Ovulation pain is a common occurrence among women during their menstrual cycle. At least 40% of women experience it. Mittelschmerz happens during ovulation and can last a few minutes to two days. Ordinarily, it’s no cause for alarm, but if it lasts three days or longer, you should seek medical attention.
What ovulation pain feels like
During ovulation, you may experience a slight discomfort on your side near your pelvis. The ovulation process starts with the follicular cyst growing and then exploding to release the egg. The release of the luteinizing hormone triggers this. After the egg’s release, the fallopian tube contracts to push it closer to the uterus and prepare it for fertilisation.
Blood and other fluids from the rupture of the follicular cyst can irritate the pelvic cavity and pelvis when they flood the area. You can feel a dull ache or sharp pains. You can also experience spotting or discharge. See a doctor if the pain worsens and continues outside of the ovulation period.
Ovulation pain can manifest as pressure, cramps, and sharp pains in the lower abdomen.
How can you diagnose ovulation pain?
More severe abdominal pain can indicate fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, mild pain during ovulation is most likely mittelschmerz.
Doctors diagnose ovulation pain by asking for your medical history, your menstrual history, and tests such as blood tests, STD tests by swabbing the cervix, and an ultrasound near the abdomen or vagina where the pain occurs or keyhole surgery.
If you experience heavy bleeding, you should see a doctor.
How to manage ovulation pain
Mittelschmerz can be managed with a nice warm bath. You can also rest in bed with a hot water bottle. Non-inflammatory pain relief can also help reduce discomfort.
You can take contraceptives that stop ovulation if the pain is too much. Hormonal birth control stops the secretion of the pituitary hormone. A contraceptive injection can help stop ovulation. The injection contains progestin which increases progesterone levels in the body. It lasts up to three months but needs renewal if you still want to stay on contraceptives.
Read also: Questions To Consider Before Choosing A Birth Control Method
Other causes of midcycle pain
Ovulation pain is brief. In some instances, it can be a sharp pain. Extreme pain can be a sign of other underlying issues. Whenever pain outside your period happens, keep a record of it. Note where, when, how long it lasts, and accompanying symptoms. When you get medical attention, this will make things easier for your doctor. Studies show that women’s reproductive health complications can have delayed diagnoses at an average of 6.7 years for women aged 18-45.
These are the other causes of midcycle pain.
1. Ovarian Cysts
These are sacs that form on the surface of an ovary. They commonly occur during the menstrual cycle. These are known as functional cysts and disappear after a few weeks.
Other ovarian cysts are known as endometriomas. These are also known as chocolate cysts and form when you have endometriosis.
The third type of ovarian cysts is teratomas or dermoid cysts. They are present from birth and can also have skin and hair.
Finally, some cystadenomas contain fluid and can grow very large.
Usually, ovarian cysts are benign. However, postmenopausal people have a higher risk of cancerous ovarian cysts.
Read also: Cysts: Types, Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
This condition is where the uterine tissue, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. It sheds along with the endometrium causing severe pain and cramps. Endometriosis has pain ranging from mild to severe. Other common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, painful sex, infertility, and constipation.
Read also: Health: What You Should Know About Endometriosis
3. Pelvic inflammatory disease
This is an infection of the reproductive system near the ovaries. It also affects the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Bacteria cause PID, including the microbes that cause gonorrhoea and chlamydia. PID can cause urinating pain, abdominal tenderness, irregular bleeding, pain during sex, and fever. If left untreated, it can lead to ectopic pregnancies and infertility.
Health: Common Causes Of Vaginal Pain
4. Ovarian torsion
Torsion refers to when the ovary twists around the ligaments. This cuts off the blood supply to the ovaries. Ovarian torsions can happen due to masses on the ovaries like cysts, PCOS, or tumours. Studies show that pregnancy increases the risk of ovarian torsion by up to 15%.
5. Referred pain
This is when you experience pain in areas near the ovaries or pelvis. It’s not yet known what causes referred pain, but some believe it’s due to how nerves are connected. How pain travels through the nerve network to the brain can injure one area and cause referred pain in a nearby organ. Appendicitis, constipation, kidney stones, pregnancy, and urinary tract infection can lead to referred pain near the ovaries, where you’d feel ovulation pain.
If the pain is mild but accompanied by symptoms like vomiting, sudden shots of pain, and fever, this could be a sign of a cyst or torsion. A recurring pain that increases in its intensity can also be a sign of endometriosis.
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