If you’ve received a similar sex-ed that most of us have… you’ve probably been taught that our cycle’s main event is menstruation, but that’s false 🙅♀️ Your period is not the main event of your cycle, it is actually ovulation! 🤯
When we ovulate, the body releases an egg from a follicle (think: a tiny lil egg sack) We either get pregnant, or we get a period. The follicle that held the egg? 🥚 It turns itself into a gland called the corpus luteum, which secretes progesterone during the luteal phase.
No ovulation = no progesterone.
What is the purpose of progesterone? I’m so glad you asked 😉 because it might be my favorite hormone. Progesterone has a PLETHORA of benefits for our bodies (outside of pregnancy) like reducing inflammation, calming the mind and body, promoting deeper sleep, counterbalancing estrogen’s PMS effects, encouraging GABA production in the brain, and helping us to handle stress/ anxiety better.
Progesterone reduces inflammation, helps build muscle, protects our bones, promotes sleep, and calms the nervous system. However, here’s where the real magic happens: progesterone converts to a neurosteroid called allopregnanolone.
Allopregnanolone helps support our brain health and works as an anti-depressant.
Low levels of allopregnanolone have been linked to anxiety, PMDD, depression, and postpartum depression. You can think of progesterone as this calming, mood-enhancing fabulous little hormone, and without enough of it, we can feel the effects. So how do we make sure we get more progesterone? Well, the body produces progesterone as a result of a healthy ovulation. Things that can lower progesterone production and/ or prevent ovulation include under-eating, overactivity, emotional stress, unaddressed food sensitivities, hormonal birth control, and more.
NOTE: When we’re on hormonal birth control, (except with the hormonal IUD) we aren’t ovulating and we aren’t getting progesterone. Progestin, the synthetic form of progesterone in HBC acts NOTHING like our natural progesterone.
Ovulation is the main event of your menstrual cycle and when we aren’t ovulating, it compromises our overall health! Moreover, anovulation (not ovulating) can be caused by several different things such as:
Chronic stress High-stress levels can disrupt ovulation, leading to irregular or absent periods.
Malnourishment Nutrient deficiencies can impair ovulation.
Over-exercising While exercise is crucial for overall health, excessive and intense workouts can interfere with your menstrual cycle, causing anovulation.
Thyroid dysfunction Thyroid disorders can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance in your body, potentially leading to anovulation.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that often results in irregular ovulation or anovulation.
+ more There are other factors like hormonal imbalances, medications, and lifestyle choices that can also impact ovulation.
The best way to tell if you are ovulating is to track your BBT – I like Femometer or Tempdrop for BBT thermometers.
If you want easy, low-effort ways to support ovulation, adding in a few ovulation-supportive foods could be a great place to start! Here are a few of my favorite foods to support ovulation:
If you aren’t ovulating, it is important to understand why and address what’s happening in the body! I guide my clients through this process inside of Hormone Bootcamp to help them support their ovulation health so that they can reap the benefits of healthy af progesterone levels!
LET’S HAVE HEALTHY, HAPPY HORMONES TOGETHER! 👑🔥💫💖
Calee Shea is a Holistic Health Practioner based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is your go-to gal for all things periods, vaginal health, and sex.