What happens to the body during ovulation?

During ovulation, an egg is released from a woman's ovary. There are many things that happen to the body during this process. For example, hormones stimulate the egg follicles in the ovaries to mature, and several egg follicles begin to mature at the same time. A single egg, under most circumstances, fully matures, and a hormone called luteinizing hormone stimulates the egg to break out of its follicle and into a woman's fallopian tube. A woman may notice a variety of signs during this process, including mild cramping that coincides with the hatching of the egg, a change in the appearance and consistency of her cervical mucus, and a slight increase in basal body temperature, which is the temperature of the a woman's body when it is at rest.

Most people know that ovulation occurs when a woman's ovary releases an egg into her fallopian tube, but many people are unaware of the complex processes that occur during ovulation. To begin with, hormonal changes in the body serve to stimulate ovulation. The hypothalamus, which is a gland in the brain, begins the ovulation process by producing a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This hormone, in turn, stimulates the pituitary gland, which is a tiny gland below the base of the brain, to start releasing follicle-stimulating hormone. It is this hormone that is responsible for stimulating follicular growth in a woman's ovaries.

As the follicles in a woman's ovaries develop, they produce the hormone estrogen. Eventually, these levels peak, and a woman usually ovulates the next day, although the length of time between this peak and ovulation is not exact. The estrogen spike usually causes an increase in luteinizing hormone, which is released from the pituitary gland. This increase is often an indication that an egg follicle will mature and that a woman will ovulate in about 36 hours. The mature egg eventually leaves the follicle and enters the fallopian tube, leaving the empty follicle behind.

Most women are unaware that they are ovulating during this complex process. However, there are some signs that may be present during and after ovulation. Some women have pelvic cramps on the side of the pelvis where the egg is released during ovulation. Women may also notice that their cervical mucus becomes clear and stretchy at this time. Also, a woman's core body temperature usually rises very little about a day or two after ovulation.

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