Ovulation is a sign of good health since it occurs regularly each month and indicates that your hormone levels are optimal and, for the most part, balanced. Even though you could still bleed each month if you are not ovulating (anovulation), this is generally a sign that something is wrong. What you should know about anovulation or delayed ovulation, as well as methods for naturally inducing ovulation, are provided below.
What are the signs of anovulation?
A fertility awareness technique (FAM) documenting the indications of ovulation may aid you (and your healthcare practitioner) in your search for solutions if you believe you might not be ovulating. Anovulation, which can indicate estrogen and progesterone levels that are out of balance, can raise your risk of breast cancer, early heart attacks, osteoporosis, and bone loss. Ovulation is crucial for overall health. Women genuinely need to ovulate and have periods for a ton of different reasons.
What are the signs of ovulation?
But how do you know if you’ve actually ovulated?
There are several ways to confirm ovulation, including body basal temperature (BBT) tracking, cycle day 21 progesterone blood tests, and progesterone metabolite (PdG) tracking.
A shift in BBT will tell you if you’ve ovulated, but it falls short of offering any information surrounding post-ovulatory progesterone levels. It’s also easily influenced by factors such as room temperature, poor night’s sleep, snuggling a loved one, or even alcohol consumption.
A cycle day 21 progesterone blood test will give you an accurate progesterone level, but this only shows your levels at that particular point in time. Since progesterone needs to remain elevated for a long enough period of time after ovulation, a one-time blood test doesn’t always accurately represent progesterone levels over the whole implantation window. Plus, serum progesterone can fluctuate up to 30 times in just one day.
PdG tracking, however, offers non-invasive ovulation confirmation via urine testing. After progesterone cycles through the bloodstream, it’s metabolized by the liver into urine. Studies show that progesterone in blood directly correlates to PdG in urine. Using a PdG test, such as Proov, on days 7-10 after suspected ovulation, can confirm that healthy ovulation did in fact occur.
If you’re using a PdG test like Proov, ideally you’ll want to see four positive test results during the testing window to confirm healthy ovulation. Anything less than four positive results may be a sign that PdG (and therefore progesterone) levels aren’t adequately elevated and could be preventing you from successfully conceiving.
Factors to address to help naturally induce ovulation
If you suspect that your cycles may be anovulatory, consider addressing some of the following factors that may be causing your anovulatory cycles. Some of the most common but overlooked factors contributing to ovulatory dysfunction include:
- Low body weight
- Poor diet, i.e. lacking in essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats
- Excessive athletic training
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Hormone imbalances
Five simple changes to help your body ovulate naturally
1. Increase your body weight.
First, determine your BMI. If it’s low, then gradually increase your caloric intake to achieve a slightly higher body mass.
2. Swap low carb for slow carb.
If you’ve been skipping grains, fruit and starchy vegetables, gradually add back some whole grains, delicious fruits and veggies like sweet potatoes and peas that contain sugars that release slowly into your bloodstream. Bonus: Your ability to cope with stress may improve!
3. Add some good fats–including animal fat.
Steak? Yes, please. Preferably grass-fed for an optimal fatty acid profile. Keep eating the avocados, oily fish, and nuts and seeds, but don’t forget the occasional serving of red meat! Balance in everything is key.
4. Improve your sleep: Not just the length, but the quality of your rest.
Easy changes to do so include making your bedroom darker (or using a sleep mask), regular bedtime and waking hours, and adjusting the room temperature. Also, avoid or reduce any caffeine intake or smoking at least six hours before bed. Add a bedtime routine that includes a time of meditation or prayer, a good read, and no digital screen exposure at least an hour before bed. More about sleep here and here.
5. Balance hormones naturally
These are just a few broad suggestions for supporting a healthy, regular cycle, and for helping to naturally induce ovulation through your food and lifestyle choices.
If you have already made these changes effectively and your cycles are still not functioning normally, you need to consult a physician who will be able to understand the unique pattern of your cycles and hormonal levels and diagnose the root cause of this problem. Using contraceptives to regulate your cycle may reduce symptoms and hide such dysfunctions, but will NOT eliminate them.