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If you have ovulation pain, also called mittelschmerz, you may experience twinging or cramps during ovulation. Other ovulation pain symptoms include light vaginal bleeding and discharge. Most of the time, rest and over-the-counter medications help. But if that doesn’t help may be there is another cause you will know at the end of this article.
What is ovulation pain?
Ovulation pain is pelvic pain that some women have during ovulation. Ovulation is the part of the menstrual cycle when an ovary releases an egg. Ovulation usually happens about halfway between your periods.
Ovulation pain is also called “mittelschmerz.” The term comes from the German words for “middle” and “pain.”
Where does ovulation pain occur?
You typically feel the pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis, in the middle or on one side. You may feel it on the side where the ovary is releasing an egg. (For most people, the ovaries take turns ovulating. Each ovary releases an egg every other month.)
So if the ovary on the right side is releasing the egg, that’s where you’ll feel the pain. Some people find that the pain switches sides from one cycle to the next.
What causes ovulation pain?
The egg develops in the ovary. As it grows, follicular fluid surrounds it. During ovulation, the ovary releases the egg and fluid, along with some blood. Mittelschmerz may happen because of the egg enlarging in the ovary just before ovulation.
The pain may also be due to a ruptured follicle. The egg bursts from the follicle when it’s ready. The burst may cause some bleeding. The blood and fluid from the ruptured follicle may irritate the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), causing pain.
How is ovulation pain treated?
Most people don’t need treatment for mittelschmerz. The pain typically goes away within a day. You can take medication available over the counter such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, (ibuprofen, naproxen or Aleve) to help with the pain.
A heating pad or hot bath may also help provide pain relief.
For severe ovulation pain, talk to your healthcare provider about taking birth control pills.
Can I prevent ovulation pain?
You can prevent ovulation pain by preventing ovulation. Many hormonal contraceptives, including the pill, prevent ovulation.