Ovulation Pain and Cramps: Everything you Need to Know

Do you suffer from period cramps? It may seem normal to most women. But have you ever felt lower abdominal pain in the middle of the menstrual cycle? It could be due to ovulation pain.

Almost 20% – 30% of women suffer from this painful ovulation every month. It’s quite normal in most cases and there’s nothing to worry about, but prolonged and severely painful ovulation is not included. In this article, we will be studying ovulation1 pain and cramps. 

What are Ovulation Pain and Cramps?

Ovulation pain, also known as mittelschmerz (German for “middle pain”), is pain that some women experience during ovulation. The pain is usually felt on one side of the lower abdomen and can range from a dull ache to a sharp cramp.

The exact cause of ovulation pain is not well understood, but it is thought to be caused by the release of the egg from the ovary. Some women may also experience other symptoms during ovulation, such as bloating or breast tenderness. Ovulation pain is usually not a cause for concern and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers.

A Brief Idea on Ovulation

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Ovulation is a part of the menstrual cycle that happens in the mid of the cycle. There are two ovaries in a woman’s body attached to the uterus by a utero-ovarian ligament2. In each cycle, one egg is released from one ovary, and in every menstrual cycle, the egg is released from the alternate ovary.

There are so many follicles growing inside the ovaries throughout the cycle. In the middle of the cycle, they grow into a fluid-filled follicle named Graafian follicle, and the healthiest among them is released. This process is known as ovulation.

After two weeks (14 days) of the release of the secondary oocyte or, the ova, the uterus sheds which causes menstrual bleeding.

What Causes Ovulation Pain?

The exact cause of ovulation pain is not well understood, but it is thought to be caused by the release of the egg from the ovary. When the egg is released, it may cause a small amount of inflammation, which can result in pain or discomfort.

Here are the 4 possible reasons for ovulation cramping.

1. Due to the Ovarian Wall

The stretching of the ligaments and muscles that support the ovaries. The Graafian ruptured follicle lets the egg ooze out of the ovary by rupturing the wall. Sometimes this process may be painful.

2. Fallopian Tubes Contraction

After rupturing the ovarian wall, the ova has to pass through the fallopian tubes3, and during this journey, the tube may contract, causing the cramp.

3. Follicle Growth

When the follicles are growing and suddenly released, they can stretch the ovarian wall causing sharp and sudden twinges. Also, The release of hormones can cause the uterus to contract.

4. Due to Fluid

With a ruptured follicle, there may be some leakage of blood and other fluid which causes tissue irritation, severe discomfort, and middle pain. Blood vessels in the ovary stretch as it fills with fluid.

If you want to know more you can refer to this video.

OVULATION PAIN / Ovulation Symptoms

How Long Does Ovulation Pain Last?

This differs from person to person. It may last from a few minutes to a few hours and up to 2 days in some cases.

Some women may feel the pain before the day of ovulation, and some might get ovulation cramps at the time of ovulation which can last up to the next day of ovulation.

The duration of ovulation pain can vary from woman to woman and can also vary from month to month for the same woman.

In most cases, ovulation pain is a mild, temporary discomfort that does not require medical treatment. However, if the pain persists 4or is severe, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions.

In which parts of my body may I feel Ovulation Cramps?

Normally the pain is felt in the lower abdomen and pelvis on one side. Ovulation pain is typically felt in that one side of the ovary on which you are ovulating on that cycle.

Generally, the ovaries switch sides while ovulating. Each ovary releases an egg every other month.

So if the right side ovary is releasing the egg (secondary oocyte to be precise), that’s where you’ll feel the pain. Due to this, most people find that the cramp switches sides from one cycle to the next.

Symptoms of Ovulation Pain

The symptoms of ovulation pain may vary. It can be a sharp and sudden twinge or maybe a dull ache.

The common ones include:

  • Twinges in the lower abdomen.
  • Dull cramp in some cases.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • One-sided pain.
  • Vaginal discharge.

Roles of Hormones

During the period of the menstrual cycle, there is a huge hormonal change in women’s bodies. The ovulation occurs due to the LH surge, in which the luteinizing hormone is at its peak.

During this time estrogen and progesterone are also present in the body which causes white discharge, and breast enlargement, and helps in developing secondary sex organs.

Also, The release of hormones can cause the uterus to contract.

