Mid-Menstrual Cycle Pain (Mittelschmerz)

What Is It?

Some women feel pain in the abdomen or pelvis during ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovary. This usually happens midway between menstrual cycles. The medical term for this is mittelschmerz, which comes from the German words for "middle" and "pain." Some women don't feel anything when an egg is being released from an ovary. Other women may feel intermittent or constant discomfort or pain during ovulation.

Symptoms

Ovulation usually occurs two weeks before the first day of each menstrual period, give or take a couple of days. During this time, you may feel pain in the pelvis that can range from a sense of discomfort or a mild twinge to severe pain that mimics appendicitis. It usually lasts a short period of time, from a few minutes to hours. It often is felt in the lower abdomen or pelvis, either in the middle or on one side. If the pain is severe, it may be accompanied by some mild nausea.

Diagnosis

Pain during ovulation usually is easy to recognize because its timing is so characteristic. Your doctor will be able to determine that you are experiencing pain from ovulation based on your menstrual cycle, the location and description of your pain, and the results of an abdominal and pelvic exam. It is important to let your doctor know about any other symptoms you have, such as fever, vomiting, changes in urination or changes in your bowel movements or appetite.

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