Ovulation Pain: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Methods

Ovulation Pain: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Methods

12 Sep 2022 | 7 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 75 Articles

Cramps during period are normal and experienced by most women. But do you also experience abdominal pain between your period and in the middle of your menstrual cycle? If yes, chances are, you are having ovulation pain, which is a completely normal (but sometimes painful) result of your ovary releasing an egg. 

Ovulation pain, however, is not experienced by everyone. Nevertheless, if you experience cramping during ovulation, you can use it as a helpful sign to plan your pregnancy. 

In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about ovulation, what ovulation pain or cramps feel like, different symptoms, and conditions that might cause severe pain.

What Is Ovulation Pain?

Ovulation occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle when your ovary releases an egg. During this process, some women may experience pain and cramping in their pelvic area. This pain doesn’t occur at the exact moment your ovary releases an egg, but can be felt a few days before or after your ovulation period. 

Where Does Ovulation Pain Occur?

Ovulation pain
You experience this pain when you are ovulating, and for some women, it occurs every month / Image source: Britannica

Cramping during ovulation can be felt either in the middle or on one particular side of your lower abdominal area or pelvic region. This is because for most people, ovaries take turns ovulating, and each ovary releases an egg per month. So either you are going to feel the pain in the middle, or on a particular side, depending on which ovary is releasing an egg.

For this reason, ovulation pain is also termed mittelschmerz, a German word for middle pain.

Who Gets Ovulation Pain?

While some women experience pain and cramping during ovulation, others do not experience this pain throughout their menstrual period. Since this pain is felt every month mid-cycle, it makes tracking your ovulation easier, and can further help determine your most fertile days for planning a pregnancy. 

For sure shot results, you can also use an ovulation calculator to mark your most fertile days and plan your pregnancy.

Is Ovulation Pain The Same As Period Pain?

Ovulation pain is quite similar to period pain. While some experience a dull and crampy feeling that lasts for a few hours, or even for a couple of days, others may feel a severe or sharp twinge in their abdomen, lasting for a few minutes.

This pain is mostly mild, but in some cases, severe pain may require immediate medical attention. We discuss those situations in the later section of this post.

How Common Is Ovulation Pain?

Up to 50% of women who ovulate experience ovulation pain generally once during their reproductive years. Additionally, about 20% of women experience cramping during ovulation almost every month. 

The only time when you might not experience ovulation pain is when you are on prescribed birth control pills or have a hormonal IUD. If you experience cramps even in these situations, then it’s better to seek medical advice.

Let’s find out what causes ovulation pain, its symptoms, and warning signs that indicate you need to see a doctor immediately.

What Causes Ovulation Pain

While experts aren’t sure about the exact causes of ovulation pain, they usually attribute the following two reasons for cramping and pain:

  • Follicle growth: Normal follicle growth before the ovulation period stretches the outside of your ovary, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Release of follicle fluids: When a follicle naturally ruptures to release an egg during ovulation, it also releases some amount of blood and fluid, which may irritate the surrounding abdominal tissues, causing pain.
  • A sudden spasm of fallopian tubes: As your ovulation period approaches, the uterus and fallopian tubes undergo spasms, causing sudden, sharp pains in your abdomen or the pelvic region that last for a few moments. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Ovulation Pain?

ovulation pain
The symptoms of ovulation pain include abdominal pain or pelvic pain, nausea, and vaginal discharge

Apart from discomfort in your lower abdomen and pelvis region, you may experience the following symptoms while experiencing ovulation pain:

  • Heavy vaginal discharge
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • In some cases nausea, if the pain is severe

How Is Ovulation Pain Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will diagnose your condition based on the exact timing when you experience the pain or cramping sensation. They may ask you to keep a record of your menstrual cycle and keep a mark on when the pain occurs. If they notice that the pain consistently occurs two weeks into your menstrual cycle (midway), then they will diagnose the condition as ovulation pain.

What Tests Do You Need To Determine The Condition?

Besides tracking your menstrual cycle, the doctor may suggest additional tests to determine your condition, and also to rule out the possibility of any other major health concern. You may have an abdominal and pelvic examination, and also an abdominal and vaginal ultrasound

These extensive examinations help detect the risk of other health concerns like ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or appendicitis, and also examine your ovaries thoroughly to determine abnormalities.

In case the doctor finds the test results concerning, or if you are experiencing severe pain, they may recommend follow-up checkups to monitor your condition and administer adequate treatment measures.

How Is Ovulation Pain Treated?

Ovulation pain
You can try at-home treatment methods to relieve the pain or visit your doctor to discuss remedial methods

Most women don’t need dedicated treatment for ovulation pain, as the cramping subsides within a day or two. But if the pain is bothering you or hindering your daily activities, you can take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation of the follicles and relieve pain.

A heating pad or a hot shower can also help soothe mild ovulation pain.

However, if you experience severe pain during ovulation, you can discuss with your doctor about taking hormonal and birth control pills to stop ovulation. But do keep in mind, if you start taking these medications, you won’t be able to conceive. So, if you are planning your pregnancy, you should stay away from such medicines.

Can You Prevent Ovulation Pain?

As discussed, you can take hormonal or contraceptive pills to stop ovulation and thus prevent the pain. However, if you don’t want to take this route, you can discuss with your doctor alternate remedial methods and lifestyle changes to curb the pain.

Conclusion

Ovulation pain is pretty normal and experienced by almost 50% of women in their reproductive lives. The pain is usually mild and may last for about a day or two. However, if you experience severe cramps that interfere with your day-to-day activities, then ensure to book an appointment with a doctor and get a thorough checkup.

This will help pinpoint the cause and offer solutions to relieve the pain and enhance the overall quality of your life.

FAQs

Should I worry about ovulation pain?

Ovulation pain is mostly not a matter of concern, but if you have severe pain, then you should seek immediate medical care. Several cramping and pain could be a sign of endometriosis, appendicitis, or ovarian cysts.

What to do if I have ovulation pain?

Ovulation pain is normal and one of the side effects of your menstrual cycle. It doesn’t affect your health or fertility, but if you are still concerned and want more information about this condition, you can consult a gyanecologist.

Will my ovulation pain help me plan a pregnancy?

Ovulation pain consistently occurs midway through your menstrual cycle. Since while ovulating you are most fertile, the onset of this pain can help you identify your fertile days and help you conceive faster.

How to take care of myself?

You can try at-home treatments to soothe and relieve ovulation pain. Try taking a warm shower or placing a heating pad over the affected area. If needed, you can also consider taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen.

When should I contact my doctor?

Contact your doctor under the following circumstances:

  • High fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pain in your abdomen even after two days
  • Vaginal bleeding

What else should I ask my doctor?

If you experience ovulation pain, ask the following questions to your healthcare provider:

  • Is there something I can do to relieve the pain?
  • What exactly is causing the pain?
  • When should I stop taking birth control pills while planning a pregnancy?
  • Is there a way to prevent ovulation pain?

Featured image: Freepik.com

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