Font Size

Painful Ovulation

Painful Ovulation (Mittelschmerz) Overview

Mittelschmerz (pronounced MITT-ul-shmurz) is a German word that means middle pain. Mittelschmerz is also referred to as painful ovulation. This pain occurs during ovulation - the midpoint between menstrual periods, about 2 weeks before a period may begin. The discomfort can appear on either side of the lower abdomen depending on which ovary is producing the ovum (egg). Pain can be on one side of the abdomen one month and switch to the opposite side during the following cycle. About 20% of women experience this type of midcycle pain. Most of the time, it is a mild annoyance. In rare instances, it can be unbearable.

Painful Ovulation Causes

Just before the egg is released by the ovary, it stretches the membrane covering the ovary. This stretching results in pressure and pain. The fluid and blood released when the egg is released from the ovary may cause discomfort. Blood is very irritating to the tissues lining the abdominal cavity and could be responsible for the midcycle pain. The amount of pain varies tremendously from person to person. Most women do not have any discomfort. Others feel a mild pressure or twinge lasting a few hours. For a rare few, the pain is intense and can last for days. In severe cases, the pain may be mistaken for appendicitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2014
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Mittelschmerz

Birth Control Hormonal Methods
Birth Control Hormonal Methods "The pill" was introduced in the United States in 1962 and signaled a new era for women and their ability to control their fertility.learn more >>
Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual Pain Menstrual cramps are either classified as primary dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) in which there is no anatomical cause for the pain. Secondary dysmenorrhea...learn more >>
Vaginal Bleeding
Vaginal Bleeding Irregular vaginal bleeding can be caused by dysfunctional uterine bleeding (for example, unbalanced hormones that affect the menstrual cycle, and trauma), learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Painful Ovulation (Mittelschmerz):

Painful Ovulation - Home Remedies

What home remedies have you found helpful in treating your painful ovulation?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Gynecologic Pain »

The uterus, cervix, and adnexa share the same visceral innervation as the lower ileum, sigmoid colon, and rectum.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary