Having your period sucks—there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But what does it mean when you experience pain during ovulation? You expect cramps, bloating, and all that not-so-fun stuff while you’re having your time of the month, but it may seem weird to be in pain when you’re ovulating. In case you’ve never thought about the specifics of ovulation, it happens around the fourteenth day in your menstrual cycle when an egg travels into its adjoining fallopian tube (this is when you’re most fertile).
Not everyone feels pain during ovulation, but if it’s new for you—and herbal tea doesn’t work—you should get it checked out by a doctor. The Germans call it mittelschmerz, meaning "middle pain." Basically, when you ovulate, a follicular cyst has to rupture to release an egg and your fallopian tube contracts. During this time, fluid and blood from the cyst may go into your abdominal cavity, which doctors believe may be the cause of the pain. Women often feel discomfort on one side of their abdomen, and it can last from a few minutes to several hours.
The thing is that abdominal pain is often confused with ovulation pain, but it can be a sign of a larger health issue. Below learn about the five things you may be mistaking for pain during ovulation. Next steps? Check in with your doc.
“Sometimes you get cysts after you ovulate, and they can cause cramping, bloating, and even nausea,” says Mary L. Rosser, MD, Ph.D., and division director of general obstetrics and gynecology at the Montefiore Medical School. These cysts sometimes rupture, which leads to pain and even internal bleeding. Cysts can also be cancerous, so a pelvic exam at your doctor is crucial in determining whether you need to remove it, treat it, or just leave it alone.
Endometriosis can also cause painful cramping. When you have this condition, parts of the endometrium (aka the inner lining of your uterus) form outside of the uterus, like on the ovaries or your vagina, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In order to check if you suffer from this, your doctor can do a laparoscopy in which a small tube is put through your stomach to check the organs in your abdomen.
AN INFECTION OR STD
Infections or STDs may mirror the symptoms of pain during ovulation in many ways. Although, when you have an STD or bacterial infection, itchiness or a burning feeling during urination also come along with it. A quick trip to your gyno for a swab or urine test will determine what it is so it can be dealt with.
If you’ve had a C-section, you have scar tissue in your body. “Some people have more than others after a C-section, and if the scar tissue is in the way, you can have pain,” says Rosser. Meet with your doctor to see if this is the case. If so, it can take up to a year to heal, but physical therapy can help speed up this process. (Who knew?)
AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY
When an egg is fertilized and implants outside of the uterus like on the fallopian tubes, that’s when you have an ectopic pregnancy, says Rosser. You will often experience discomfort on one side like you would when you have pain during ovulation. A pelvic exam, blood test, and ultrasound will help your doctor see whether this is what is happening in your body.
Do you have anything to add about pain during ovulation? Sound off in the comments, and then read about how feng shui can help you de-stress.