Women ovulate. Sometimes we do it while walking down the street, during meetings, talking on the phone and even while we sleep. Oh hi mom! I’m good. You? Oh nothing much, just sitting here spontaneously popping out an egg and thinking fondly of you! In fact some of us are probably doing it rightthisverysecond and you wouldn’t even know it! Heck, we might not even know it! Just part of the magic of having lady bits. But some of us know exactly when the egglet is expelled because we do it while doubled over in pain. And up until this month I could only sympathize with that group of ladies.
I’ve always had wicked PMS – cramps, bloating, zits and, my favorite, the everybody-hates-me’s - but my actual eggsplosion has always occurred unnoticed. Occasionally I’d have some jealousy when my friends complained of having mittelschmerz but that was mostly just because they got to use “mittelschmerz” in a sentence. (Seriously, say it! Say it again! SO FUN.) Being able to detect one’s own egg-letting seemed like a cool party trick but I can already pick my nose with my tongue so I was covered on that front.
[Obligatory dude warning: If you're easily squicked out, don't read any further. I don't want to hear any whining. I already have four kids to take care of all my complaining needs.]
Then this month all the weird started happening. You may recall I started drinking 100 ounces of water a day — and then complained when after all that input there was no output. But the weird thing is that even after drinking that much, I’m still super thirsty. I ended up cutting myself off because, me being the happy hypochondriac I am, didn’t want to OD on the H2O. But now I’m also super (duper) bloated. At first I thought maybe I was getting diabetes but a quick consult with Dr. Google showed I have none of the other symptoms. And then my boobs started hurting. Like a LOT. I started to panic since the only time they’ve ever felt like this was when I was pregnant. But no worries, my birth control didn’t fail. So what could it be?
Ovulation syndrome. I finally connected my symptoms to my girly hormones by consulting a menstrual chart. It’s like PMS but during the middle of the month – double your hormones, double your fun! (Truth: I blame every bodily weirdness on my hormones. They’re the terrorists of the body.) Ovulation has three primary symptoms: a change in cervical mucous (helpfully described as going from “slime” to “sticky egg whites”), a spike in basal body temperature, and a change in the firmness of the cervix. But since I’m not trying to get pregnant, I automatically get a Get Out of Cervix Free card. I did all those checks and took my temp every morning when we were spawning but since we’re done I reserve the right to never, ever again have to ask myself whether my uterine opening feels more like “ear cartilage” or “the tip of the nose”. I don’t need to know and I don’t care if I’m ovulating.
But ovulation also has some interesting secondary symptoms:
- Light spotting
- Slight cramping or pain on one side of the pelvis
- Breast tenderness
- Sore nipples
- Abdominal bloating (especially in the lower abdomen)
- Lower voice
- Increased sex drive
- Heightened sense of smell, taste or vision
Well then! If you just look at the last three, it’s practically a super power! (Kinda like when Buffy used her PMS to detect vampires?) Unfortunately you’re not guaranteed all of them and while I have yet to notice a super sniffer or stellar vision, I definitely have numbers 3, 4, and 5. Ugh. Maybe I ovulated triplets this month? Who knows.
So what can I do about my hormone-induced Stay Puft Marshamallow Woman syndrome? The boobs are easily taken care of: wear a bra all the time. But the bloating is not so simple. One website helpfully sympathized, “However, some women may find this quite annoying, as it gives a feeling of fullness and an increase in weight.” DUH. They said the hormones make you crave salty foods and it’s the increased salt intake that is making me retain water like the Hoover Dam. Their solution: “You can get rid of bloating sensation quite easily! The trick is to increase water intake!” AAAGGHHHHHH. I can’t drink any more water. I shouldn’t drink any more water!
The next suggestion was to include foods that dissuade water retention in the body. They didn’t offer any examples and all I could come up with was watermelon and asparagus off the top of my head. Next up was the advice to “follow a routine exercise regimen to keep a check on weight gain and also keep you occupied.” Great, now I’m like a toddler that has to be distracted. Do yoga and pay no attention to your large, bloated belly every time you move! And also, I already work out six days a week. This morning I did a fab park workout even.
Their last tip was to try OTC diuretics. So I did. I hate taking medicine but that’s how desperate I was. And… nothing. Which means that I guess I’m just stuck waiting this one out and hoping my hormones don’t keep stabbing me in the back, er, ovaries. Although I’m worried this is going to segue right in to my regular PMS and I’ll have three weeks of hormone hell this cycle. I’m still holding out hope thought that this won’t become a normal part of my monthly routine! You ladies that have to deal with ovulation crap every cycle have ALL my sympathy. I promise to never again snicker at mittelschmerz. (Okay maybe a little but only because it’s a funny word, not because I don’t feel your pain!)
What’s your eggsplosion like? Any tips for me on reducing the bloating or do I just need to chill out, put on my stretchy pants and wait for the tide to ebb on its own? This can’t possibly be perimenopause can it? I’m only 35!!