How to manage pain from ovulation

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There are different reasons why your monthly menstrual cycle might be causing you pain. However, one issue cause which isn’t a cause for concern generally is lower back pain caused by ovulation. In fact, many women don’t even feel this, and ovulation happens without any clue. For most who do experience some pain, it is of low intensity. This doesn’t mean it’s not an irritant, however, but it’s not necessarily something to worry about.

Pain caused by ovulation is called “Mittelschmerz,” which, in German, means “middle” and “pain.” This refers to the occurrence of the pain in the middle of your cycle. About one fifth of women actually experience some form of pain or discomfort from ovulation. The cause of pain is still not understood, though there are several theories. For most women, ovulation occurs unnoticed, but for some it will cause a slight twinge or pinching sensation in the lower back. This is usually felt on the side of the body where the egg has been released.

As stated, this pain occurs about halfway through your cycle, and will often be on alternate sides of the body in different months. It will be of short duration, lasting a few hours or a day or two. For some women, however, pain during ovulation is more severe and can be the cause of discomfort. It is occasionally severe enough that it can be mistaken for appendicitis or some other issue in the lower back area. Pain can also be accompanied by nausea or headache. It is usually more of a prolonged ache, but it’s also possible for it to be sharp and more severe. You may also experience some vaginal bleeding during ovulation.


How and why pain occurs during what is essentially a completely normal and predictable part of the menstrual cycle is not understood. Accordingly, the exact causes of ovulation pain aren’t known. However, there is speculation, and these are a few of the likely culprits:

Eggs are produced by ovarian follicles, which are the most basic unit of the female reproductive system.  It is thought that the follicles swell and become slightly inflamed as they prepare to release the egg. This, in turn, can cause back and abdominal pain.

Others believe that the follicles swell and grow naturally in order to produce the egg. This causes them to stretch the surface of the ovary which then causes pain.

It is also possible that during ovulation, the egg can only be released by rupturing the wall of the ovary. Further to this, this rupturing may cause the release of blood and follicular fluid into the fallopian tube, which causes the pain. Finally, it is possible that the fluid released with the egg causes irritation to the uterus, which further causes pain. It’s also possible that the fallopian tube may contract painfully to move the egg down to the uterus. These contractions can cause pain.

lower back pain during ovulation


The pain the might be caused by ovulation is usually fairly dull and will pass without having to be treated. In some cases, however, it might be more severe and cause some discomfort. There are a few measures you can take to relieve minor pain from ovulation.

– Keep yourself well hydrated. This helps disperse fluid that is causing you pain. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated all the time.

– Use heat on your stomach, abdomen and back. Apply a heating pad to these areas to increase circulation in the area. This will help relieve your pain.

– Another measure you can take to apply heat is to take a warm bath. The benefit of this is that not only will it apply heat to the area, but it’s also relaxing generally, and both will help relieve pain.

Depending on your situation, if you are experiencing severe pain from ovulation, you might consider birth control pills. In fact, many forms of birth control work to prevent ovulation, so naturally pain caused by ovulation will also be relieved.

Pain Killers

If these measures don’t help you might take over-the-counter pain killers to relieve your pain. These might include ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen. Advil is the best known brand of ibuprofen, Bayer is most popular aspirin and Tylenol is acetaminophen.

These are well known and fairly safe drugs, but be aware that ibuprofen and aspirin, which are both non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can have an effect on your ovulation beyond relieving pain. Ovulation is, itself, a form of inflammation, so drugs that inhibit inflammation, will quite naturally inhibit ovulation and can cause it to be delayed.

You aren’t going to have this effect with acetaminophen, but it’s still worth being cautious with this drug. Many people in pain situations are tempted to “pop” more pills for their ongoing need. Acetaminophen, however, lends itself very easily to overdose, and it is incumbent on the individual to read and follow directions on the label.

If you are still suffering after taking pain killers, you should see a doctor. In addition, if you are suffering other symptoms as well as pain in conjunction with ovulation, it’s definitely time to see a professional. You may experience dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea or trouble breathing. Any of these symptoms indicate the possibility that there might be something more serious going on.

For one thing, even if there isn’t anything more serious, it still will not be possible for you to treat the pain without a doctor’s prescription. If you’ve exhausted the measures you can take on your own, you’ll still require the involvement of a health professional.

However, more important is that you get checked to make sure that there isn’t anything more serious going on in your body, like endometriosis or a cyst on one of your ovaries. While mild pain is something you can deal with, more severe pain might indicate something more serious and it’s worth it to find out what’s happening.

Further Reading

“Ovulation & Back Pain.”

“Painful Ovulation (Mittelschmerz).” WebMD.

“Ovulation and Back Pain.” Buzzle.

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