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Early Ovulation: How & Why It Can Impact Conception

People have several questions about early ovulation: can you ovulate early? How early can you ovulate? What causes early ovulation? Is early ovulation a health issue? Will it impact my ability to conceive?

Early ovulation can potentially cause problems if you are trying to conceive. In this article, we cover frequently asking questions about the impact of early ovulation on your cycle and your chances of conception.

Ovulating Regularly With PCOS
Image courtesy of The Bright Girl Guide by Demi Spaccavento. How early is too early to ovulate?

Understanding Early Ovulation Symptoms

Early ovulation can be a complex phenomenon, and recognising its symptoms is crucial for those actively trying to conceive or simply monitoring their reproductive health. Here’s an in-depth look at the specific symptoms that may indicate early ovulation:

Breast Tenderness: Hormonal fluctuations during early ovulation can increase breast sensitivity or tenderness. This can be a subtle sign, so paying close attention to changes in your body is essential.

Change in Libido: Some women may experience a noticeable increase or decrease in sexual desire during early ovulation. This change in libido can be linked to the body’s natural response to fertility cues.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Shift: Monitoring your BBT can provide valuable insights into your ovulation patterns. A sudden rise in BBT may indicate that ovulation has occurred earlier than usual. Utilising a BBT thermometer and tracking your temperature daily can help you detect this shift.

Alteration in Cervical Discharge: The consistency and appearance of cervical mucus can change during early ovulation. You may notice a clear, slippery, and egg-white-like discharge, signalling that ovulation is occurring or about to occur.

Mood Swings: Hormonal changes during the ovulatory phase can also affect mood. Some women report feeling more emotional or irritable during this time.

Spotting: Though less common, light spotting can sometimes signify early ovulation. This is due to the sudden drop in estrogen that occurs just before the egg is released.

Abdominal Pain or Cramping: Mild cramping or a twinge of pain on one side of the lower abdomen can occur during ovulation. This sensation, Mittelschmerz, may be more pronounced if ovulation occurs earlier in the cycle.

Menstrual Cycle Variability: Understanding Ovulation Timing

If we consider a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs roughly in the middle of the cycle, around day 14. According to most fertility experts, the fertility window falls in this period. That being said, the time frame is not precise for many people. In reality, ovulation happens anytime between days 12-16 of the menstrual cycle.

No two women have the same menstrual cycle — what can be considered ‘typical’ ranges from 21 to 35 days. With that in mind, you can expect ovulation to occur anywhere between the 11th and 21st days of your cycle, and what could be considered the ‘fertility window‘ will vary accordingly.

A menstrual cycle lasting 21 days or less is considered short and uncommon among women. Many factors can potentially shorten your menstrual cycle, including:

  • Mental stress
  • Illness, such as flu
  • Fluctuation in your weight within a relatively short time
  • Changes in hormonal levels and hormone medications
  • Fibroids in the uterus

One of the more critical factors, however, is your age. Women undergoing perimenopause tend to experience shorter and more irregular cycles until menopause is reached.

Pay close attention to when ovulation happens, especially when experiencing shorter cycles.

Ovulatory Phase of Your Cycle

Many signs indicate that you are in the ovulatory phase of your cycle. Alongside physical symptoms, countless methods and products are available to help you determine your peak fertility window, from daily basal temperature measurement to ovulation predictor kits (OPKs).

Basal body temperature (BBT) measurement is one of the simplest methods to determine your fertility window. During the peak fertility period, your basal body temperature can increase by 0.4 degrees over 48 hours. If you keep track of your BBT, you can make an educated guess regarding the best time to conceive.

If you happen to ovulate before day 11 of your menstrual cycle, it indicates that you have a short cycle, which might affect your chances of conception.

How many days after ovulation can you get pregnant?
How many days after ovulation can you get pregnant?

Conception & Early Ovulation

The time from the first day of your period to ovulation is called the follicular phase. Following this phase, your ovary releases an egg, and this phase is called the ovulation phase. The last phase of the menstrual cycle is the luteal phase.

One of the most common causes of early ovulation is a shorter follicular phase, which can cause problems regarding conception.

