If you’re a longtime fan of Hormonology, then you know that the first half of your cycle (the first day of your period through ovulation) is completely different–in fact, in many ways the exact opposite–than the second half of your cycle (the day after ovulation through the day before your next period).
For those who are new to Hormonology, here’s a super-quick breakdown of what you can expect during each half of your cycle:
During the first half, estrogen is rising–and it’s lifting your mood, energy, outlook, extroversion, memory, confidence, love of adventure and desire for companionship and romance more and more as it climbs.
During the second half, estrogen goes on a bit of a rollercoaster ride of dropping, then rising, then dropping again. And progesterone joins in the fun, rising, then dropping. And these hormonal fluctuations tend to tamp down your energy, make you more physically and emotionally sensitive and have you preferring more solo time and quieter, safer activities.
You can learn about more changes you can expect during each week of your cycle here.
So, you can see that knowing the exact day you ovulate is key for knowing when you transition from the first half of your cycle to the second half.
Well, thanks to clues from your own body, there are several easy ways you can figure out when you ovulate:
- Gauge your libido: In women with healthy menstrual cycles, during ovulation your sex drive will suddenly and dramatically spike due to a peak in testosterone.
- Check your vaginal secretions: To allow sperm to pass more easily, your vaginal secretions become thin and slick like an egg white. When your fluids turn cloudy, it means progesterone is rising and you’ve entered your Week 3.
- Use a basal thermometer: This special thermometer reads your “basal temperature”, which is your body temperature right after waking in the morning, but before getting out bed. On the day after you ovulate, your basal temperature rises .4 to one degree Fahrenheit. You can purchase a basal thermometer at drugstores and Amazon.com, such as the Easy@Home Digital Basal Thermometer.
But, I have admit, my absolute favorite method to detect ovulation is using an ovulation microscope. That’s because it’s fun and easy–and when you pull it out at parties, all the women say, “Wow!” and want to try it.
So, what is an ovulation microscope? It’s a reusable lipstick-sized mini-microscope that determines when you’re about to ovulate by measuring the amount of salt in your saliva. When your estrogen peaks during ovulation, so does your saliva’s salt content.
To use it: You put a little spit on the microscope lens and, once it dries, if you see distinct fern shapes through the eye-piece, it means you’re going to ovulate the next day. If you see small ferns, you’re about three days away from ovulation. If you see dots and lines, you’re not close to ovulation.
Seems too simple, easy and fun to work, however, a new study in the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology proves that when used correctly, an ovulation microscope is just as accurate as a urine fertility test.
You can purchase an ovulation microscope from drugstores and Amazon.com, such as the Fertile Focus Ovulation Microscope.
IMPORTANT: Please do not use the methods described above to detect ovulation as a method of birth control. Semen, a surprisingly patient male bodily secretion, can live within your body for up to seven days, which means if you have sex up to a week prior to ovulation, you could possibly get pregnant even if you abstain during ovulation. To avoid pregnancy, use a form of birth control with a high efficacy rate (such as an IUD, condoms with spermicide or hormone birth control) all cycle long.
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