Table of Contents
Definition of Mittelschmerz, Symptoms and Pain
Discomfort a woman may feel on one side of her lower abdomen around the time she ovulates. The word is German for “middle pain,” a reference to the occurrence of the discomfort midway through the menstrual cycle.
The discomfort is often a sharp, achy pain that most commonly lasts from 2 to 12 hours though may continue up to 48 hours.
Some women find the discomfort shifts sides from one menstrual period to another and some women have discomfort always on the same side. The side of the pain does not necessarily indicate which ovary is releasing an ovum as ovarian pain may refer to the opposite side of the lower abdomen.
Doctors believe mittelschmerz results from irritation the released ovum and the fluids that surround it create in the abdominal cavity, or from the pressure of the ovarian follicle immediately before its rupture to release the ovum.
Mittelschmerz is a normal part of the menstrual cycle for many women and does not signal any underlying health concerns, though a doctor should evaluate any changes that may occur in the nature of the discomfort.
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