Ovulation Pain: Symptoms, Length, And Fertility
Ovulation pain is experienced by as many as 1 in 5 women the world over. It manifests as a sharp, sudden ache on one side of the abdomen approximately mid-way through your menstrual cycle. It is sometimes referred to as mittelschmerz pain after the German word for middle.
Understanding what ovulation pain is and learning more about it is important for many reasons. In this post, we will be understanding more about this common phenomenon and try to answer some important questions, including:
- What is ovulation pain?
- How long does ovulation pain last?
- What are the causes of such pain in the middle of your cycle?
- Are there other reasons besides ovulation that can cause such pain?
So, if you had been wondering about that pinching pain in your abdomen roughly mid-way in your menstrual cycle, keep on reading!
What does Ovulation Pain feel like?
The mittelschmerz pain experienced by you might be significantly different from the pain experienced by someone else. Hence, it isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly how it feels. However, most women feel one of the following sensations that can be classified as ovulation pain:
- Dull pain on one side of the abdomen
- Sharp pain occurs that is almost like a pinch
- A pain occurs that is constant, meaning that it does not worsen over time
- Spotting or bleeding
- Pain occurs that switches sides every cycle
For most women, ovulation pain is mild to moderate. If you experience severe pain, contact your healthcare provider immediately, it might be due to some other reason. We will discuss the potential causes of such sharp pain a bit later in the post.
How long does the mittelschmerz pain last?
For most women, the ovulation pain lasts for a few seconds up to a minute or two. You might experience the pain for about 1-2 days but no longer than that.
The pain is not consistent either. If you chart your menstrual cycle, you will notice that the pain pattern can shift from one cycle to another. It can be a dull pain in one cycle that lasts for a few seconds, and sharp pain occurs in a different cycle that lasts longer. Some women might even feel light cramps during some cycles.
It’s a good habit to track your menstrual cycle. Start today if you don’t already. You will start to notice a pattern in your ovulation pain. If the pain continues for more than a couple of days, seek medical help.
Can you detect ovulation and peak fertility through mittelschmerz pain?
Most women experience ovulation pain roughly in the middle of their cycle. Based on a 28-day cycle, most sources say that you should experience it on day 14 of your cycle. Considering this as a standard, we can predict the peak fertility window between 12 and 13 days.
The estimate of the 14th day is not without its issues. Many women have significantly shorter (21 days) or longer (35 days) menstrual cycles. In such cases, the 14th-day estimate will be very inaccurate. Even if you have a 28-day cycle, the duration of your cycle can change from one cycle to the other. Hence, for many women who have a shorter or longer menstrual cycle, accurate peak fertility predictions can’t be made using ovulation pain alone.
However, you can use the ovulation pain to indicate when your body undergoes a Luteinizing Hormone (LH) surge. Hence, monitoring both the LH surge and ovulation pain can give you a much more accurate picture of your fertility window.
Fertility2Family’s ovulation tests and fertility kits detect the LH surges to predict exactly when you are ovulating and your peak fertility window with accuracy. You can use the ovulation kit and the ovulation pain in tandem to track your peak fertility window with a great degree of confidence.
What causes ovulation pain?
The source of ovulation pain is still a medical mystery. No one seems to know the exact cause of why mittelschmerz pain occurs. However, most healthcare professionals agree on some likely reasons, including:
- Rupturing of ovarian follicles: Once the ovarian follicles are mature and ready to release an egg, they form a cyst and rupture. Some experts seem to credit the pain to these ruptured follicles.
- Irritation from the fluid: Once the egg is released from the ovary, the fallopian tube contracts releasing small amounts of fluid and blood. Irritation due to this can also be the source of the pain.
- Inflammation: The ovulation process can cause significant inflammation in the abdomen area, leading to a painful sensation.
We can say with some confidence that the pain occurs due to the process of ovulation itself. Although it is an unpleasant experience, it is completely natural.
How can you treat ovulation pain?
In most cases, you don’t need anything to treat ovulation pain. It goes away on its own. However, some over-the-counter medications and some home remedies can be of help if you need them. Some of the best options include:
- NSAIDs: Over-The-counter pain-relieving medications such as Naproxen, Acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen can help in relieving the pain a bit.
- Heating pad: Applying some heat with the help of a heating pad can soothe the cramps associated with ovulation pain. Just ensure that you don’t fall asleep while using the heating pad.
- A hot bath: Baths can be soothing, especially if you experience a dull pain that lasts for a day or two.
- Relaxation: Decreasing any strenuous activity and letting your body relax is the best thing you can do during ovulation pain.
If the pain is too much and not trying to get pregnant, you can start oral contraceptives after consulting with your doctor. The hormones in these pills stop ovulation and the associated pain.
Other causes of mittelschmerz pain
Other reasons besides ovulation can cause pain in the ovaries or the region near to ovaries. Pelvic pain is quite common amongst women, and some causes can be:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Infections in the urinary tract
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Ectopic pregnancy
Most of these conditions can cause irritation, swelling, cramping, etc. However, the pain associated with these conditions is generally much more severe compared to ovulation pain.
If you experience any unusual pain during your menstrual cycle, talk to your health care provider immediately. It is important to resolve any issues related to your reproductive health before they get out of hand.
When in doubt, it is best to consult your doctor. Being proactive can help women prevent any potential complications and ensure good reproductive health.