Symptoms, Causes & Treatment for Pain During Ovulation
Ovulation is the process where a mature egg is released from the ovaries. Ovulation occurs around the fourteenth day of an average 28-day menstrual cycle from the time of menarche to menopause except during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Common symptoms of ovulation include changes in vaginal discharge, breast tenderness, an increase in libido, and a slight decrease followed by an increase in the basal body temperature. In addition to these symptoms, many women complain of ovulation pain before and during the process of ovulation. Also known as 'mittelschmerz', which is German for 'middle pain,' this mid-cycle pain can vary in intensity from one woman to the next.
Some women experience the pain for a few minutes whereas others report an ache in their lower abdomen for up to 48 hours. Ovulation pain in most cases is not a cause for worry. However, if the pain persists for more than three days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as bleeding or nausea, immediate medical attention is required.
What are the symptoms of ovulation pain?
Symptoms of ovulation can include:
- A pain in the lower abdomen
- The pain is usually felt on either the left or the right side depending on which ovary releases the egg during ovulation
- The pain can occur on the right side in one cycle and on the left in the next or remain on the same side for a few cycles at a time
- The pain is felt approximately fifteen days before the next expected period
- Pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp twinge or severe cramps to an uncomfortable pressure in the pelvic region
What Causes the Pain?
While the exact cause for ovulation pain remains unknown, there are two main theories that exist:
- Hormones control the production of egg-containing follicles in the ovaries. In every cycle, only one follicle and egg matures and survives. Experts believe that the stretching and extension of this surviving follicle into the membranes of the ovary causes the ovulation pain.
- Others believe that when the follicle ruptures and releases the mature egg, the uterine lining may get affected or irritated and cause the ovulation pain. When the follicle ruptures, light spotting or bleeding may also follow, which is another sign of ovulation.
Severe pain during ovulation is not normal. In such cases, an underlying medical condition may be causing the pain such as:
- PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Infection of the fallopian tubes
- Ovarian cysts
- Ovulation Hyperstimulation Syndrome
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Gastro-intestinal problems
In order to diagnose whether the cause of ovulation pain is harmless or needs medical attention, a physical examination is conducted along with tests such as blood tests, cervical cultures, vaginal and abdominal ultrasounds or laparoscopic surgery.
How to Treat Ovulation Pain?
If the cause of the ovulation pain is not serious and does not require medical treatment, there are simple ways to reduce the discomfort such as:
- Rest – If the pain is too uncomfortable, putting your feet up and relaxing can help in most cases.
- Medication – Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are often your best bet when it comes to dealing with benign ovulation pain.
- Heat therapy – Hot water bottles placed over the abdomen or a warm bath can do wonders in helping to reduce pain and abdominal cramps.
- Oral contraceptive pills – If the ovulation pain is persistent, birth control pills can help because they stop the process of ovulation. Speak to your doctor about the alternatives.
Pain during ovulation
Do you ever have a pain in your abdomen, usually once a month, that you can’t put down to period cramps or eating prawns past their use-by date?
Then you could be suffering from ovulation pain – a common issue for one in five women, which can also sometimes be a sign of gynaecological problems such as endometriosis.
Who suffers from ovulation pain?
Around one in five women suffer from ovulation pain, often occurring when a woman’s ovary releases an egg as part of her menstrual cycle. That means a painful abdomen once a month, often two weeks either side of a period. Ovulation pain is usually completely normal and just another side effect associated with menstruation.
Why does ovulation pain happen?
Experts have a few different theories as to why ovulation pain occurs, one being that the pain is the egg breaking through the ovary wall, or due to contraction of the fallopian tubes after ovulation. Another theory is that the pain may be due to blood or fluid released from the ruptured follicle during ovulation.
What does it feel like?
It could be a sharp pain, cramps or twinges, usually occurring on either the left or right side of a woman’s lower abdomen, depending on which ovary is releasing the egg. There is no hard and fast rule – the pain can alternate between right and left sides each month, or it can affect predominantly one side of the abdomen. The duration of the pain also varies between different women, from a few minutes to 48 hours, with some women also complaining of nausea. In the worst cases, it can be mistaken for appendicitis.
When is it more serious?
While painful ovulation is fairly common in women and doesn’t lead to other problems, painful ovulation can also be a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), ovarian fibroids or endometriosis. If you are concerned, see your GP and keep a diary beforehand, so you can let your doctor know exactly when in your menstrual cycle ovulation pain occurs, the level of pain on each day and how long it lasts.
What happens next?
Your doctor will look at your diary, along with your medical history and conduct a physical exam to assess the cause of the pain. If your pain is severe or if anything crops up in your medical or physical exams, you may have a vaginal or abdominal ultrasound, blood tests or X-ray to determine the cause of the pain. Following that, as a last resort, you may be recommended to undergo keyhole surgery to try and resolve the issue.
What else can help ease ovulation pain?
If the pain is getting you down, take a painkiller and rest in bed as much as possible. Warmth can also act as pain relief, so use heat packs, hot water bottles or warm baths. The Pill can also prevent ovulation pain, as it stops ovulation: talk over this option with your GP and always see your doctor if ovulation pain lasts longer than three days, or is accompanied by heavy bleeding or discharge.
This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot, Australia’s best family health resource
Ovulation pain in late pregnancy
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Ovulation Symptoms and Pregnancy
Ovulation and pregnancy symptoms are believed to be caused by increased levels of the hormone progesterone and the fact that symptoms of early pregnancy are often similar to those experienced during ovulation. The difference is that ovulation symptoms usually subside shortly after ovulation occurs while symptoms of pregnancy will only increase in frequency and severity as the fetus develops.
Below, we discuss and differentiate between the signs of ovulation and pregnancy to help women and expecting mothers prepare.
Swollen or Tender Breasts
Many women have breast tenderness just before they ovulate, but the tenderness usually ends after a day or two. If breast tenderness continues after ovulation, it may be an early symptom of pregnancy, which can begin as early as one or two weeks after conceptions.
Although tenderness is the only symptom experienced by most women during ovulation, pregnant women may see darkening of the color of the areola around the nipple, and more rarely, may have goose bump-like skin patches, called Montgomery’s tubercles, around the areola and nipples.
Nonetheless, other explanations for swollen or sore breasts can include hormonal changes or imbalances, your birth control or the arrival of your period.
Lower Abdominal Pain
Another of the shared ovulation and early pregnancy symptoms is a dull ache or bloated feeling in the lower abdomen, sometimes even in the form of a backache. During ovulation, this pain or cramping tends to more noticeable on one side of the abdomen, but as an early pregnancy symptom, it is typically general discomfort.
It may be accompanied by frequent urination which is not one of the ovulation signs, but is a possible indicator of pregnancy. As with other signs of ovulation, abdominal discomfort is short lived and lasts only about two days during the release of an ovum.
Nausea and Vomiting
Unlike breast tenderness and lower abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting (known as morning sickness) are not ovulation symptoms and are most likely an indication of pregnancy. Many women experience morning sickness between 2 to 8 weeks after conception, as their hormone levels change. In a fairly rare condition, called hyperemesis gravidarum, vomiting will persist throughout the pregnancy and may cause dehydration if not treated.
Women who have nausea and vomiting after ovulation should take a pregnancy test to confirm or rule out pregnancy as a cause of their symptoms. On the other hand, some women are fortunate enough not to experience any nausea or morning sickness at all and other causes may be food poisoning, stress, and/or stomach disorders.
Changes In The Senses
Some women report a heightened sense of taste or smell as a sign of ovulation, but changes in the senses of taste and smell are also fairly common indicators of early pregnancy. The difference between a pregnancy and ovulation symptom is the duration and severity of the change.
During ovulation, the symptom may last a day or two, but pregnant women often find they like or dislike the taste of foods they previously hated or loved. This can last through all 9 months of your pregnancy. The smell of certain foods and substances may bring on a bout of nausea or vomiting throughout the course of the pregnancy.
Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
While not a common problem, night sweats and hot flashes can be ovulation symptoms or pregnancy signs. These symptoms are believed to be caused by increases in the hormone progesterone, and both ovulation and pregnancy cause the blood levels of this hormone to rise.
Women who have never experienced these symptoms during ovulation may want to take a pregnancy test. Women over 40 who experience night sweats and hot flashes may be beginning menopause which causes fluctuations in hormone levels. Stress, depression, and breast cancer can also cause hot flashes or night sweats.
Ovulation symptoms and pregnancy indicators are often similar with the primary difference being the duration of the symptoms. If ovulation symptoms persist for more than a day or two, they may actually be early symptoms of pregnancy.
Http://www. pregnancy-baby-care. com/articles/1132/preconception/pain-during-ovulation. html
Http://www. kidspot. com. au/birth/conception/getting-pregnant/pain-during-ovulation/news-story/b1e8dbd3d8a971a420c2926fd0c053d4
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Http://www. theovulationsymptoms. com/ovulation-symptoms-and-pregnancy/