Medical Q&As

Pain at ovulation - why?

I get a pain when ovulating from the left ovary. Why could this be?

The pain you describe is commonly referred to as “mittelschmerz” which is a German word for mid cycle pain. The pain occurs during ovulation, which usually takes place midway between the menses. Pain occurs over the ovary that has released the egg so the side on which the pain occurs can vary from one cycle to the next. It is estimated that as many as 20% of women experience mittelschmerz. For most women it is a mild annoyance but for others it can be quite a painful experience often leading to suspicion of appendicitis especially when the pain occurs on the right side of the abdomen. The pain is caused by the ovum or egg stretching the membrane that envelops the surface of the ovary. A small amount of fluid is released at the same time, which can be very irritating to the tissues in the abdomen. The pain may last for a few hours or may persist severely for a couple of days. In most cases simple OTC (over the counter) painkillers are sufficient to relieve the discomfort. Some women derive comfort from applying a hot water bottle to the painful area. Mittelschmerz does not have any implications with regard to future fertility.