They can cause mood swings too!

What Does Ovulation Pain Feel Like?

How the ovulation pain feels, is up to interpretation. For some, it may be extremely painful, and unbearable, and some might tell you that it’s better than menstrual cramps.

You may feel extreme pressure on the site of ovulation, or you may feel twinges.

Twinges can be described as if someone had put a string inside your pelvis and someone had pricked it. This kind of sudden and sharp pain women experience during ovulation pain.

Associated Problems of Ovulation Pain

Besides severe ovulation pain, at the time of ovulation, you may feel other problems including:

1. Vaginal discharge

Due to the action of hormones, one might have a heavy white discharge, which is the infertile cervical mucus This is not abnormal but an excessive amount is also not expected.

2. Painful intercourse

Intercourse may be painful during this time for women who feel ovulation pain. Some amount of blood can be released during ovulation, and it may settle down in the lower pelvis. This irritates the surrounding tissues and pain during intercourse.

3. Breast pain during ovulation

Although it is not directly related to ovulation, the gonadal and gonadotropic hormones released in the body act upon the breasts and might cause pain during this period.

How to Deal with it?

You can take over-the-counter pain relievers during the pain. If you are facing it for a long time, and know when it’s going to happen, take pain relievers before a day of ovulation. But taking painkillers for a long is also not recommended.

There are so many home remedies used to treat ovulation pain, the hot bath being the most popular. You can take warm baths to relieve your pain.

You can also relieve your abdominal pain in the lower area using a heating pad.

Watch this video to know more about it.

How to help with mid-cycle pain (mittelschmerz pain)

Ovulation Pain and Pregnancy: What’s the Relation?

Ovulation pain is a good secondary sign of fertility. Why not primary? Because not every single woman experiences painful ovulation. If someone does experience ovulation pain, it can help track the ovulation day, but not be confused with other abdominal pain.

This pain can tell you about your fertility, that you’re ovulating but doesn’t have any relation to pregnancy.

You just can plan your sex by determining the day of ovulation from the painful ovulation you get. That’s it, nothing more to do with pregnancy.

Can Ovulation Pain be Completely Cured?

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

If you take oral contraceptives, you might stop ovulation completely, and if there is no ovulation, the mid-cycle cramps will also be cured completely.

Remember! This hormonal contraception method may also affect a woman’s health and can delay pregnancy (in some cases it gets difficult to conceive if OCPs are taken regularly for a long time).

Do I Need to Worry About It?

Ovulation cramp is quite normal among women. But if something goes beyond its limit, it needs our attention. If it lasts for too long, and you feel severe pain during ovulation, it may want to warn you about the other symptoms of ovulation pain or serious condition.

So, if you feel severe long-lasting pain, excessive vaginal bleeding, or heavy vaginal discharge consult your gynaecologist immediately.

Other Conditions Having Similar Symptoms

Many serious conditions can have similar symptoms as ovulation pain symptoms which include the following:

1. Ectopic Pregnancy

In this underlying medical condition, the implantation of the fetus occurs outside the uterus, mainly somewhere in the fallopian tubes. This is an extremely painful condition and may harm the mother’s body if not treated in time.

2. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in another area of the body such as the lower abdomen and affects the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

3. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI, a major reason is unprotected sex), like Chlamydia or, Gonorrhea affecting women’s reproductive system. They include the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix. This also causes severe pelvic pain.

4. Appendicitis

When there is inflammation in the appendix, severe lower abdominal pain occurs. This needs to be treated as soon as possible.

5. Ovarian Cyst

They are fluid-filled pouches developing into the ovary and cause PCOS and PCOD in most cases. If you want to know more about PCOS and Endometriosis, you may refer to this article.

6. Uterine Fibroids

They are typically benign outgrowths in various parts of the uterus causing pain and vaginal bleeding. Do you want to learn more? Refer to this amazing article.

Apart from these, urinary problems, constipation, and IBS may also cause chronic pelvic pain.

How to Differentiate Ovulation Cramps from Other Lower Abdominal Pains?

The painful ovulation happens only in the middle of the menstrual cycle and it’s one-sided. The other abdominal pains may be differentiated from the ovulation cramps from the time of happening.

In other cases:

  • The sharp pains occur on both sides of the body
  • Pain lasts for several days
  • Pain may be associated with an injury
  • There may be swelling or bloating
  • Painful urination may occur.

