Understand Ovulation Symptoms And Control Your Fertility
Two other methods of detecting ovulation symptoms do not entail a trip to the drug store. One of these is changes in the appearance of the normal cervical mucous. During ovulation, it becomes clear, colorless and stringy. At all other times during the cycle, it is thick and creamy in colour. The other symptom is called Mittelschmerz.
The first day of each menstrual cycle is defined as the day that bleeding begins. Bleeding takes place over several days and represents the time when the uterine lining, the endometrium, is shed. This is called menstruation, and it is the most obvious time point in the entire cycle. The menstrual period provides evidence that conception has not taken place. Back in the previous century, it was not possible for a women to confirm whether or not she was pregnant until her period was two weeks late. By this time, according to the above definition, she would be six weeks' pregnant.
The human female reproductive cycle occurs in three phases. The 'first' phase is called the follicular phase, prior to release of the ovum, or egg. By definition, this is the first day of bleeding, called menstruation. This is when a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is at it highest level. FSH triggers the release of a number of ovarian follicles, each containing a single egg. When the levels of FSH go down, one of the follicles continues to develop and it begins to produce another hormone, estrogen.
During the ovulatory phase, a surge in leutenizing hormone (LH) the ovum is released by the follicle and estrogen levels reach their peak. Having released the egg, the follicle closes and is transformed into the corpus luteum, which begins to secrete another female hormone, progesterone. The two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, work together to thicken the lining of the uterus and prepare it for possible fertilization.
It is possible for fertilization to occur as long as twelve hours after release of the ovum. The chances for conception are enhanced if there are already sperm in the female reproductive tract before the egg is released. If the ovum does not become fertilized, the thickened, prepared uterine lining is no longer needed to nourish human development and it is sloughed off beginning on Day 1 of the menstrual cycle.
There are a number of ways that a women may determine whether or not she is in the ovulatory phase of her menstrual cycle. One of these is to buy a kit from the drug store that measures LH (in the urine) or rising estrogen levels (by testing the saliva).
The increased concentration of estrogen causes the saliva to be saltier than any other time during the cycle. When a sample of saliva is left to dry, crystals of salt are deposited on the surface of a glass slide to render a fern-like pattern when viewed under the microscope. Saliva-based kits basically contain a tiny microscope with which to view this salivary ferning and let the woman know that she is fertile.
Two other methods of detecting ovulation symptoms do not entail a trip to the drug store. One of these is changes in the appearance of the normal cervical mucous. During ovulation, it becomes clear, colorless and stringy. At all other times during the cycle, it is thick and creamy in colour. The other symptom is called Mittelschmerz. It refers to one-sided abdominal pains that occur during the ovulatory phase. While these methods all enable a woman to take better control over her fertility by allowing her to choose when to have or not have intercourse, if avoiding pregnancy is imperative, they should not be solely relied upon and another method of contraception should be employed.
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