Is It Normal to Experience Cramping During Ovulation?

Most women are well aware of the fact that they are prone to cramping during the pre-menstrual cycle. What is less common (but still occurs) is cramping during ovulation.

What is Ovulation?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, ovulation transpires after a mature egg is released out of an ovary, sent down the fallopian tube, and becomes ready for fertilization. The lining of the uterus thickens to get ready for a fertilized egg as well. If conception does not occur during this period of time, the lining of the uterine and blood will be discarded – this is when most women experience menstruation.  Menstruation normally occurs about two weeks after ovulation. The majority of women go through this once a month until the menopausal phase is reached, except when she is going through pregnancy.

Is Cramping Normal?

As many as 20% of women go through some sort of pain while ovulating – for many women, this pain feels a lot like period cramps. Furthermore, this pain usually happens about two weeks before the menstrual period is due to happen. It is normally felt only on one side as opposed to both sides (this generally depends on the side from which the egg is released); may last for up to two days or be as short as a few minutes; is most pronounced in the lower abdomen.

Causes of Cramping During Ovulation

A lot of research has been done concerning the causes of cramping during ovulation and an emerging or ruptured follicle normally causes the pain. In other cases, cramping during ovulation has been found to be the result of a ruptured follicle. In cases where cramping is not due to a ruptured follicle, medical experts have attributed the symptom to a wide variety of medical conditions including Endometriosis, Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Salpingitis, Ovarian Cysts, Appendicitis, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as a perforated ulcer:

Endometriosis is what happens when the endometrium, or the lining of the womb, grows in other areas, like the bowel. Common symptoms of endometriosis include painful sex and severe periods.

Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease is the inflammation immediately experienced after a pelvic infection while Salpingitis occurs when the fallopian tubes become inflamed after an infection.

Ovarian cysts are a common occurrence amongst many women. Abnormal pockets of fluid develop around the ovaries making conception difficult.

Appendicitis – while many people think of this as a childhood problem that should be put in the same category as measles, it is often confused with ovulation. The pain experienced as a result of appendicitis will only occur on the right side of the abdomen and one can expect vomiting and nausea alongside it.

If a woman is experiencing consistent ovulation pain experts recommend a trip to her doctor in order to find out what the cause of the problem is. Cramps during ovulation are considered normal most of the time, but every woman’s body is different. These symptoms should however not be ignored if they persist. Cramps could be a telltale sign of a bigger health problem that needs attention or could lead to infertility later on.


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Last modified: April 14, 2014