Is Cramping Normal During Ovulation?
The release of a single, mature egg from the ovary is known as ovulation. During the course of a monthly cycle, the largest of the of the eggs is released into the fallopian tube. Once released, the egg can then be fertilized over the next day or so before it begins to disintegrate. If the egg should be fertilized and successfully implants, a woman becomes pregnant. If the egg is not fertilized, it is passed from the woman’s body during menstrual bleeding. This occurs about two weeks after ovulation. For most women, ovulation occurs once a month until menopause, apart from the time that she is pregnant or breastfeeding.
Many women, around twenty percent, experience some form of pain or another during ovulation. This pain often resembles a cramping feeling. Pain that is caused by ovulation typically:
- occurs in the lower abdomen
- occurs about two weeks before the menstrual period is due
- Is felt only on one side or the other, depending on which ovary released the egg
- Lasts for anywhere from a few minutes to 48 hours.
Researchers have some theories about the causes of ovulation pain. This pain may be caused by an emerging follicle, or it may be caused by a ruptured follicle.
In some cases, it could be symptomatic of another medical condition, such as:
- Endometriosis. This occurs when the lining of the womb (endometrium) grows in other locations, such as the bowel. Other symptoms of endometriosis can include painful periods and painful sex.
- Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. This is inflammation that immediately follows an infection.
- Salpingitis. This is when the fallopian tubes become inflamed following an infection.
- Ovarian cysts. These are abnormal pockets of fluid that develop on the ovaries.
- Appendicitis. Some women can confuse inflammation of the appendix with ovulation pain. This sort of pain will occur only on the right side of the abdomen, and will likely be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
- Other gastrointestinal difficulties, such as a perforated ulcer, gastroenteritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
If you have regular ovulation pain, you should be able to speak to your health care provider. She can help you determine whether the pain is harmless, or whether it is indicative of another problem. She may use a variety of methods, including exams, blood tests, cultures, ultrasounds, or exploratory surgery to diagnose the problem.