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Is Early Ovulation Possible? What Does It Mean for Your Fertility?

Early ovulation, also referred to as premature ovulation, is when you ovulate way before the expected time. In this case, it means that the ovaries release an egg before the normal time.

If you experienced the signs of ovulation earlier than usual, this information will clear the air for you.

What does early ovulation mean?

early ovulation

Early ovulation refers to the release of an egg from the ovary too early in the cycle.

The 28-day menstrual cycle will expect ovulation to occur about halfway this cycle or around the 14th day. If you have a longer or shorter cycle, ovulation should also occur about midway of the cycle when counted from the first day of your period.

However, the occurrence of ovulation, just like the other bodily processes, is not an exact event. Rather than occurring exactly on the 14th day of your cycle, for example, it will occur between the 12th and the 16th day.

If you ovulate earlier than usual more than once, you could be having a shorter follicular phase. The follicular phase is the time from the first day of your period to the ovulation day. From that day to the last day it’s called the luteal phase.

A normal follicular phase of a 28-day menstrual cycle is between 12 to 16 days. Within this period, an egg would have matured in the follicles and be ready to be fertilized by the time ovulation occurs.

Having a short follicular phase means that you often ovulate before the 12th day of your cycle. If this is the case, the egg you release would not be mature enough to be fertilized.

The egg will also have a low quality and thus fertilization will not occur. If it occurs, there would be problems with its growth.

One of the causes of unexplained infertility is a poor quality of the egg. In this regard, premature ovulation can be a cause of unexplained infertility.

Is it possible to ovulate early?

It is possible to ovulate early in your menstrual cycle. This means that the follicles would release the egg before they have become mature enough to be fertilized and turned into an embryo.

However, observing the signs of ovulation two days earlier or later than usual is not an issue to worry about.

Also, it is only an issue to worry you if you have early ovulation more than once since this is one of the causes of unexplained infertility. Otherwise, rest easy if it only occurs once a month and rarely happens again.

How early can you ovulate?

As long as it is earlier than the 12th day of your menstrual cycle, it is a case of early ovulation.

However, you need to know that ovulation can only occur when you exhibit its symptoms. This will often be the 8th day from when your period began.

READ  Late Ovulation and Conception or Pregnancy

Having an ovulation earlier than the 8th day isn’t possible as it is too early for the egg to grow enough to be released by the follicles.

Causes of premature ovulation

what causes early ovulation

Ovulating earlier than usual can be caused by various aspects some of which you can easily control. Given its effect on your fertility level, you need to know of these causes to be on the safe side. They include:

1. Caffeine

Taking drinks with a lot of caffeine also has an effect on your hormonal balance in the body. When taken in large amounts, caffeine can lead to undesirable effects on your menstrual cycle such as shortening your follicular phase.

This, in effect, will result in early ovulation.

2. Short follicular phase

When the hormones responsible for the menstrual cycle cause a short follicular phase, you will experience premature ovulation often.

Having a shorter follicular phase means that the time between your period and when you have ovulation would be shorter than 12 days in the case of a menstrual cycle which lasts for 28 days.

A short follicular phase is one of the main causes of infertility in women. This is because the eggs released before the 12th day will be of a low quality since they will be immature.

The low quality means they will not be fertilized or, if fertilized, will fail to go through the next stages of a pregnancy such as attaching to the uterine wall or forming a fetus.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation given its effects on the body.

On the menstrual cycle, alcohol causes early ovulation and a short follicular phase. You will thus have premature ovulation on occasion if you take alcohol. If you take too much of it, it can lead to infertility due to the short follicular phase.

4. Ovarian decline

An ovarian decline is a reduction in the number of eggs in the ovaries with age. This is a natural process which every woman undergoes, and which cannot be undone.

At birth, you are born with around 2 million eggs. Of this number, several hundred are lost in each menstrual since only one (or few) will be grown to maturity.

This process will go on until menopause when the number of eggs will be exhausted. At the age of 30 years, for example, you would have lost about 90 percent of all the eggs.

The natural response of the body to the loss of eggs is to produce more of the follicle stimulating hormone. Given the effects of this hormone on the menstrual cycle, you will increasingly have a shorter follicular phase and hence early ovulation.

5. Smoking

Cigarettes have toxins which affect a large part of the body. If you are a heavy smoker, the effects of these toxins can be observed in a shorter menstrual cycle compared to those who are not smokers.

By a heavy smoker, it means anyone used to smoking daily a good number of cigarettes (about 20 cigarettes a day).

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Even when you get pregnant, smoking can make the pregnancy problematic.

6. Hormonal imbalance

The menstrual cycle is under the influence of hormones and any imbalance in them can lead to undesirable effects such as shortening or lengthening the cycle.

Your menstrual cycle is controlled mainly by the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). The follicle stimulating hormone has the responsibility of maturing the egg as the luteinizing hormone is tasked with initiating the release of the egg from the ovary.

These two hormones (and many others) are produced and regulated by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

Having a shorter or longer menstrual cycle can be influenced by the nature of the organs which produce these hormones. If the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland produce too much, too little or fail to regulate these hormones, the case will be the same.

In most cases, a high amount of the follicle stimulating hormone will shorten the luteal phase and this cause premature ovulation.

Signs and symptoms

Although it has been all about a 28-day menstrual cycle, you may have one that is shorter or longer than 28 days. For example, if you have a cycle that lasts 30 days, you should expect ovulation between the 13th and 17th day (day 15 being the midway).

If the following signs are observed before the designated time, then you will be having an early ovulation:

  1. Presence of the luteinizing hormone in urine
  2. A rise in your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
  3. Breast tenderness
  4. An increase in your sexual urge
  5. A change in the cervical mucus
  6. Having ovulation cramps
  7. Slight spotting
  8. Having a positive sign of Ovulation Predictor Kits

For you to know that you have a short follicular phase, you need to track your menstrual cycle for more than three cycles. If early ovulation occurs in only one cycle and does not repeat, it is nothing to worry you as it is normal.

Just like periods, other bodily processes such as ovulation can once in a while come earlier or later than usual.

Does ovulating early affect fertility?

Conception and pregnancy depend on the quality of the egg and the sperm to be successful. If either of them has a defect, the pregnancy will not be effective.

premature ovulation is repeatedly noted as one of the reasons for infertility given that, if the egg is released before it has matured, it will not be fertilized.

If fertilization still occurs, the stages after fertilization will not be carried out correctly (cell division, attachment to uterine wall, the formation of a fetus).

The egg quality and ovarian reserve are greatly reduced when you have early ovulation often. For instance, if you ovulate before the 12th day of your menstrual cycle, the quality of your egg will be poor and thus reduce your chances of conception.

The ovarian reserve is directly related to the length of your ovulation. As the number of eggs you have goes down (reduction in ovarian reserve), you will observe shorter and shorter follicular phases.

This is because, as the number of eggs reduces, the body compensates for this by releasing more of the follicle stimulating hormone. This hormone reduces the length of the follicular phase.

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You may also experience premature ovulation after a miscarriage given the amount of stress and changes in the hormones you will be experiencing.

Even with all these aspects, you can still get pregnant with early ovulation since the chances are not reduced to zero. However, if you experience premature ovulation in three menstrual cycles, make sure you see your doctor over it.

Treatment for early ovulation

There are several tests which can be carried out to establish whether you have a short follicular phase or not. Besides the need to chart your menstrual cycle for about three cycles, ovulation tests can be carried out by detecting the amount of luteinizing hormone in the urine in your cycle. If present before the expected time several cycles in a row, you will have premature ovulation.

Among the methods used to treat premature ovulation are:

1. Vitex herb

The use of the vitex herb as directed by a doctor can be of great use if you have an issue with your menstrual cycle. It not only stabilizes the hormones but also regularizes the follicular and luteal phases of your menstrual cycle. It works as a fertility drug.

2. Controlled smoking

Smoking 20 or more cigarettes in a day is recipe for disaster in women. Besides the general health risks associated with cigarette smoking (lung cancer, bronchitis, and others), cigarettes will negatively affect the hormones and shorten the follicular phase leading to early ovulation.

3. Controlled caffeine and alcohol intake

At all times, you should control the intake of alcohol and caffeine (and any other drugs) since they have a myriad of undesirable effects on the body.

Both caffeine and alcohol, when taken in excessive amounts, lead to shorter menstrual cycles and hence early ovulation.

To solve this issue, either completely cut the intake of these two, or reduce them to reasonable amounts.

4. Sleeping in total darkness

Sleep is a solution to many problems including stress and hormonal imbalances. Specifically, sleeping in the absence of light has been found to have many benefits to the ovulation process.

There are several ways in which sleep in darkness can aid the ovulation process. They include:

  • The regulation of the levels of the follicle stimulating hormone since it is the hormone responsible for the ovulation process.
  • The reversal of anovulation which is when your ovaries fail to release an egg (oocyte) in a given menstrual cycle. Anovulation is among the main causes of infertility.
  • The regulation and strengthening of the menstrual cycle. This will ensure your cycle is predictable and consistent.
  • The reduction of repeat miscarriages. If you have had a miscarriage before, sleeping in total darkness can help you carry a pregnancy to the very end without the risk of miscarrying again.

Once you notice any persistent issue with your menstrual cycle, always let your doctor know about it.

References:

Vitex… Fertility Super Herb? Natural Fertility Info

Periods and fertility in the menstrual cycle. NHS

Normal Menstrual Cycle – WebMD

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