Ovulation Pain – Cramps, Headaches, Migraines

Ovulation pain is also called “mittelschmerz”, a German word for middle pain. Not all women experience pain during ovulation and those who do may not recognize the connection between mid-menstrual cycle cramps and ovulation. The pain is usually mild to moderate and located on either the left or right side of the abdomen. There are different types of ovulation pain and cramps, but identifying them can not only be a telling sign of ovulation, but also help women determine the day of ovulation to help or avoid conception.

What Causes Pain During Ovulation?

Medical professionals do not know why some women feel pain when ovulating and others do not. It is believed the pain occurs when a mature egg is released by an ovarian follicle. The follicle ruptures when releasing the egg and there is a very small amount of bleeding. The pain may be associated with the ruptured ovarian follicle or it may be a side effect of the hormonal changes, particularly the sharp rise in progesterone, that occur during the ovulation cycle.

Ovulation Cramps

Ovulation cramps are the most typical type of ovulation pain women experience. Ovulation cramps are normally not as severe as menstrual cramps and may occur 7 to 12 days after the first day of your last period. This time period is usually indicative of cramps associated with ovulation and can be a good, reliable sign.

How Long Does The Pain Last?

In some women, the ovulation symptoms of pain are a dull achy feeling that lasts anywhere from several hours to two days, but others may only have a single sharp pain in one side of the abdomen that lasts for only a moment. The pain is normally mild and does not interfere with a woman’s daily life. There are some medical conditions which may cause severe pain, which is not one of the usual ovulation signs and women experiencing excruciating and recurring pain that is severe enough to prevent them from engaging in normal activities should see a doctor as soon as possible. This is not a normal sign of ovulation and may be indicative of another health condition.

Migraines and Headaches

Some women may be prone to migraines and severe headaches; however, women suffering an increased number of migraines or a surge in severity may categorize their pain as an ovulation symptom. Doctors and researchers have not been able to identify why this occurs, and unfortunately, it is recommended that women trying to get pregnant forgo their normal migraine medication.

When To Consult A Doctor

If ovulation pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, high fever or difficulty breathing, immediate medical treatment should be sought. These symptoms are associated with serious medical conditions, such as ovarian cysts and appendicitis, which all require immediate treatment. Although most ovarian cysts are harmless and benign, they can cause infertility or infection. While mild to moderate pain is a sign of ovulation experienced by about 20% of women, severe pain is not normal and a medical professional can determine if the pain is caused by ovulation or a more serious medical problem.

Reasons For Severe Pain During Ovulation

Women taking fertility drugs may feel severe pain during ovulation due to ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. Severe pelvic pain during ovulation or during sexual intercourse may be a symptom of endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. The complications from these medical conditions can be serious so women with severe pain should consult a doctor immediately. Ovulation pain is typically mild and should not be disabling or severe, and is a one of the more common signs of ovulation.

Ovulation Symptoms As Indicators of Fertility

Ovulation pain is not considered a reliable predictor of fertility. The best way to predict future fertile periods is to use a basal body temperature calendar and to chart all the signs of ovulation each month. Ovulation signs include increased vaginal discharge, spotting, breast tenderness, heightened senses of smell and/or taste and a small decrease in basal body temperature followed by a sharp increase. Charting all the symptoms of ovulation can help women pinpoint their fertile days. All of these symptoms are discussed in greater detail on our website.

Ovulation pain is not experienced by all women and is not a reliable indicator of ovulation since it may be caused by indigestion or even appendicitis. Women who suffer severe pain during ovulation should consult a doctor immediately to rule out more serious medical problems.