Let’s try to understand this by looking at the events leading up to ovulation.

The menstrual cycle begins when the endometrium lining of your uterus starts to shed, and you begin menstruating. While this occurs across approximately four to five days, a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) stimulates a few follicles (about 5-20) in the ovary. Out of these, one follicle attains dominance around the 7-day mark, and the rest die. The dominant follicle then develops further and starts to prepare itself to release an egg while simultaneously releasing another hormone called oestrogen.

Oestrogen Peak Concentration

Oestrogen reaches peak concentration in your blood during the second week of the menstrual cycle. It is a powerful hormone that prepares your uterus to receive the embryo. At the same time, the uterine mucous changes in consistency to protect the sperm and let it travel to the egg.

Oestrogen is also the hormone that rebuilds the endometrium lining of the uterus. A well-developed endometrial lining is crucial for the embedding of the embryo and its proper development.

Problems Associated With Early Ovulation

One of the most obvious effects of early ovulation is that the dominant follicle might not have enough time to develop an egg. An underdeveloped egg has a significantly lower chance of fertilisation.

Another problem with early ovulation can be the lack of ‘fertile mucous‘ formed in the uterus, which can hamper the journey of the sperm to the egg from the vagina through the uterus to the fallopian tubes. Fertility lubricants can help replicate your natural vaginal lubricants to help prolong sperm mobility and motility, bettering the chance of conception and making it a fantastic option for couples trying to conceive naturally.

Furthermore, the endometrial lining of the uterus, which is crucial for the embedding of the embryo, might not get a chance to develop during early ovulation fully. As a result, the chances of a miscarriage can be significantly elevated.

If you believe you suffer from early ovulation, there’s no need to panic. Plenty of options exist to help increase your chances of conceiving.

How accurate are LH ovulation tests?
What causes you to ovulate early?

Treatment of Early Ovulation

If you suspect you have early ovulation, the first thing you should do is keep track of your cycle. This tracking must occur over several months until you start recognising a pattern (or have the data to back up that no pattern exists).

If you keep track of your periods, here are some possible things you might notice:

Irregular Periods

Irregular cycles are quite common among women. Certain medical conditions and stress are the most common culprits, but irregular periods often have no rhyme or reason. In many cases, these issues resolve quite easily with medical intervention.

Anovulation

If ovulation does not occur during a menstrual cycle, it is called an anovulatory cycle. As no egg is released from the ovary, conceiving during such a cycle is impossible. Women with shorter menstrual cycles have a higher risk of anovulatory cycles.

Anovulation can be a major reason for infertility in many women. If you believe you are suffering from this issue, you should ask your healthcare professional for tailored advice. Some strategies, like changing your diet, may help, but many factors can contribute to anovulation, and it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause symptoms can begin as early as 8-10 years ahead of actual menopause, meaning women in their late thirties and early forties are often affected. It is also quite common amongst women that have fewer eggs remaining in the ovaries, which a blood test may be able to confirm.

Genetics

Many women have a predisposition to a shorter menstrual cycle. Finding out your family history and the patterns of menstrual cycles of your mother or grandmother might be helpful to determine if this is the root cause of your issues.

It is always a good idea to consult your doctor if you have a shorter menstrual cycle or experience early ovulation symptoms.

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Myo-Inositol & D-Chiro Inositol – Ovulation & Fertility Capsules for Women – Healthy Hormone Balance, PCOS & Ovarian Support with Folic Acid

Conceive Plus Ovulation Support

Women’s Ovulation & PCOS Support is a specially designed prenatal vitamin to assist with balancing your menstrual cycle & fertility hormones.

Conceive Plus Women’s Ovulation Support supplement has been proven to regulate ovulation and is ideal for women with PCOS and cycle or hormone irregularities.

Conceive Plus is just one of the many products sold at Fertility2Family, designed to help improve the affordability and accessibility of fertility care. Of course, if you are having ongoing difficulties conceiving, speaking to your healthcare professional is always a good idea.

Early Ovulation FAQ

Can Early Ovulation Be Managed Through Lifestyle Changes?

While early ovulation can be influenced by various factors, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and following a balanced diet may help regulate the menstrual cycle. Consulting with a healthcare provider for personalised recommendations is always advisable.

Is Early Ovulation Linked to Specific Medical Conditions?

Early ovulation may be associated with certain medical conditions, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders. A healthcare provider can conduct necessary tests to determine if an underlying condition affects ovulation.

How Accurate Are Over-the-Counter Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) in Detecting Early Ovulation?

OPKs can be a helpful tool in detecting ovulation, including early ovulation. However, their accuracy may vary based on individual hormonal patterns and the specific product used. Following the instructions carefully and consulting with a healthcare provider can enhance accuracy.

Can Early Ovulation Impact the Success of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Like IVF?

Early ovulation may affect the timing of certain ART procedures like IVF. Close monitoring and collaboration with fertility specialists are essential to align the timing of treatments with the individual’s ovulatory cycle.

Is Early Ovulation a Permanent Condition, or Can It Vary from Cycle to Cycle?

Early ovulation is not necessarily a permanent condition. It can vary from cycle to cycle and may be influenced by stress, illness, or hormonal changes. Tracking menstrual cycles and seeking professional guidance can help in understanding individual patterns.

How Does Early Ovulation Affect Fertility?

Early ovulation might lead to an underdeveloped egg, reducing the chances of fertilisation. It can also affect the endometrial lining of the uterus, potentially increasing the risk of miscarriage. Monitoring and managing early ovulation can be crucial for those planning to conceive.

Can Early Ovulation Be a Sign of an Underlying Health Issue?

While early ovulation can be a normal variation in some women, consistent early ovulation may signal underlying health issues such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or perimenopause. Medical evaluation may be necessary to rule out any underlying conditions.

How Can I Determine If I’m Experiencing Early Ovulation?

Symptoms of early ovulation may include changes in basal body temperature (BBT), breast tenderness, changes in libido, and alterations in cervical mucus. Utilising ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) and tracking menstrual cycles can provide more accurate insights.

Why Do I Ovulate So Early In My Cycle?
Why Do I Ovulate So Early In My Cycle?

Understanding Early Ovulation with Fertility2Family

At Fertility2Family, we know that early ovulation can bring questions and concerns. That’s why our detailed blog on early ovulation is here to guide you, offering expert insights and compassionate support. From understanding the causes to finding the right ovulation and pregnancy tests, we’re with you every step of the way. Explore our resources, and let’s walk this path together. It’s more than information; it’s a partnership in fertility.

Sources:

Fertility2Family only uses trusted & peer-reviewed sources to ensure our articles’ information is accurate and reliable.

AS;, M. (1976) The Menopause: The events of the Menopause, Royal Society of Health journal. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/951489/ (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Bright Girl Health Australia (2019) More than a ‘period talk’, Bright Girl Health. Available at: https://brightgirlhealth.com/ (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Cleveland Clinic (2021) Cervical mucus: Chart, stages, tracking & fertility, Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21957-cervical-mucus (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Cleveland Clinic (2021) Follicular phase of menstrual cycle: Hormone levels & length, Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23953-follicular-phase (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Cleveland Clinic (2021) Irregular periods (abnormal menstruation): Causes & treatment, Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14633-abnormal-menstruation-periods (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Fertility and Sterility (2002) Effect of short follicular phase on conception outcome. Available at: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(02)03042-X/fulltext (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Healthdirect Australia (2022) Perimenopause, healthdirect. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/perimenopause (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Jukic, A.M.Z. et al. (2007) Lifestyle and reproductive factors associated with follicular phase length, Journal of Women’s Health (2002). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834565/ (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Kim, K. et al. (2018) Dietary minerals, reproductive hormone levels and sporadic anovulation: Associations in healthy women with regular menstrual cycles, The British Journal of Nutrition. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6019139/ (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

Wilcox, A.J., Dunson, D. and Baird, D.D. (2000a) The timing of the ‘fertile window’ in the menstrual cycle: Day specific estimates from a prospective study, BMJ (Clinical research ed.). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC27529/ (Accessed: 05 October 2023).

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Evan Kurzyp
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.

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