Ovulation Pain: Symptoms, Length, And Fertility

by Sep 23, 2019

Do you ever experience a sudden ache on one side of your abdomen? Does it happen approximately halfway through your cycle? This may be ovulation pain, and 1 out of 5 women experience the sensation.

It’s essential to learn about it for numerous reasons. Mid cycle pain is also referred to as mittelschmerz pain, the German word meaning middle. Aside from that interesting fact, you’ll discover:

  • What ovulation pain feels like.
  • Suspected causes of ovulation pain.
  • Mid cycle pain that’s not due to ovulation.

We’ll cover precisely what you must know about this part of your reproductive health. Read on to review facts, details, and healthcare tips to see what this cycle symptom is all about.

What Does Ovulation Pain Feel Like?

It’s hard to pinpoint precisely what ovulation pain feels like because it’s unique for every woman. You may experience one or more of the following sensations:

  • A dull ache.
  • Cramping.
  • A sharp pain.
  • Pain that doesn’t increase or worsen.
  • Pain on one side of the abdomen.
  • Ovulation bleeding or spotting
  • Pain that switches sides each cycle.

In most cases, the abdominal pain women feel experience minor to moderate. If you ever experience severe ovulation pain, there may be another cause. You’ll learn more about potential causes later in this post.

How Long Does Ovulation Pain Last?

For many women, ovulation pain usually lasts for a few seconds or minutes. It may be present for up to 1-2 days, but it shouldn’t last longer than that.

If you track your cycle, you may notice that the pain isn’t consistent. You may feel a dull ache for a day during one cycle for a few minutes the next. It may also feel like menstrual cycle cramping during one cycle, and a small twinge during future cycles.

Start tracking your cycle if you haven’t already, and you may notice patterns or symptoms of ovulation pain. If you have pain that lasts longer than two days, speak to your healthcare provider.

Can You Detect Peak Fertility Through Ovulation Pain?

Ovulation pain occurs in the middle of your cycle – multiple sources say day 14 based on a 28-day cycle. That would mean peak fertility occurs on day 12 and day 13.

The 14-day estimate is problematic because cycles may last 21 to 35 days. Your personal cycle length can change periodically, too. Many women’s bodies don’t adhere to the standard 28 day cycle; therefore, ovulation pain can’t detect peak fertility.

Fortunately, there is a helpful hint that ovulation pain may give you. Ovulation pain occurs approximately when your surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) occurs. Monitoring your LH levels and ovulation pain simultaneously is more reliable for detecting peak fertility.

Mira’s ovulation tracking kit lets you detect the exact amount of LH in your system. This gives you better feedback and accuracy than drugstore OPKs. The automatic charting tells you a lot about your cycle.

You can record details about your ovulation pain in the Mira app. Making note of when pain occurs and measuring LH levels helps you detect your individual cycle patterns.

Having a hard time tracking ovulation? Mira takes the guesswork out by measuring your actual fertility hormone concentrations! Sign up today for exclusive Mira content and discounts!
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What Causes Ovulation Pain?

No one knows precisely why ovulation pain occurs. Healthcare experts agree on a few likely  causes of ovulation pain:

  • Ruptured follicle – Follicular cysts swell and rupture, and an egg is released from the ovary. Ruptured follicles may be a source of pain.
  • Irritation from fluid –  After an egg is released, your fallopian tube contracts to help it reach sperm for fertilization. Fluid and blood that are released may cause irritation, too.
  • Inflammation – The entire ovulation process can cause inflammation. Inflammation in the abdominal area leads to pain.

Overall, pain is caused due to how ovulation occurs. It’s unpleasant yet natural to experience. With swelling, rupturing, and increased fluid, it’s understandable for women to feel discomfort.

How Can You Treat Ovulation Pain?

In most instances, you can treat ovulation pain without medical intervention. Over-the-counter medications and home remedies are commonly used. Some of your treatment options include:

  • NSAIDs – These are over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen. They relieve swelling and general pain.
  • Heating pad – A heating pad can soothe cramp-like pain and soothe your abdominal area. Apply one as needed to alleviate discomfort, but never sleep with a heating pad on.
  • Hot bath – The soothing sensation of hot baths is ideal when pain lasts for several hours or 1-2 days. Use them in conjunction with other options for longer-lasting relief.
  • Relaxation – During ovulation pain, don’t put extra stress on your body. Do what is possible to decrease strenuous activity. Rest may help reduce your pain.

If pain is persistent and you’re not trying to conceive, you may speak with your OBGYN about oral contraceptives. The hormones in oral contraceptives stop ovulation, so you won’t feel the associated pain.

Other Causes Of Ovarian Pain

Ovarian pain isn’t necessarily caused by ovulation. There are multiple reasons women experience pelvic pain in their abdominal cavity. The causes of pain include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Ovarian cysts

All of these health problems are likely to cause irritation, swelling, cramping, and more. The primary difference is that the severity of pain is worse than ovulation pain.

If your pain seems unusual, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your medical care provider. Untreated reproductive health disorders are crucial to resolve.

It’s best to be safe and get evaluated, even if you feel unsure about your level of pain. Being proactive may help ensure healthy ovulation and fertility.

✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG

Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOGBanafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treatingcouples and individuals with infertility since 2014.

Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation.

Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.

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