5 Common Ovulation Pains and How to Ease Them

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Originally Published Apr 4, 2019 on womansday | By Karla Walsh

 

By now, you’re well-acquainted with the concept of PMS (and perhaps too familiar with the symptoms that pop up just prior to menstruation), but have you heard of mittelschmerz? Or perhaps, as it’s more commonly know, ovulation pain? About one in five women report this mid-cycle pain, according to Dr. Jimmy Belotte, OB-GYN with Montefiore Health System and associate professor for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York. So even if you’re unaware of the term, you may have experienced the aches.

“If you’re mid-cycle and ovulating, chances are there is a large ovarian cyst waiting to burst and release the egg. The cystic fluid and blood is generally the cause of the pain which irritates the abdominal cavity,” says Dr. Sherry A. Ross, a women’s health expert in Santa Monica, California and the author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period. Ross adds that “tt may take hours or days for the fluid to be absorbed,” but typically the sharp pain on one side of the lower abdomen lasts around 24 hours.

This event tends to set off a series of symptoms that can all be traced back to the egg release. Here are five of the most common ovulation pain issues, and how to mitigate the misery.

1 Lower Back Pain
Ovulation Pain Symptoms Lower Back Ache
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“Pain related to ovulation varies woman to woman and cycle to cycle,” Ross says. “There are many women who don’t experience any pain with ovulation, while others are bedridden from the pain.”

Since the ovaries are centrally located in the pelvis, it’s understandable that this process might lead to lower back pain. This can be sudden and targeted, or it might feel like a dull ache.

How to ease the ovulation pain: Try stretches that target the lower back, reevaluate your posture, and make sure you’re getting plenty of rest (in a comfy bed). Still sore? Pop an anti inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen.

2 Cramps
Cramps Ovulation Pain Symptoms
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Are you experiencing cramps about 14 days from your period? Ovulation is likely the cause.

“Ovulation pain occasionally shows up in the Emergency Department because acute sudden pain can be very uncomfortable and mimic serious illness such as appendicitis,” Dr. Lisa Lewis, a pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas says.

How to ease the ovulation pain: If symptoms are extremely sharp for 12 hours or more, it’s worth visiting your doctor. Otherwise, our experts suggest that you get moving. Not only will it get your blood pumping and boost oxygen circulation from head to toe, but it can also help “build stronger pelvic that might help combat ovulation pain,” Lewis says.

 
3 Light Spotting
Ovulation Pain Symptoms Light Spotting
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It’s not just an issue during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. Spotting can also signal that you ovulating.

How to ease the ovulation pain: If spotting lasts more than 24 hours or gets more severe month to month, see your doctor. And if this is a common problem, talk to your OB-GYN about your contraceptive routine.

“If you experience disruptive pain associated with ovulation or nausea, vomiting, fever, chills or pain with urination, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider and talk about your symptoms and your contraceptive. The birth control pill can be helpful in preventing ovulation, thus preventing pain associated with this mid-cycle phenomenon,” Ross says.

4 Bloating
Ovulation Pain Symptoms Bloating
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Too much salt or fiber isn’t always the cause of a bloating. Fluid and blood may accompany the release of the egg and irritate your stomach lining, which can lead to a distended feeling.

How to ease the ovulation pain: Warm things up. “One of the best ways to help ovulation pain is to relax the muscles of the pelvis. This means laying down with a heating pad, or taking a warm bath,” Lewis says.

For extra relief, nosh on one of the foods proven to help combat bloat.

 
5 Breast Tenderness
Ovulation Pain Symptoms Breast Tenderness
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Hormones are likely the trigger for your tender chest, explain Johns Hopkins Medical pros. Women with breast discomfort related to their menstrual cycle may notice changes and dull pain that spans from ovulation until menstruation.

How to ease the ovulation pain: Vitamin E and vitamin B6 have been shown to reduce breast tenderness. Limiting caffeine and fat intake may help, too, Johns Hopkins researchers add.

And whatever the ovulation pain, if you’re frustrated or feeling less than 100 percent longer than you prefer, don’t be afraid to ask for help, Ross says. “If you are confused and not sure why you’re in pain, either physically or emotionally, during any part of your menstrual cycle, contact your healthcare provider.”

Karla Walsh is a Des Moines, Iowa-based freelance writer and level one sommelier who balances her love of food and drink with her passion for fitness.

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