When Should I visit my Gynaecologist?

If you are facing the following conditions, you should visit a doctor:

  • Long-lasting high fever.
  • Painful urination.
  • Severe nausea or vomiting.
  • Missed menstrual period.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding and discharge with a pungent smell between periods.
  • Red or itchy skin at the lower pelvis.

If you are facing problems, consult your healthcare provider, get yourself diagnosed and treated, and lead a healthy and happy life!

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Key Takeaways

It is important to note that if you have had a tubal ligation and experience severe pain or other symptoms such as fever, heavy bleeding, or difficulty urinating, it is important to seek medical attention right away as it could be a sign of a tubal pregnancy or other serious condition.

It is important to note that some women may experience ovulation pain and others may not, and it is not always a sign of a serious problem. However, if the pain is severe or accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, heavy bleeding, or difficulty urinating, it is important to consult your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions.


1. Why do I have period cramps like pain during my ovulation days?

Period-like cramps during ovulation can be caused by a variety of factors. One possible explanation is that the cramps are caused by the release of the egg from the ovary, which can cause a small amount of inflammation and pain. Additionally, the contraction of the uterus can also cause cramping.

Another possible explanation is that you might have endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain and discomfort. Ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other conditions can also cause cramping during ovulation.

It’s also possible that your ovulation cramps are related to the menstrual cramps you experience during your period. Some women experience menstrual-like cramps during ovulation, especially if they have a history of heavy or painful periods.

It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your menstrual or ovulation symptoms. They can help you to determine the underlying cause of your pain and recommend appropriate treatment options.

2. How do you locate ovulation pain?

Ovulation pain, also known as mittelschmerz, is typically located on one side of the lower abdomen. The side of the pain depends on which ovary is releasing the egg. The pain can be felt in the form of a dull ache or a sharp cramp and can vary in intensity. Some women may also experience bloating, breast tenderness, or light spotting along with ovulation pain.

It is important to note that ovulation pain can be felt in other parts of the body as well, such as the lower back, thighs, or shoulders, due to the release of hormones that can cause the uterus to contract.

It can be difficult to locate ovulation pain as the ovaries are located deep in the pelvis and the pain can radiate to other parts of the body. Also, ovulation pain can be mistaken for menstrual cramps or other types of abdominal pain. If you have any concerns about your ovulation pain or other symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.

3. If I am experiencing ovulation pain, does it mean I am fertile?

Ovulation pain, also known as mittelschmerz, can be a symptom of ovulation and fertility. However, just because a person is experiencing ovulation pain does not necessarily mean they are fertile, as other factors such as age, overall health, and any underlying medical conditions also play a role in fertility. It is best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine your overall fertility status.

4. How can you relieve pain caused by ovulation after a tubal ligation? What are the reasons why this pain occurs?

If you are experiencing ovulation pain after a tubal ligation, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the cause of the pain and to rule out any underlying conditions. In general, some ways to relieve ovulation pain include:

  1. Over-the-counter pain medication: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
  2. Heat therapy: Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the affected area can help to relieve cramps.
  3. Exercise: Gentle exercises such as walking or yoga can help to reduce cramps.
  4. Relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help to relax the muscles and reduce pain.
  5. Hormonal birth control: If your ovulation pain is severe and affects your daily life, your healthcare provider may recommend hormonal birth control to regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce the frequency and severity of ovulation pain.
  1. Turathum, Bongkoch, Er-Meng Gao, and Ri-Cheng Chian. “The function of cumulus cells in oocyte growth and maturation and in subsequent ovulation and fertilization.” Cells 10.9 (2021): 2292. ↩︎
  2. Uccella, Stefano, et al. “Cervical versus utero-ovarian ligament injection of the tracer for the pelvic sentinel lymph node mapping in gynecologic oncology: A prospective observational study.” Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 87.3-4 (2022): 242-247. ↩︎
  3. Berek, Jonathan S., et al. “Cancer of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: 2021 update.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 155 (2021): 61-85. ↩︎
  4. Carstensen, Laura L., Yochai Z. Shavit, and Jessica T. Barnes. “Age advantages in emotional experience persist even under threat from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Psychological science 31.11 (2020): 1374-1385. ↩︎

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