Ovulation pain

Ovulation is seldom accompanied by major difficulties or complications. Most common is probably pain, which can vary a great deal among different women. Up to 20% of all women experience anything from some type of barely noticeable sensations to pain in connection with ovulation. Another way of referring to this pain is mittelschmertz or ovulation pain.


Many women are familiar with the feeling of mittelschmerz. There are differences between various women as to how the pain is experienced. Some experience short-term pains or cramps which are hardly noticeable, while others experience more noticeable pain which can continue for a couple of days.

The pain is felt primarily in the lower part of the abdomen and pelvis. It appears approximately half-way through the menstrual cycle. The pain emerges suddenly, and under normal conditions disappears within a couple of hours. The length of the pain can vary from so little as a couple of minutes, up to several days.

In order to ascertain if it is mittelschmertz, it is often sufficient evidence that the pain occurs in the middle of the woman’s cycle. Sometimes an examination of the pelvis can be carried out to achieve a more certain diagnosis. If an examination does not exhibit any discrepancies and the feelings of pain are present in the middle of the woman’s cycle, it is ovulation pain. When the pain is more marked or longer-lasting, one may conduct an ultrasound examination of the abdomen, in order to dismiss other causes. The pain can be misdiagnosed as inflammation of the appendix.

Why you experience pain
There are several reasons why a woman may be affected by ovulation pain:

  • Ovarian follicles or egg follicles can swell in the ovaries prior to ovulation. While only one or two eggs mature and are released, a number of ovarian follicles may grow during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. The swelling may cause pain in both sides of the abdomen
  • Ovarian wall rupture. This occurs when the ovaries does not have any openings. The egg then breaks through the wall of the ovaries. When this occurs, the egg release (ovulation) can be painful
  • The fallopian tubes contract. Contraction of the fallopian tubes after ovulation can cause pain
  • Pain may arise by smooth muscle cell contractions. The pain can be related to the contraction of the smooth muscle cells and their ligaments within the ovary
  • A potential cause of pain is irritation. During ovulation, blood and other fluids are released from the ruptured egg follicle. This may cause irritation of the abdominal lining

Is the pain dangerous?
The pain which accompanies ovulation is not dangerous, nor is it a sign of sickness. There is no need for treatment, however, to ease the pain, one can use painkillers.