Many women look for pain in the lower abdomen as a tell-tale sign that they are definitely their fertile period and should be having intercourse if they want to get pregnant. Ovulation is one of the more difficult things to pin down because even in a regular cycle, it can shift by a day or two. Pain coming from the ovaries can be the only way to tell when you are ovulating.
There are also several other signs that come along with ovulation, but not all women experience them. These include an elastic mucus or discharge, bloating in the lower abdomen and mood swings.
What about pain in the ovaries when you are menstruating?
You may notice that sometimes you get the symptoms of ovulation when you are actually menstruating. You see the elastic mucus along with your usual blood, and feel the characteristic pain in your lower abdomen. This is because you actually start the follicular phase of your cycle once you start menstruating. This means that your eggs are growing and maturing in this time. If this phase is short on this particular cycle, you could ovulate very soon after you finish menstruating.
During the follicular phase, you could feel cramps, bloating and sharp pains in your lower abdomen. This all comes from the eggs growing and the hormone changes in your body.
There is actually a way to find out if you are in fact ovulating. These tests work in a similar way to home pregnancy tests but look for the presence of the luteinizing hormone (LH). This hormone is responsible for causing the mature egg to burst free from the follicle.
If you have irregular cycles, this test can be a big aid to conceiving. Your fertile period is usually around 14 days after the start of menstruation, but it can be straight after menstruation in a short cycle. If you aren’t sure cycle to cycle, then an ovulation test can tell you when the best time to have intercourse is.
What does it mean if the pain stays after ovulation?
For most women, the pain felt in the ovaries is only just before and at the time of ovulation. In some cases, though, this pain can continue once the egg has been released from the follicle, or should have been release.
Usually, what is left of the follicle after ovulation forms a functional cyst called the corpus luteum. This cyst produces progesterone for the remainder of your cycle and then fades away if no fertilized egg presents itself. If you do fall pregnant, the cyst remains for the duration of the process in order to maintain your progesterone levels.
If the pain continues after the egg has been released, it’s possible that you are pregnant. This is because the corpus luteum doesn’t fade away and disappear. In some cases it can become enlarged as it strives to increase your progesterone levels.
However, you can’t take pain in the ovaries as a definite sign that you are pregnant. There are several reasons why a cyst can continue to cause pain after you’ve ovulated. In some cases, as with the condition polycystic ovarian syndrome, the egg doesn’t always get released and a hard cyst will form over it. This can be quite painful and cause scarring on the ovary.
If you are experiencing this kind of pain regularly, or have intense pain in one cycle, it’s best to consult your doctor. They can test for hormone imbalances and hyper stimulation of the ovaries. They will also test for pregnancy if they believe that this is the cause.
As we’ve already mentioned above, in each cycle where you ovulate, you get a functional cyst called the corpus luteum on your ovary. This is a vital part of your cycle and the reproductive process. If this cyst is causing you pain, the sensation should dissipate after you ovulate or once you have settled into your pregnancy if you conceive.
However, non-functional cysts can be a problem. There are many different types of cysts that you can get on your ovaries or in your uterus. These include hemorrhagic cysts caused by bleeding from the corpus luteum, dermoid cysts which can be present on your ovaries from birth, and endometriomas which around 40% of women will experience in their lifetime.
All of these cysts can be dealt with by your doctor. First, they will need to do an ultrasound to diagnose the problem and they can then advise you on the best course of action to remove the cyst and relieve the pain.
If one of these types of cysts develop or become aggravated, it’s likely that you will feel pain throughout your cycle. The pain will then intensify either when you ovulate or when you menstruate.