Ovulation Pain – Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle, pain in the lower abdomen is experienced by most women and is called ovulation pain or mittelschmerz. Pain is classically felt on one side of the lower abdomen, while some females also experience back pain. Since, for most women, ovaries take turns in ovulation, thus the pain is felt on the side of the ovary which is releasing the egg. Not all women experience this pain and is not something alarming but it should not be ignored if it is experienced in every cycle.

Symptoms of ovulation pain

Women have complained of the below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Dull pain that might feel like a mild twinge, accompanied by severe discomfort. But sometimes it can be sharp and sudden.
  • Nausea in case of severe pain
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Spotting around the same time
  • A slight rise in body temperature is also experienced
  • Breast tenderness
  • Changes in libido

Causes of ovulation pain

Ovulation is a process in which a follicular cyst ruptures to release the ovum (egg) from the ovaries. The egg further moves in the fallopian tubes assisted by contractions. During this time blood and fluid are released from the ruptured follicle which irritates the lining of the abdomen. There are two possible reasons for the pain which include:

  • Stretch in the surface of the ovary just before the rupture of the follicle, which can cause pain in that area.
  • Blood and other fluids from ruptured follicles can irritate the peritoneum which may result in pain.

Ovulation pain and fertility

Many females around the world use ovulation pain as a sign to plan pregnancy. Since the chances of getting pregnant are higher around ovulation thus they use this as an indication of ovulation and plan or avoid their pregnancy based on this. However, doctors don’t recommend this method for contraception at all. As the pain can be indicative of several other things than ovulation. For contraception, they should consult a doctor to use other more reliable contraceptive methods.

Complications of ovulation pain

Ovulation pain itself doesn’t cause any complication but there are a few conditions in which it may suggest severe underlying medical conditions, some of these are:

  • Endometriosis – females with endometriosis also experience pain during ovulation.
  • The development of scar tissue in pelvic inflammatory disease can also be responsible for causing mittelschmerz.
  • Previous surgery can also be one cause of ovulation pain.
  • Urinary tract infection

Risk factors

Ovulation pain is not experienced by all women, however, mentioned below are some women who you are more at risk:

  • Women with PCOS
  • Females who have UTI or STDs

Management of ovulation pain


Generally, ovulation pain with no underlying disorder can be diagnosed based on patient history. Therefore, some of the diagnostic tests are conducted to rule out any underlying disorder:

  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • High vaginal swab for possible infections
  • Hormonal profile to rule out any hormonal irregularities
  • CT scan or MRI as a definitive tool for diagnosis.


Ovulation pain can be easily prevented by stopping ovulation from taking place. For this purpose, hormonal contraceptives are taken.


  • Painful ovulation can be easily treated by over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol.
  • For inflammation, NSAIDs can be given.
  • In case of severe discomfort, contraceptives are given to stop ovulation temporarily.
  • Women who have completed their families, go for ovulation implants which completely banish ovulation.
  • Surgical method: This includes oophorectomy in females who don’t wish to conceive in the future.

Home remedies

  • A heating pad can relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Epsom salt baths also prove to be very effective for inflammation.
  • Essential oils have a very relaxing effect.
  • Yoga and other such exercises have also proven to be successful.

When to consult a doctor?

If the pain is accompanied by nausea and vomiting or you have a fever, you should be alarmed. Other than this, some other symptoms can accompany ovulation pain but indicate other underlying conditions and require prompt treatment. Some of these are:

  • Pain while urinating
  • Redness of the overlying skin
  • Missed period
  • Heavy intermenstrual bleeding
  • No relief from over-the-counter painkillers


Can I experience ovulation pain after menopause?

Yes, sometimes females also experience ovulation pain after menopause. This can be normal but can also be a sign of an underlying condition such as fibroids, endometriosis, or ovarian cancer.

What does ovulation pain after hysterectomy indicate?

Ovulation pain after hysterectomy can be indicative of ovarian torsion or recurrence of endometriosis and should be checked by your gynecologist.

How many days after my period do I ovulate?

Ovulation takes place roughly 15 days after the onset of your menstruation. But for some females who have irregular menstrual cycles, their ovulation days can vary.

How long does the ovulation pain lasts?

Pain lasts from a few minutes to a couple of hours.

Last medically reviewed on September 2, 2022.