Mittelschmerz: how you feel ovulation

A twitch in your abdomen doesn’t necessarily mean that your period is about to start. On the contrary: what is known as “Mittelschmerz” occurs toward the middle of the cycle, one to two days before ovulation or as a result of ovulation. That is why it is also called ovulation pain or intermenstrual pain. Around a third of all women experience this pain at irregular intervals.

How do I distinguish Mittelschmerz from period pain?

Mittelschmerz occurs only toward the middle of the cycle and only if ovulation has occurred. To identify the pain correctly, monitoring your menstrual cycle can help. This enables you to determine the date of your fertile days and your next period. Time-wise, these two events occur around 14 days apart.

How do I notice Mittelschmerz?

A gentle to heavy pulling in the abdomen, which can usually be felt on the left or right side, is symptomatic of Mittelschmerz. Sometimes you get pain in your back, legs and perineum at the same time. The side on which you can feel the Mittelschmerz is usually the side where ovulation occurs.

When do you get Mittelschmerz?

Even women who feel Mittelschmerz on a regular basis have symptom-free months. The exact time when Mittelschmerz occurs differs. It is common to feel it a few days before and a few days after ovulation.

What causes Mittelschmerz?

Scientists have discovered that Mittelschmerz can be caused by different reasons:

  • The tissue around the maturing egg cell stretches, thus triggering a “pulling” sensation.

  • Ovulation, or the bursting of the follicle itself can cause pain.

  • After ovulation, the fallopian tubes contract in order to push the egg toward the uterus – which can cause discomfort.

What helps against Mittelschmerz?

If you experience severe Mittelschmerz, heat, rest, teas and relaxation help against the contractions in the abdomen. Mild pain relief (watch out for side effects!) can also help. If the pain is too severe, you should definitely consult a doctor. In rare cases, this type of pain can be a sign of inflammation – for example, in the ovaries or the appendix.

Mittelschmerz alone cannot be used to determine the time of ovulation. Following the symptothermal method can help with determining your fertile and unfertile days more accurately.


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