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Ovulation pain, also known as mittelschmerz pain, is pelvic and lower abdominal pain that some women may experience during the time they are ovulating. These aches and pains can range from mild to severe discomfort and can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours.
Ovulation pain is usually only felt on one side of the abdomen or pelvis. The side of the pain also varies from month to month depending on which ovary is releasing the egg that month. Some women may also experience light bleeding or spotting when they ovulate as well as discharge. If one experiences severe pain, they may become nauseous and also experience severe headaches.
What Causes Ovulation Pain?
When an egg develops in the ovary, follicular fluid is surrounding it. As a woman ovulates, both the egg and the fluid as well as some blood are released from the ovary. While the exact cause of ovulation pain is still unknown, it is believed that the lining of the abdominal cavity may be irritated by this fluid or blood. In turn, this is what may be causing ovulation pain. Soon after the egg is released or absorbed by the body, the pain subsides.
What Does Ovulation Pain Feel Like?
Ovulation pain may vary from person to person. For some, it may be dull and achy. Others may feel stabbing or jabbing pains and some may feel as though they are cramping like they do when they have their period.
Is the Pain Being Felt Due to Ovulation?
Usually, ovulation occurs 2 weeks after ones start of her menstrual cycle, but this varies for each individuals cycle length. If the timing of the pain is about 2 weeks away from the start of a new cycle, then it could very well mean ovulation. If one sees a doctor for the pain, they will ask to keep a log of cycles and when the pain is being felt, as well as location and for how long. They may also perform a pelvic exam to rule out any other health concerns such as cysts on the ovaries or endometriosis.
How Can Ovulation Pain Be Treated?
Normally within 24 hours, any ovulation pain goes away. One can take over the counter medication to relieve any pain and discomfort. It also helps to apply heating pads or warm compresses to the site of the pain as well as taking a warm bath. Gentle stretches can also relieve the muscle tension in the area of the pain as this can intensify it. The only way to fully prevent ovulation pain is by taking estrogen-progesterone birth control pills which prevent ovulation from occurring altogether.
When to Call a Doctor for Ovulation Pain
There are a few symptoms to keep in mind when experiencing ovulation pain. If one experiences fever, frequent urination, redness or burning at the site of the pain or vomiting and mid-cycle pain lasting more than a day, then it is smart to make an appointment with the doctor. This also includes nausea, vaginal bleeding that is more than just a little spotting, diarrhea, swelling and bloating. Also, if one missed her last menstrual period along with pain, she should call her doctor as well.
Ovulation pain is quite common and not usually a cause for concern. Many times, one may only experience ovulation pain after already having a baby as they are more in tune with their body. Ovulation pain may also be of benefit to those who are trying to get pregnant as it lets them know it is prime time for conceiving. But whenever there is concern or severe pain and symptoms, it is always a great idea to double check with a doctor to confirm everything is okay.
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Sources: Painful Ovulation (Mittelschmerz)
What Does Ovulation Pain Mean?