What Exactly is Ovulation?
So, let’s go way back to right before you found out you were pregnant. A couple of weeks before your baby started developing, you ovulated. Most people have a huge misconception about ovulation, ovarian cysts, and how your ovaries really function. If you have a period every month, then every month your ovary makes a cyst which ruptures and releases an egg . . . yep, that’s ovulation!
Your LMP (Last Menstrual Period) refers to the first day of your last period. This is Day 1 of your menstrual cycle. We also know that most women ovulate between Days 10 and 14. Some people have over-achievers for ovaries and ovulate sooner; some are late-bloomers and ovulate later. You might know which camp you belong to if you have really short cycles or really long ones!
Some people don’t have regular periods at all. Some may even skip several months at a time! If you are one of those women and you desire a pregnancy, you may need to see your gynecologist/obstetrician. Your eggs may need a little coaxing to get on board with the plan.
The Functional Cyst ~ Not All Cysts Are Bad
Everyone starts out with a bunch of follicles (little fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg. At some point early in your cycle, one of the follicles starts to get bigger and bigger. A follicle that reaches about 2.5 cm is considered a cyst. A functional cyst is expected to rupture once it reaches the 3 cm mark (or slightly greater) — aka, ovulation. One example of a follicle and functional, or ovulatory, cyst are pictured below:
Sometimes we feel mid-cycle pain (sometimes resulting in an ER visit) when the cyst ruptures, especially if it is larger than 3 cm. However, most women never know when they ovulate.
When Cysts Are Not Ovulatory
Many patients equate a cyst on the ovary to something bad. After all, it’s what we hear about most. The ovary can make bad things like any other organ in the body. Not all of them are malignant, or ovarian cancer. They can be non-cancerous (or benign) but may require follow-up or even require surgical removal depending on its size and other circumstances of your particular case. Of course, only your doctor can answer these questions for you!
Egg on a Mission
Once your functional cyst ruptures, the egg sets out on her journey. If she stays on her course, your egg travels through the tube and into the uterus. If sperm is there to fertilize it, great! I’m in business. If not, Tampax is, and two weeks later you have another period. Oh, joy.
I don’t care what any commercial claims — unless you’re wearing a diaper, you’re better off leaving those white shorts folded safely in your dresser. Don’t even think about it! Ever wonder exactly how many panties, shorts, and sheets we women ruin with our monthly friend? 😵 It’s a conspiracy!
So, I hope this post helped you understand the whole monthly thing. Many of my patients seemed to be surprised to have a cyst on the ovary or worried it was something concerning. Creating a functional cyst is simply a monthly event for most people.
And if you’re eggstra special (sorry, that was really bad, wasn’t it?), your ovaries might even double the fun. If so, you just might need TWO of everything at your baby shower! 👶👶
Any questions for me? I’d love to hear from you, so email me!
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