Women experience symptoms that mean they are ovulating, like shifts in their basal body temperature, tenderness of their breasts, and an increased sex drive. Some, however, might also deal with ovulation pain, also known as mittelschmerz.
Mayo Clinic defines mittelschmerz as “one-sided, lower abdominal pain associated with ovulation.” It typically occurs midway through a woman’s menstrual cycle (approximately 14 days before her next period) and can last between a few minutes to a day or two. Usually, the pain occurs on the side of the ovary that is ovulating (releasing an egg cell).
A previous SmartParenting.com.ph article notes that ovulation pain may also come with light vaginal bleeding, discharge, and nausea. According to Verywell Family, ovulation doesn’t necessarily happen at the exact moment the egg is released from the ovary.
The causes of ovulation pain are unclear, but Mayo Clinic notes that, some possible reasons behind it may include follicle growth that stretches the surface of the ovary just before the egg is released and the release of blood or fluid from the ruptured follicle which irritates the lining of the abdomen.
Do all women experience ovulation pain? Dr. Camille A. Clare, M.D., Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York Medical College, says this isn’t the case. “Not everyone who ovulates will experience pain during ovulation. Many women do not have pain at all,” she tells Romper.
In general, mittelschmerz doesn’t require medical intervention and goes away without the need for treatment, says Mayo Clinic. That said, Verywell Family notes that it’s best to seek medical attention if you are experiencing severe pain, vomiting or having severe diarrhea, or having difficulty breathing.
Ovulation pain may be thought of by some women to be a symptom of endometriosis since this condition can cause pelvic pain that becomes severe during a woman’s menstrual cycle and near ovulation. However, endometriosis is not the only cause of abnormal cramps. The safest thing to do is to consult your doctor to learn about what could be causing the pain.
If you deal with ovulation pain and are looking for a way to treat it, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever is one option. You may also try remedies to menstrual cramps, like a warm bath or taking a rest.