Painful Ovulation or Mittelschmerz

Many women experience pain and discomfort with ovulation, about two weeks before the onset of periods. The pain can be felt on either side of the lower abdomen, which is determined by which ovary is producing the ovum (egg). Mittelschmerz is a German word that is used to technically address this health condition.

Causes of Painful Ovulation

The pain during ovulation is caused because of the stretch of the membrane covering the ovary that happens with the release of the egg. Discomfort is felt with the release of blood and fluid along with the egg from the ovary. The extent of pain differs from woman to woman; many women may not feel the pain or discomfort, while in others it can be intense, lasting for hours or days.

Symptoms of Painful Ovulation

The pain associated with ovulation may be of different types:

• Pain occurring during ovulation (midway between menstrual periods).
• Pain occurring on any one side (either side) of the lower abdomen.
• Pain lasts anywhere from a few hours to 2-3 days.
• Pain occurring every month.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Painful Ovulation

The doctor questions about the timings of occurrence of pain. Pain due to ovulation is sometimes confused with pain due to appendicitis, so this condition must be checked for and ruled out.

Treatment is carried with anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen (Advil), that are effective at blocking the effects of prostaglandins.

Anti-inflammatory medicine can have side effects. People with kidney or bowel problems (ulcers or reflux) should consult with a health care professional before taking any such medication.

Sometimes a heating pad applied to the pelvic region area may prove effective to relieve pain.

If the condition is severe and occurs every month, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) used for birth control may prove effective because it prevents ovulation from taking place and hence, stop the pain from occurring.

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