4 Reasons WHY Women Need to Ovulate, Whether Trying to Get Pregnant or Not + How Birth Control Affects Ovulation
Whether a women wants a baby or not, our ovulation cycle needs to happen!
When most women think about their menstrual cycle the main thing that comes to mind is their periods – which makes sense as it’s the most obvious thing happening. But it’s important to know that ovulation, while often overlooked or ignored, is incredibly important for our health as women.
A huge problem is that we've arrested ovulation to one purpose - and that's getting pregnant. This couldn't be any further from the truth, because anything that naturally happens in a cyclic basis supports our health and happiness.
In this article I'll give you five reason why ovulation is so important.
1. Ovulation Supports Estrogen & Progesterone Balance
First, you need to know that estrogen is the dominant hormone before ovulation, and progesterone is the dominant hormone after ovulation. Without ovulating, you will not get the increased levels of progesterone and you likely will become “estrogen dominant”. This means that you have too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. If you don’t ovulate during a menstrual cycle this is called an anovulatory cycle.
Too much estrogen and too little progesterone is what causes irregular, painful or heavy periods and crazy pms. Purchase and of my Herbal Period Health Supplements for healthy estrogen and progesterone balance.
Another important fact to consider is the peak in estrogen that happens right before ovulation stimulates a peak in good cholesterol (HDL). These healthy cholesterol cells remove plaque away from your arteries and prevent heart disease. So when you don't ovulate, you also don't get a surge in good cholesterol. It's no coincidence that the number one cause of death for women in America is heart disease.
Connect the dots: Oral birth control can increase your blood clotting factors, which puts women at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
2. Ovulation Supports Healthy Mood & Relieve Anxiety
No ovulation means no production of real progesterone. Progesterone is your body's natural antidepressant hormone that binds to endorphin receptors in the brain, and it enhances your mood and relieve anxiety. This sex hormone has a calming effect on the brain, and counterbalances estrogen in the body that increases anxiety.
Progesterone stimulates the brain’s GABA receptors, the feel-good, calming neurotransmitters. After reaching the brain it acts s a natural opiate-preventing pain and depression. So it is easy to understand why anxiety can surface when your progesterone levels are low.
Connect the dots: Women don't ovulate on birth control pills or hormonal birth control. They suppress your ovulation cycle. Depression remains one of the top reasons women complain about birth control and decide to discontinue.
3. Ovulation Supports Bone Health
Estrogen prevents bone loss and progesterone stimulates bone growth. It’s the interplay of these two hormones together that lead to the best bone health for women. When you ovulate and your progesterone surges in your bloodstream, it attaches to cells in your bones that's responsible for synthezing new skeletal material. This helps to stabalize bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Research has found that starting in perimenopause women have increased bone loss, and this is related to the fact that their progesterone levels are lower as ovulation becomes less frequent and eventually stops. Without this regular cycling of hormones, the strength and health of your bones will be compromised. The longer you don’t ovulate over your lifetime the more risk for bone disease when you are older (for example, osteoporosis).
Connect the dots: Progestin, which is the synthetic form of our natural hormone progesterone that's used in birth control, has been found to be related to decrease bone mass and density in women.
4. Ovulation Supports Normal Testosterone Levels & Healthy Libido
Just before you ovulate your testerone hits its peak. This gives women an increased feeling of sensuality and a higher libido. As ovulation approaches women often feel an increase in sex drive. It is thought that the female body gets ready to conceive every month as a basic survival instinct. While testosterone levels control female libido, there is no rise in testosterone during ovulation. Instead, there is a sharp decline in estrogen levels making normal testosterone levels more effective and thus libido increases as a physical ovulation symptom.
Connect the dots: When on birth control women report losing their sex drive and having low libido. This is due to birth control suppressing the natural flow of testerone which is crucial for our libido health.
Whether you wish to have a baby or not, your ovulation cycle NEEDS to happen for you to maintain optimal health. Women are designed to have a cyclical ebb and flow of different hormones; and those different levels of hormones have different jobs to do in your body.
If you’re not ovulating, then you’re not getting hormones that are needed for optimum health.
When you hear people say that periods are unnecessary and women should just suppress them with constant contraceptive medication, keep in mind that there’s much more to your menstrual cycle than just having a period.
It’s also important to realize that if you are taking hormonal birth control then you are probably not ovulating, and so you are missing out on some of these great health benefits of ovulation.
I've been in this field of practice long enough to know that many women suffer, and it definitely has long term effects on your health, especially if you're a woman that started hormonal birth control before your body had fully matured (which can take up to 10 years after the first period).
You can easily determine if you are ovulating by menstrual cycle charting. This can involve checking for cervical mucus or taking your temperature when you first wake up in the morning.
- Shavonne Richardson