We're all in the know about period pain, but some women also experience painful twinges mid-month, around the time of ovulation - when the egg releases from the ovary. This is called Mittelschmerz, or simply ovulation pain.
Today, Mr Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology, gives us the low-down on ovulation pain.
What exactly is ovulation pain?
"A lot of women can pinpoint ovulation in their cycle by recognising some of the symptoms such as more mucous discharge or pelvic pain. This pain associated with ovulation can sometimes be intense and may make you sit up and take notice. Usually it lasts for a few hours to a day, and responds to simple pain killers. It may alternate sides depending on which ovary you ovulate from.
When does it happen in the menstrual cycle?
"It usually happens exactly midcycle in a 28 day cycle. If the cycles are shorter or longer it will usually happen 14 days before the next period. It coincides with the egg being released from corresponding ovary. This is associated with some bleeding and also release of some fluid. This can irritate the sensitive lining of abdomen (peritoneum) and cause pain.
Where are you most likely to feel the pain?
"The pain is usually in the groin or lower abdominal area and may radiate down to the corresponding leg.
Will it happen at the same time every month?
"It may not necessarily happen every month as it depends on how ‘explosive’ the ovulation is. In a regular cycle, it is likely to happen at the same time every month. You can also use ovulation-prediction apps such as ‘period tracker’ to see if the pain coincides with the time of ovulation.
What can potentially make it more painful?
"Endometriosis can definitely make ovulation pain worse as the ovaries may be less mobile which may lead to trapping of blood and fluid released during ovulation. Taking the contraceptive pill (and also certain minipills) will block ovulation and hence is a good solution to this monthly problem".
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