Painful ovulation

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Overview

Painful ovulation (mittelschmerz) is a type of pain that occurs during ovulation – the middle of menstrual periods (aproximately 2 weeks between one menstruation and another).

Discomfort can be located on each side of the lower abdomen, depending on the ovary that produces eggs. The pain may be localized one month on one side of the lower abdomen and the next menstrual cycle to move to the other side.

About 20% of women experience this type of inter-menstrual pain. In most of the time the pain is minor, but in other cases it can be unbearable.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Causes
3. Symptoms
4. When to seek medical attention?
5. Diagnosis and treatment


Causes

Before the egg is released from the ovary, membrane (that covers it) stretches. This stretch is one that causes pressure and pain. When the egg is released from the ovary, there are some fluid and blood leaks that causes discomfort.

Blood is irritating for the lining tissues of the abdominal cavity and could be one of the causes of painful ovulation. The intensity of pain varies from person to person. Most women have no discomfort while others feel a slight pressure or a pain that lasts several hours.

In rare cases, the pain is intense and can last several days and – other unpleasant sensations – it may be, mistakenly confused with appendicitis.


Symptoms

Pain associated with ovulation may take different forms:

- Pain may be localized on one side of the lower abdomen (one at a time on each side)
- Pain may occur midway between menstrual periods
- Pain may occur each month
- Pain may last from several hours to 2-3 days.


When to seek medical attention?

Women who suffer from painful ovulation rarely require emergency medical intervention, but there are some serious medical conditions such as appendicitis and ectopic pregnancy that may mimic the pain of ovulation.

A woman should seek emergency care if any of these conditions that could cause pain manifests:

- Appendicitis causes pain in the right lower abdomen and is accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting

- An ectopic pregnancy is pregnancy that develops in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This could cause pain and, if the woman believes she could be pregnant or last period was irregular, she must seek medical attention.

Any female person should call her doctor if:

- Ovulation pain lasts more than three days
- Vaginal bleeding occurs during the painful ovulation.


Diagnosis and treatment

Self-care at home

The best way to relieve painful symptoms present during ovulation is taking an anti-inflammatory drug: ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen are available without prescription and are effective as blocking prostaglandins effect.

Treatment may be continued as long as necessary, until the end of these events. If a particular type of medicine fails to eliminate or decrease pain intensity, the woman will try other because their effectiveness may vary from person to person.

Keep in mind that anti-inflammatory drugs affect stomach. If there is a history of kidney problems or stomach illnesses (such as ulcers or reflux) consult a physician before taking this type of medication. Administrate the pills during the meals may help prevent stomach problems and disease.

If anti-inflammatory drugs are not an option or if you need additional treatment, it may be applied hot objects on the pelvic area to relieve pain (heated compress, hot water bottle, and so on).

Seek medical advice in any of these cases
- Fever
- Pain when urinating
- Redness or burning sensation in the painful area
- Vomiting
- Painful ovulation that lasts more than a day
- If the last period wasn’t present.

Drugs recommended for the treatment of painful ovulation

If a woman suffering from painful ovulation can’t use, for various reasons, anti-inflammatory drugs, her doctor may recommend pain relievers that can be purchased without a prescription.

If painful ovulation is severe and occurs every month, it could be blurred by some forms of birth control pills and oral contraceptive pills, which could prevent ovulation and could stop the pain associated with it.

Birth control pills should not be used randomly; recommendable is that they are prescribed by a physician.

Home care methods

Monthly dealing with painful ovulation can be quite stressful and unpleasant, especially if symptoms are intense and uncomfortable. Before anything else it is advisable to seek medical advice about painful ovulation to determine if the pain you feel is a symptom of other medical conditions.

For benign painful ovulation, there are a number of methods of care. First, relaxation is very important and if the pain is unbearable, it is recommended the bed rest for as long time as possible. You can use analgesics, anti-inflammatories, applications of heat and warm baths.

Birth control pills and other contraceptives that require release of hormones that can prevent ovulation pain symptoms because they stop ovulation. If you want to try this option, you should talk with your doctor first.

If painful ovulation lasts more than three days, if it is unusually severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, visit your doctor. Unusual events such as leaks or bleeding are not normal, so you must consult the doctor if you experience these troubles.

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