I love ovulating. OK, it can cause me some endo pain mid-cycle, but mentally, it’s the best I feel all month. Before I understood the menstrual cycle, I mistook the week of ovulation as a good endo week and I would think “this is the real me,” and “this is what I am capable of,” which is true, of course. But it made me hate the rest of the time when I wasn’t feeling like I could take on the world. It made me feel like I was underperforming in every area of my life.
Now I know differently. Because endometriosis follows the pattern of the menstrual cycle (though endometriosis isn’t menstrual dependent, it can survive without a period/womb/ovaries in some cases) and breaks down just like the womb lining does during our period, it makes sense that for many of us, endo is at its worst during our pre-menstrual and menstrual phases. But this isn’t always the case, and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t benefits to these two phases; in fact, there are lots, and they can become even better if you’re able to work with your body and hopefully reduce some of your endo symptoms. To get the lowdown on menstruation, read my previous column on our inner winter.
Coming back to our inner summer, this is often a time for stepping into your power. Ovulation is when estrogen and testosterone levels are at their peak. To take it back to basics, the purpose of these guys is to encourage reproduction, so these hormones act to improve your energy. They might make you feel more positive, extroverted, and confident.
So yes, in theory, your endo may be a bit quieter around this time (though like me, you may experience ovulation pain with endo), and if you feel better during this phase, it’s because your hormones are working their magic. So while it is a great phase to be in, it was helpful for me to see that this wasn’t just a “good endo week,” it’s actually a time when most people with periods feel better. This helped me to see my patterns in health and mood across the month as a bit more normal, and I resented my other seasons a lot less when I saw that they weren’t just a result of endometriosis and I realized I was the “real me” all the way through my cycle.
Now, of course, I can’t talk about ovulation and not address the very prominent issue of infertility in the endometriosis community. While I don’t want children and so don’t experience this inner battle, I appreciate that ovulation can be bittersweet and even be triggering for many of you. I can’t offer any specific advice on this subject. The Fertility Podcast and this list of fertility-related podcasts might be helpful to you, and I hope they will bring you some comfort.
However, whether or not infertility is an issue, all of us can make use of this potent time if we choose to. A lot of cycle experts claim that this is the time when we are at our most creative, productive, and nurturing, so it’s a wonderful week to launch or begin projects we’ve been sitting on and take steps to leading the life we really want.
If sex is painful for you, this may be a good moment to address it. Firstly, you’re more likely to be aroused and feel sexually confident at this time thanks to the cocktail of hormones pumping through your body. So if sex is out during your inner autumn and winter phases because that’s when endo is at its worst, this might be the time when your body is more relaxed and you’re open to sex (as in you want it, not that you’re open to it to please someone else). Of course, I’m not a doctor, but this is my experience and the experience of a lot of women I speak to.
Another way ovulation might help your sex life is with communication. You’re more likely to be strong in your values and self-expression thanks to the confidence brought on by the increase in testosterone and estrogen. So this could be a good time to talk to your partner about the issue, or you might be curious about trying different positions, techniques, resources, or tools to help you overcome the problem.
As you begin to make changes to reduce your endo symptoms and feel better, you may find that ovulation is even more potent and powerful for you. My hope for you is that ovulation can help you maximize on feeling good and living well — even with endometriosis.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.