Many women suffer from what are commonly called period pains or menstrual cramps. Often, they feel also these painful or uncomfortable symptoms a couple of weeks before their menstrual period is actually due. This is actually ovulation pain that these women are feeling. As with menstrual cramps, not all women feel ovulation pain intensely and some feel very little in the way symptoms.

But why do you feel any discomfort at all during ovulation?

Ovulation is the process where an egg, stored in a follicle in the ovaries, is brought to maturity through stimulation from hormones. It then ruptures through the follicle and passes into the fallopian tubes before ending up in the uterus, ready for fertilization.

The pain during ovulation comes from when the egg reaches maturity and is released. The follicle holding the egg grows in size and the egg actually bursts out of the follicle. This phase is called the follicular phase, and during it the follicle that ovulates can double in size. It’s also important to note that this isn’t the only follicle that grows during this phase of your cycle. Between seven and fifteen follicles are stimulated by the increase in hormones and start to grow, but only one or two actually reach the ideal size for ovulation.

This increase in size of a number of follicles is a large part of what causes pain or discomfort during ovulation.

How to identify ovulation pain

The main characteristic of ovulation pain is where it is located in the body. The uterus and the ovaries are situated about four fingers below the navel, and the pain will emanate from this area. You will likely feel the pain on either the left side or the right side, depending on which ovary is being stimulated on that cycle. If you feel it across the lower abdomen, it could mean that you are ovulating in both ovaries. This is rare but it does happen.

Symptoms of ovulation

The usual pains that women report feeling are cramps or spasms of pain in either the left or right side of the lower abdomen. This comes from the hormonal increase and the growing follicles. Women who are sensitive to these pains may also feel the activity in the fallopian tubes.

The intensity of the symptoms differs from woman to woman, and can be especially bad for those who are taking medication to induce ovulation. For example, women who are taking a drug like Clomid may experience ovaries that swell much larger than normal each cycle. If the pain is too intense, it might be necessary to get your doctor to check for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

How long do the symptoms last?

The fertile period is usually around a week and the pain of ovulation can stay for the full time. However, it is likely to vary in strength and shouldn’t remain constant during the full seven days.

If you exceed eight days of discomfort and pain, or the pain becomes so intense that you aren’t able to function normally, it’s advisable to seek medical advice from a doctor.

Readers’ questions:

Is there a natural way to increase ovulation?

Yams are well known as a natural fertility booster. In fact, studies have shown that communities that eat and produce a lot of yams actually have a high rate of twins being born. You can eat yams in soups or boil them like potatoes. You can even make a tea using the peel of the yam.

How can I relieve the pain of ovulation?

Heat is a great way to alleviate the symptoms of ovulation. A warm bath or a hot water bottle applied to the abdomen can give you some relief. If the pain is very intense, painkillers with anti-inflammatory properties will help.

Remember to drink plenty of water during this period and rest if you need to.

How does an ovulation inducer work?

Ovulation inducers are a type of medication prescribed by doctors for women who are having trouble producing eggs for fertilization. They work by increasing the hormones that stimulate the ovaries to ensure that at least one follicle reaches maturity during the fertile period.
Ovulation inducers are commonly prescribed for women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome.