Mittelschmerz? Achtung. Ovulation Pain

by | September 14, 2018

Ovulation pain (Mittelschmerz – middle pain in German) is a very real thing. Personally, I suffer terribly during ovulation. It’s almost worse than my period. I get cramps, sore breasts, shooting pains and hormonally I’m a mess.

“Some people out there are blissfully unaware of when they’re ovulating. How nice for them. But others may get a painful heads-up in the form of mittelschmerz, which can show up in a few different ways. Some people feel a sharp or dull pain that lasts for hours on one side of the body,” says Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.

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“Others experience a quick cramping sensation that goes away as suddenly as it appears”, Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and director of minimally invasive gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, said.

Either way, “it’s not fun,” Dr. Greves says. “It’s a strange feeling.”

What causes Mittelschmertz?

Experts haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what causes this, but they do know that it is to do with the ovulation process.

Ovulation happens when hormonal fluctuations prompt one of your ovaries to produce a follicle, which ruptures to release an egg, according to the Mayo Clinic. “If you have an average 28-day menstrual cycle, this typically happens around day 12 to 14, when your levels of estrogen peak,” says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. “Of course, the length of your cycle can vary, and so can the day you actually ovulate.”

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According to the Mayo Clinic, Ovulation pain may be caused by follicular growth that stretches the ovary before an egg is released. It could also happen when the follicle bursts, letting the egg loose along with cystic fluid and blood, this can irritate the lining of your abdomen.

“Some months you may have a lot of cystic fluid while other times it might be minimal, which can help explain why you might have mittelschmerz one month and not the next,” says Sherry A. Ross, M.D., a women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period, Still, “there’s no good data to say why some women get it and some don’t,” Dr. Greves says.

How can I relieve the pain?

Anti-inflammatory medication can help to relieve the pain, says Dr Wilder. Also, going on the pill, the patch or NuvaRing could be a good option for you.The hormones released by these contraceptives typically suppress ovulation.

Sudden onset of extreme abdominal pain.

If you’re experiencing ovulation pain (mittelschmerz) every month and it goes from “ok, this sucks but I can handle it” – to –  “my ovaries are going to explode”. Dr. Grieves says it’s wise to speak with your Doctor.

If you suddenly find yourself experiencing extreme pelvic pain that doesn’t get better with time you should call your doctor. It could be a sign of something more sinister such as an ovarian cyst rupture, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Do you suffer from mittelschmerz? Let us know in the comments below.

shepherd's pie, mittelschmerz

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via Julie@raisevegan.com

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