Think you know when you ovulate? Not so fast! This study will be a wake-up call

/Think you know when you ovulate? Not so fast! This study will be a wake-up call

Think you know when you ovulate? Not so fast! This study will be a wake-up call

Have a menstrual cycle and ovulation date that are as predictable as a Swiss watch? Or you can tell from body cues when your body will be releasing an egg? As a result, you know exactly which days you can slide on whatever method of family planning you use or aim for specific days when trying to get pregnant?

Not so fast. A 2010 study in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology will have you thinking completely differently. Here’s why:

Turns out, experiencing a bout of intense stress–for example, from getting mugged, undergoing surgery, taking a high-stakes test or possibly even from doing high-intensity exercise–has the potential to trigger ovulation on virtually any day in your cycle, for example, during your period or after your usual ovulation date. And it can cause you to ovulate even when you’re not getting a period, for instance, because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

That’s because intense stress can set into motion a process that leads to ovulation: It can trigger the release of progesterone from the adrenal glands and shortly thereafter a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland, which together can stimulate a follicle in your ovary to produce an egg under the right conditions, such as having a large-enough follicle and high enough level of estrogen.

The interaction between stress and fertility isn’t a new one. Research shows that chronic stress–say, due to long work hours or intense physical training–can actually prevent ovulation by thwarting the rise of LH, which is needed to produce an egg.

The takeaway here: It’s key to keep in mind how stress can play a role in when you ovulate. So, whether you’re looking to prevent pregnancy or you’re trying to conceive, consider using your preferred family planning method or ovulation tools all cycle long–not just the days leading up to the middle of your cycle.

By | 2018-09-09T13:05:34+00:00 August 19th, 2016|hormone research, hormonology tip, ovulation|0 Comments

About the Author:

Gabrielle Lichterman is the founder of Hormonology, author of 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential and creator of the popular Hormone Horoscope menstrual cycle tracker apps. In 2005, Gabrielle pioneered the growing movement among women to live in sync with their menstrual cycles and learn about the many ways their hormones impact their moods, health and behavior with the publication of her book, 28 Days. She's also a longtime women's health journalist whose articles have been published in major publications around the globe. Gabrielle's new updated and expanded version of 28 Days is due to be published December 2018. You can help get this book published by contributing to her crowdfunding campaign at

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