Ovulation symptoms are associated with changes to a woman's vaginal secretions and a rise in her normal basal body temperature. These symptoms usually only last during the short ovulation period, and for some women pain may also occur during ovulation. Women should speak with their doctor if they notice any unusual ovulation symptoms or if they are trying to track their ovulation to achieve conception.
Ovulation is a part of a woman's menstrual cycle which normally occurs 12 to 14 days before the start of menstruation, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The process of ovulation takes place when a follicle on one of the ovaries ruptures and releases an egg. Once the egg is released it travels through an opening in the Fallopian tube and makes its way down into the uterus. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists the egg remains viable for fertilisation about 24 hours after it is released.
Changes in Vaginal Secretions
Changes in vaginal secretions are one of the most noticeable symptoms of ovulation. An increase in cervical mucus occurs during this time to support the survival of sperm in the vaginal canal. Women may experience an increase in vaginal secretions during ovulation and may also notice that the secretions change to a thin, slippery, raw egg white consistency and colour. Once ovulation is over the discharge may disappear or become thicker, cloudy or sticky.
Change in Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature is the lowest body temperature and changes to basal body temperature may be a sign that ovulation has just occurred. According to Dr. Eric Daiter of the New Jersey Infertility Center, a woman's basal body temperature dips slightly just before ovulation and then slightly rises for a few days after ovulation has occurred; Dr. Daiter also states that a temperature increase of one-tenth of a degree to one degree rise after ovulation may occur, but most women experience a half a degree rise in post-ovulation basal body temperature.
Women who wish to track their basal body temperature to identify when ovulation has occurred need to record their temperature first thing every morning, before moving about or getting out of bed, and it is best if they take this temperature at the same time every morning. A special basal body thermometer should be used to gain the most accurate basal body temperature readings.
Ovulation Pain (Mittelschmerz)
Ovulation pain is a symptom of ovulation that occurs in some ovulating women. This pain, also known as mittelschmerz, is associated with lower abdominal pain that is generally on the left or right side of the abdomen. Women may notice this pain switches sides every month or the pain may occur more frequently on one side for many months in a row. Ovulation pain is often described as a mild stabbing pain that comes and goes for one to two days and usually lasts for only a few minutes at a time.
When to Talk with your Doctor
Women should talk with their doctor as soon as possible if they notice any severe or unusual symptoms associated with ovulation, which may include vaginal bleeding, severe pain, fever or pain that lasts longer than usual. Women who are tracking their ovulation to achieve pregnancy should talk with their doctor for tracking tips, advice and a pre-pregnancy health examination.