passed middle school science, you know that an egg and a sperm need to meet for a baby to happen.

Ovulation symptoms are complicated and that’s why we’ve broken it down for you… including answers to some of your most pressing ovulation questions! 

Before going any further, let’s take a second to talk about ovulation. 

When Do I Ovulate?

Your body ovulates once during a typical menstrual cycle. It generally does so about 12-14 days before your next period. (This would be about day 14 if you have a 28-day schedule.) 

However, timing can vary, and 46% of cycles vary by over 7 days.

This is because ovulation is determined by the levels of the hormones in your body. 

While many hormones are involved in the process, it’s important to note that estrogen is a dominant hormone before ovulation occurs. Following ovulation, progesterone becomes the dominant hormone.

Menstrual cycle

How Long Do Ovulation Symptoms Last?

Sperm can live for 4 to 5 days, and an egg can be fertilized for 24-36 hours after it’s released. 

As a result, there’s a window of several days during which you can become pregnant each cycle.

Knowing this window exists may make you wonder, when ovulation symptoms will occur? Also, how long will they last? 

Sadly there isn’t one right answer to these questions. The length of symptoms may vary, and they can actually begin before you even ovulate. 

What Are Some Ovulation Symptoms? (And When Might They Appear?)

Estrogen levels are low in the beginning of the menstrual cycle, but rise about 3 to 4 days before ovulation. 

This causes symptoms that increase the chance of a sperm and egg meeting like:

  • Increased sex drive and  heightened sense of smell (especially for male scents!)
    Many women feel sexually aroused a few days before ovulation. Along with a heightened sense of smell, this is your body’s way of telling you it’s time to conceive!
  • Cervical position
    Before you and after you ovulate, your vagina may feel firm with a texture like the tip of your nose. It will also probably feel closed, low, and dry if you touch it with a finger.
    Right around ovulation, your vaginal canal may feel soft like your lips. Your finger may be able to go all the way up your vagina to touch your cervix. The cervix may feel open and wet.  
Cervical signs of fertile days
  • Cervical mucus
    This is a gel-like liquid discharged from the cervix. Right after your period, the cervical area will most likely be dry and cervical mucus non-existent. As you near ovulation, the production of cervical mucus should increase.

    Cervical mucus tends to be stretchy and slippery near ovulation day to make it easier for sperm to swim to the egg.

    To test for this, you can insert your fingers into your vagina and pull out some of the mucus. Stretching two fingers apart, you can see if the mucus stretches. 
Cervical Mucus
  • Ovulation pain (This can last for a few hours up to a day.)
    Right before ovulation, the rise in Estrogen causes the brain to release LH. This breaks the sac containing the egg and starts its descent through the fallopian tube into the uterus.

    The fluid released from the sac collects in the inner lining of the abdomen, which can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen for some women. The dull achy bearing down pain may last a few hours to up to a day.
  • Basal body temperature (BBT) 
    After ovulation, progesterone levels rise. As a result of this, you may notice that your basal body temperature increases by 0.5-1 degree Fahrenheit after ovulation. It will typically stay this high until right before your period (if you are not pregnant).
Basal body temperature (BBT)

One thing to keep in mind is that only a small percentage of women experience all ovulation symptoms. It can also be extremely subjective and hard to tell when you are experiencing certain symptoms. 

For this reason, ovulation symptoms are usually not the best way to know when you are ovulating.

Is Cramping A Symptom Of Ovulation?

Ovulation pain (also called mittelschmerz) can feel like a cramp. It happens on the side of the abdomen where the ovary is releasing the egg. It’s usually pretty mild and generally not dangerous. 

If you experience this it is generally about 10-16 days before the start of your period.

How Soon After Ovulation Do You Get Symptoms

As we’ve discussed, signs that you’re ovulating actually start before you ovulate! In order to increase your chances of pregnancy, your body may open and lubricate the cervical area. You may also feel more attraction for your partner (or males in general) in the days leading up to ovulation.

Can Ovulation Symptoms Change Month To Month?

Many ovulation symptoms are subjective. It’s very possible that what you experience one month will differ from the next month. That’s one of the reasons why Inito can be so useful. 

Instead of using subjective symptoms to guess when you are ovulating, the Inito fertility monitor can measure your estrogen, LH, and progesterone levels! Using this information helps you identify peak fertility windows and confirms when you actually ovulate. 

Inito stands out from other ovulation trackers, because it is the only one that measures all three of these levels at home. Without this information, it’s impossible to know that ovulation has actually occurred.

What To Do If You Don’t Have Ovulation Symptoms?

If you don’t feel ovulation symptoms, you’ll want to keep in mind that the signs of ovulation can be subjective and subtle. 

For example, increased sexual urges can happen at multiple points during a cycle even when you are not ovulating. It can also be very difficult to interpret cervical position or mucus.

While Basal body temperature is considered more reliable, it occurs after ovulation, so you’ve already missed your key fertile window.

You may be ovulating and not know it! 

Luckily, these symptoms are just a result of your hormones, and it’s possible to track those hormones directly.

Using Inito can help you to track your hormone levels and determine if you are actually ovulating.

Inito measures estrogen and LH to track your fertile days. It measures progesterone to confirm ovulation. 

If Inito indicates that you are not ovulating during your cycles and you would like to become pregnant, you should speak to your doctor. 

How Soon Can You Feel Pregnancy Symptoms After Ovulation?

For many women, the first sign of pregnancy they notice is a missed period about 15 days after ovulation.

However, if you’re anxious to conceive and are closely monitoring your body, you may notice some signs and symptoms as early as 4 to 5 days after ovulation. 

Can You Have Pregnancy Symptoms 11 Days After Ovulation?

You may experience pregnancy symptoms 11 days after ovulation, but there’s no guarantee.

Why is this? At 11 days your body may have started to release hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone, but the levels are likely to be very low. (You may not even be able to get an accurate drug store pregnancy test result yet.)

You may feel bloated and have some cramping. (This can be hard to distinguish from PMS though!) You may also experience some implantation bleeding and morning sickness. Because your body is increasing blood flow to the kidneys, you can also find that you’re needing to urinate more frequently.

Other common signs of pregnancy around 11 days after ovulation include:

  • fatigue 
  • elevated resting heart rate 
  • heightened basal body temperature
  • sensitive breasts

Learn More : 11 DPO (Days Past Ovulation): Things To Look Out For

Summing It Up:

For many women, it’s nearly impossible to know exactly when they are ovulating. Ovulation symptoms can be subjective and hard to detect! 

If you want to know whether you’re ovulating, using Inito can make the process much clearer! By tracking the important 3 hormones (estrogen, LH, and progesterone), Inito can alert you of your fertile days and when ovulation occurs.

A Quick Look At The Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation:

  • Ovulation typically occurs 12-14 days before your next period.
  • Ovulation symptoms can range in how long they last. 
  • They usually start before you even ovulate. 
  • You may find you have an increased sex drive or are even more attracted to masculine scents 3 to 4 days before ovulation.
  • Your cervix may soften and you may experience cervical mucus right before you ovulate.
  • You may experience some cramping or abdominal pain when your body releases an egg from the ovaries. 
  • Your basal body temperature may increase by 0.5 to 1 degree Fahrenheit after ovulating.

Was this helpful?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Fertility-Awareness-Based-Methods-of-Family-Planning

Su HW, et al. (2016). Detection of ovulation: A review of currently available methods. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/btm2.10058

Ovulation Pain. (2019). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ovulation-pain/

What are common signs of pregnancy? (n.d.).
nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/signs

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