About 50% of women experience cramping or other abdominal pain during ovulation. There are other signs of ovulation that women should be aware of if they are tracking their monthly cycle. Ovulation symptoms and cramps can help women pinpoint the times of their cycle when they are the most fertile.
Mid-Month Abdominal Pain
While it is not true for all women, most women ovulate in the middle of their cycle, or on day 12 to 14 of a 28 day menstrual cycle. The abdominal pain that accompanies ovulation may be a sharp pain on one side of the abdomen that lasts just a moment or a dull achy feeling that may last from several hours to two days. Not all women that experience abdominal pain have cramps. Ovulation symptoms and cramps that occur in mid-cycle are usually mildly uncomfortable and only last a short time.
Severe Abdominal Pain
Severe abdominal pain is not one of the signs of ovulation, especially if it is accompanied by nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever or dizziness. These symptoms are common for appendicitis and anyone who has severe abdominal pain accompanied by any other symptoms should see a doctor immediately.
Severe pain during ovulation may also indicate other medical problems including endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. These conditions can interfere with fertility and should receive medical treatment.
What Causes Ovulation Symptoms and Cramps?
The levels of the hormone progesterone are highest during ovulation and it is believed that this hormone is responsible for many symptoms. During ovulation, the ovarian follicle ruptures when it releases the mature ovum and medical researchers theorize that this rupture may be responsible for some fluid build-up that may cause ovulation pain. The actual cause of cramps during ovulation is not known and many women do not experience cramping or abdominal pain in the middle of their cycle.
Other Ovulation Signs
Other symptoms of ovulation include very light spotting, increased vaginal discharge, breast tenderness, changes in the senses of taste and/or smell, night sweats and hot flashes. The most reliable method for determining the time of ovulation is basal body temperature which drops slightly about two days before ovulation and rises sharply following release of the ovum. Not all women experience ovulation symptoms and cramps, but basal body temperature changes occur in all women who are ovulating.
How Long Does Ovulation Last?
Although the actual release of the ovum from the ovary takes only a moment, the fertile period of a women’s cycle begins two days before the release of the egg. Sperm are viable for up to 48 hours following intercourse, but an ovum begins to disintegrate after 12 to 24 hours.
The three fertile days of a woman’s menstrual cycle are the two days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. Symptoms like increased vaginal discharge during ovulation occur to facilitate fertilization of the ovum.
Ovulation symptoms and cramps are experienced by at least half of women of childbearing age. While ovulation signs can help in pinpointing the fertile days of a woman’s cycle, they are not always reliable and some women do not experience any discernible symptoms. Women tracking their ovulation cycle can use a basal body temperature calendar to get the most accurate predictions for the time of ovulation.