Should You Be Concerned About Your Painful Ovulation?
Many women expect the monthly hassle of symptoms related to our period. While we know that the bloating, cramping, headaches and food cravings are par for the course, what about mid-cycle pain? About 20 percent of women experience painful ovulation midway through their cycle each month. The good news is mid-cycle ovulation is rarely a concern.
Painful mid-cycle ovulation is referred to as Mittelschmerz which is German for “middle pain”. If you are not sure if you have Mittelschmerz it is typically described as a sharp ache or biting pain that reduces gradually over the next few hours. The pain can also be accompanied by cramps, spotting, and nausea. Some women’s Mittelschmerz is more severe and can be quite disruptive. Sometimes these symptoms can be mistaken for appendicitis.
If your painful ovulation only occurs occasionally, this is a normal trait of Mittelschmerz. Some women experience painful ovulation every month, but most women only experience it every 3-4 months. The symptoms can occur on both sides of your abdomen, but is typically more prevalent on the right side. Your symptoms may flare up when you are working out or having intercourse. Frequent urination and diarrhoea or constipation may accompany your Mittelschmerz. You should be feeling better within 6-8 hours after your mid-cycle Mittelschmerz begins—for some women it takes up to a full day to disappear.
Why Does Painful Ovulation Occur?
If you are wondering why this painful ovulation occurs you are not alone. During ovulation our ovaries sometimes release a small amount of blood. While this is not a concern, our body has to reabsorb the excess blood. The process of absorbing the blood causes the symptoms associated with Mittelschmerz. The more severe your symptoms, the more blood your body has released and is reabsorbing. Mittelschmerz does not lead to any serious health conditions, but its symptoms are similar to other medical conditions such as PCOS and fibroids.
To ensure that your symptoms are Mittelschmerz consult with your medical professional.
How Does Ovulation Pain Feel?
The experience of ovulation pain can vary from woman to woman. Based on anecdotal evidence we can see some common symptoms:
- The pain is usually felt on one side of the abdomen.
- From cycle to cycle the pain may randomly alternate from one side to another. This is because ovulation take place on a random side with each cycle.
- Many women report a dull ovulation pain that can last for a few minutes, up to many hours. Other women suggest that the pain can be sharp, sudden and over in seconds.
- Most of the time, the pain is mild but it can often be sometimes be incorrectly mistaken as appendicitis.
How Is Painful Ovulation Diagnosed?
If you think that the symptoms you are experiencing may be Mittelschmerz it is still a good idea to consult with your medical professional. Your physician will determine if your painful ovulation is Mittelschmerz by assessing what time in your cycle your symptoms occur. To assist your physician it is helpful if you document when your painful ovulation occurs and the frequency of your menstrual cycle.
Most of the time Mittelschmerz can be diagnosed without any tests or procedures. If your physician is not able to confirm that your symptoms are Mittelschmerz they may opt to perform a laparoscopic procedure. This would be a minimally invasive procedure that will allow a clear view of your reproductive and pelvic organs. You may also need to have other tests and blood work done to properly diagnose your symptoms.
If the discomfort of painful ovulation is causing anxiety in your life, make sure to take your time in getting a clear diagnosis. There is no need to rush into unnecessary medical procedures.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2015.