Pain During Ovulation - Is It Normal?

Hormonal Health Winnipeg - Endocrinology Winnipeg

Mittelschmerz – the lovely, weird name for the physical sensation experienced during or directly after the release of an egg from an ovary (ovulation). This pain is felt in the lower part of your abdomen and is often one-sided (but can alternate between sides, month-to-month).  Some women will experience this ovulatory pain as a mild, dull, aching sensation and some women may even experience even greater discomfort. Some won’t experience it at all. The cramping can last minutes-hours, but really shouldn’t last longer than a day (some sources state that anything longer than 8 hours is abnormal, and I’d agree). (1)


Women ovulate at different times, but the general rule of thumb is mid-cycle (around days 12-16 of your cycle (1); and yes, I know some of you ovulate outside that range - we can talk about that another time!). And if you track your cycle and know when you ovulate, all to you!

So why on earth might we experience discomfort during ovulation?

Rupture of the Graafian follicle (which contains the egg) can cause pain itself, but ovulation can also result in some mild bleeding into the peritoneal cavity (essentially, causing irritation in that area). (2)

All that said, this is for educational purposes only. There are a number of predisposing conditions that can cause ovulatory pain. If you have concerning and/or chronic ovulatory pain, get assessed by your healthcare provider.


(1) Auerbach, PS. Constance, BB. Freer, L. Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine: Gynecologic and Obstetric Emergencies, 31, p. 343-370.

(2) Ness, TJ. Kukreja, P. Wall & Melzack’s Textbook of Pain: Genitourinary Pain, 54, p. 758-771.

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