The Ovulation Process
Every month an egg is released from the woman’s fallopian tubes. It is this egg that can make a woman pregnant. This process is critical for a woman who is thinking of having a family. An interaction between the brain and the ovary initiates this process. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain that produces a hormone called GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone). The hormone is send to the pituitary gland to tell that the body is ready to get in to the ovulation cycle. The pituitary glad is then conveys the messenger that the ovaries may go ahead and release the egg.
If the lady is under stress or starving enough GnRH is not sent by the hypothalamus. Thus indicating the less likeliness of pregnancy as the brain knows that the body will not be able to withstand the pressures of housing a baby.
The eggs dwell in the ovaries. It is here that the hormones estrogen and progesterone are emanated. The eggs are present in a woman at birth as against that of a man who produces sperm all his life.
The Process – Ovulation cycle
The pituitary gland sends a message to the ovaries to release the egg. The egg in its follicle produces estrogen. The increase in the level of estrogen intimates the pituitary gland that it is ready for the ovulation cycle.
Once the pituitary glad is intimated by the increase in the estrogen levels, LH is released in large quantities. This LH surge as it is called is an intimation to the follicle to release the egg. Around 12 or 24 hours after the LH release ovulation takes place. It is the measurement of the LH level what the ovulation detection kits reveal.
After ovulation the follicle turns into a corpous luteum, some kind of cyst. Progesterone is released by this corpous luteum, which is essential for preparing the uterus to nurture an egg to fertilization. This hormone is also responsible for PMS symptoms like breast soreness, water retention, backache, moodiness etc.
Fertilization of the egg begins once it is housed in the uterine wall. It then produces human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). Pregnancy tests measure this hCG. The ovary keeps producing progesterone if hCG exists. If it doesn’t exist then the ovary stops producing progesterone 9-11 days after ovulation. The fall in progesterone levels then leads to the shedding of uterine lining announcing menstruation. Thus, all the, decrease in hormone levels and menstruation takes you to yet another ovulation cycle.
Variations in the cycle differ from woman to woman. Some may experience a very short spell. And in some it can be enormously long. It even varies from month to month. However the time frame from when the egg is released from the ovary to the time of menstruation is exactly 14 days for all women. This is the time taken by corpous luteum to produce progesterone as it waits to see if the egg is fertilized to bring new life.
The later part of the cycle, from the time an egg is released from the ovary to the start of menstruation, is exactly 14 days in all women. That’s how long the corpous luteum produces progesterone while waiting to see if an egg has been fertilized and if a new life has begun.
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