What You Should Know About Cramping During Ovulation
Ladies, many of us know how it feels to have cramps during the menstrual phase of our cycles, right? But what about those of us who get mid-cycle pain? Does ovulation cause cramps? If so, why do some of us experience cramping when ovulating while others don’t? Most importantly, is ovulation pain something we should worry about, or is it normal?
Just as different women experience different period symptoms, ovulation cramping and discomfort are different from woman to woman. Some women don’t feel any ovulation pain at all! But if you do, here’s what you should know about this common occurrence and what’s happening in your body when you feel pain during ovulation.
What Are Cramps and Why Do We Get Them?
When we feel pelvic pain known as cramping, what’s going on inside our bodies? The answer depends on what time of the month we’re experiencing the pain. Regular menstrual cramps are thought to be caused by a combination of things, such as hormone imbalances that cause premenstrual syndrome and an over-abundance of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances associated with pain.
But cramping during ovulation is a little different from typical menstrual pain. The basics of ovulation pain are pretty easy to understand. When the body ovulates, it expels a ripe egg from the fallopian tube and through the ovarian follicle. The egg stretches the follicle during its exit and causes painful ovulation in some cases. Usually, this pain only occurs on one side of the lower abdomen (because only one follicle releases an egg each month).
Pelvic pain during ovulation can also be caused by irritation of the peritoneum (abdomen lining) due to the release of blood and fluid from the ruptured follicle. Mid-cycle cramping is also known as Mittelschmerz pain (try saying that five times fast). It’s a German word that means “middle pain.”
In addition to the cramping caused when the egg released from the ruptured follicle, mid-cycle pain can also come from the implantation of a fertilized egg.This pain is referred to as implantation cramps, and some women experience it when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall.
Implantation cramping is often described as a mild, dull ache similar to period cramps. It also occurs approximately 10-14 days after conception, which is the same point in the menstrual cycle when the period normally starts. For this reason, some women may think they are experiencing menstrual bleeding when they’re actually experiencing implantation bleeding due to pregnancy.
Other common symptoms of implantation and early pregnancy include bloating, breast tenderness, change in basal body temperature, headaches, and mood swings. Many of these symptoms of implantation are also symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. However, bleeding from implantation is usually not as heavy or as long-lasting as bleeding during the period phase of your menstrual cycle. Implantation blood is also usually more of a pinkish-brown color than period blood.
How Can We Tell If We’re Experiencing Ovulation Cramps?
If you feel lower abdominal pain midway through your cycle, you may be wondering if it’s due to ovulation or something else. Most women describe ovulation pain as dull and achy, but some women experience sharp, sudden pains. There are other ovulation symptoms you can watch out for, too. Keep in mind that some women may experience all of them while others may experience just a few (or none at all!)
- Discomfort on only one side of the abdomen (this discomfort may switch from one ovary to the other from month to month)
- Mild nausea
- Short-lasting (generally only a few minutes or up to 48 hours)
- Slight vaginal discharge or bleeding (usually pinkish-brown in hue)
To be sure your pain is due to ovulation, try keeping track of it for a couple of months. If it consistently occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle and goes away on its own, it’s probably normal ovulation pain.
Is It Too Late to Conceive After Ovulation Pain?
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you probably know how important ovulation is to your success rate. Though the window for achieving a successful pregnancy is short, it may not be as short as you think. After you feel ovulation pain, you still have up to 24 hours for pregnancy to potentially occur. So if you feel that familiar painful cramp in your ovary that feels like period pain but occurs in the middle of your cycle, it’s time to get busy!
Is Cramping During Ovulation Normal?
If you curse your luck and think you’re abnormal for experiencing pelvic pain during ovulation, you should know that approximately 20% of people who ovulate experience ovary pain. So you’re definitely not on your own!
For many women, ovulation happens approximately 14 days before their menstrual period. In most cases, ovulation pain is normal and should only last anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours on ovulation day. However, for those of us ladies who experience severe ovulation pain or excessive vaginal bleeding, it’s important to note that these are not healthy ovulation symptoms.
If we experience severe pain at any time during our menstrual cycle, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Excessive ovulation pain could be an indication of any of the following problems:
- Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition that refers to the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterine cavity. During your period, the endometrial tissue outside of your uterus can cause inflammation, bleeding, and abdominal pain. Endometriosis can also cause scar tissue to develop in affected areas.
- Ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when an embryo implants outside the uterus (usually in one of the fallopian tubes). This type of pregnancy can be life-threatening and can cause significant abdominal pain. See your doctor right away if you think you may have this type of pregnancy.
- Cysts. Some women develop ovarian cysts, which can cause bloating, cramping, nausea, and more.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease. This condition is marked by abdominal pain and inflammation, changes in vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, chills and fever, painful urination, irregular bleeding, and discomfort during intercourse. It can be transmitted sexually or occur naturally. It’s a leading cause of infertility and requires the care of a doctor.
- Uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids develop in the uterine walls. They are benign growths that can cause heavy bleeding and severe abdominal pain.
- STDs. Another common cause of pelvic pain is sexually transmitted diseases. They are usually accompanied by a fever and unusual vaginal discharge.
If you suspect you may have any of the above conditions, it’s important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. But if your pelvic pain is just due to ovulation, there are some things you can do to minimize it.
How Can We Ease the Pain of Ovulation Cramps?
Many women wonder how to get rid of cramps, but some of the following solutions are quite simple when you experience cramping during ovulation. Give these a try next time you feel ovulation pain:
- Place a heating pad on the affected area or soak in a hot bath.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
- Go the natural route and take hormone-balancing supplements such as hertime.
If you like to use natural pain-relieving methods instead of relying on prescription medications and over-the-counter pain relievers, you’ll love hertime. It’s a natural powder that contains powerful yet gentle ingredients that can ease bloating and cramping. Best of all, it tastes amazing. Order yours today to experience relief from your menstrual cycle pain all month long.