Ovulation cramps before ovulation


PMS Cramping vs. Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Spotting between periods is definitely more common than cramps between periods, so this can be harder for women to distinguish. Some get the spotting so close to their periods they just assume it is the start of their normal period. Normally, implantation spotting should not be heavy and should not last for more than three days. There are also other crucial signs to tell the difference between a regular period versus implantation bleeding. But it’s safe to say that if you aren’t used to spotting in between, and your period is not due for more than a few days, then it could be the result of conception and implantation!

3. Dark Areola or Nipples

A rise in estrogen and progesterone levels produces more pigmentation in your breast area. This is a very telling sign of pregnancy because not enough estrogen and progesterone is produced before your period to darken your areola.

If you have hormonal imbalance, you may see a fluctuation in the color of your areola, which is not a sign of pregnancy. But, if you are regular, and you are suddenly seeing darker nipples before your period when you wouldn’t normally see it otherwise, you may be pregnant!

4. Tender or Sore Breasts

If you boobs are sensitive to even the softest touch, then you may have a bun in the oven. Sore breasts can appear as early as two weeks after conception. As soon as the egg is implanted, your body starts making HCG – the pregnancy hormone needed to support a pregnancy. The rapid increase of this hormone (typically your levels will double every 48 hours in early pregnancy) leads to breast tenderness or fullness.

Some women might mistake this for regular breast pain before a period, but in early pregnancy, your breasts will feel 100 times more sensitive.

5. Nausea (Morning Sickness)

The rapid increase in the HCG hormone and the rapidly rising levels of estrogen causes a woman’s stomach to empty more slowly, which may contribute to feelings of queasiness. A woman’s sense of smell is also heightened in early pregnancy, which leads to a sensitive—almost finicky—reaction to certain smells. For most women, these symptoms don’t usually arrive until after the missed period, but some experience them right off the bat. If you’re feeling queasy and want to get rid of it, this mom offers tips on how she cured her morning sickness and instantly felt better.

7. Dysgeusia (Metallic Taste in Mouth)

Feeling like you have a mouthful of loose change? The rise in estrogen during early pregnancy changes a woman’s perception of taste. Doctor’s are still not quite sure what causes this bitter, metallic taste that many women experience in early pregnancy, but they believe it has to do with the role that pregnancy hormones have in skewing a woman’s sense of smell and taste in the first trimester. “Metal mouth,” as this phenomenon is called, is one of the weird symptoms of pregnancy that women experience very early on, even before a missed period.

6. Food Aversions or Cravings

Taste is one thing that can be altered pretty quickly in early pregnancy. Even before a missed period, some women experience a shift in their taste buds. Some of the foods and drinks that seem to have the most commonly altered tastes in early pregnancy tend to be alcohol and fruits. One’s interest in cigarettes can also change pretty quickly. This may be caused by a heightened sense of smell, which is brought about by a rise in estrogen. This can all happen pretty quickly after implantation and can be a sure sign you may be pregnant.

7. Fatigue

Dr. Jacqueline Darna, N.M.D explains that feeling tired during your period and feeling tired during early pregnancy are very different. She says, “Feeling tired is one thing, but women within their first trimester will feel complete exhaustion to where they just can’t get up and function.” During early pregnancy, an increase in progesterone levels can put you to sleep. This high levels of progesterone coupled with an increase in blood production and expenditure of calories will sap your energy, which explains why you might feel weak, sick, and tired. Feeling like you’re coming down with something can be a classic sign you are expecting. If you’re too exhausted to function, there are ways to fight pregnancy fatigue so that you can feel spritely and get on with your day like normal.

8. Headaches

The sudden rise in hormones and the 50% increase in blood production could cause a rush of blood to your head and give you headaches. Because of the change in hormone levels, some women may also experience low blood pressure, which causes migraines. To feel better, drink ample amounts of water, get plenty of sleep, and try to decrease stress as much as possible. Contact your doctor before taking any medications for headaches because it may effect the baby.

9. Frequent Urination

Shortly after conception, your body produces more blood. The heightened rate of blood flow to your kidneys leads to extra fluid being processed and ending up in your bladder. So if you feel a need to keep peeing, you may be pregnant!

10. Implantation Dip

If your menstrual cycle is regular, and you chart your basal body temperature (BBT) every month, then you may notice an implantation dip (or a drop in temperature) during your luteal phase (about one week after ovulation). Usually, a drop in BBT is not a good indictor of pregnancy because you also experience a dip in temperature in the middle of your menstrual cycle before your period comes. However, if you are pregnant, the implantation dip will last just one day and then shoot back up again the next day. When you have your period, your temperature dips and stays low until your period is over.

Note that only 25% of pregnancy positive charts show an implantation dip, so 75% of pregnant women don’t see a dip or feel any symptoms at all.

PMS Symptoms vs. Pregnancy Symptoms

Common PMS Symptoms

  • Bloating
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Symptoms Unique to Pregnancy

  • Nausea
  • Change in appetite (food aversions or unusual cravings)
  • Darkened areola or nipples
  • Spotting a week before period
  • Constipation
  • Metallic taste in mouth

Common to Both

  • Mood swings, depression, anxiety
  • Tender or sore breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Lower abdominal cramps
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Increased urination
  • Low sex drive

A Pregnancy Test Is the Only Way to Confirm a Pregnancy

While experiencing one or more of these signs may likely indicate a pregnancy, a lot of these signs are similar to pre-menstrual symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test.


  1. “Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy,” University of California, Santa Barbara. Accessed February 17, 2018.
  2. “What Is Implantation Bleeding?” WebMD. Accessed February 17, 2018.
  3. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, “PMS vs. Pregnancy: How to Tell the Difference,” MedicineNet. Accessed February 17, 2018.
  4. Kimberly Williams, “Implantation Pain Vs Ovulation Pain – Know How They Are Different?” Pregnancy Week by Week. Accessed February 17, 2018.
  5. Elsa, “Implantation Dip: 10 Things You Should Know,” CheckPregnancy. July 11, 2016. Accessed February 17, 2018.

Period Pain

What are painful periods?

Menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that happens as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. Many women have painful periods, also called dysmenorrhea. The pain is most often menstrual cramps, which are a throbbing, cramping pain in your lower abdomen. You may also have other symptoms, such as lower back pain, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. Period pain is not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS causes many different symptoms, including weight gain, bloating, irritability, and fatigue. PMS often starts one to two weeks before your period starts.

What causes painful periods?

There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Each type has different causes.

Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common kind of period pain. It is period pain that is not caused by another condition. The cause is usually having too many prostaglandins, which are chemicals that your uterus makes. These chemicals make the muscles of your uterus tighten and relax, and this causes the cramps.

The pain can start a day or two before your period. It normally lasts for a few days, though in some women it can last longer.

You usually first start having period pain when you are younger, just after you begin getting periods. Often, as you get older, you have less pain. The pain may also get better after you have given birth.

Secondary dysmenorrhea often starts later in life. It is caused by conditions that affect your uterus or other reproductive organs, such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids. This kind of pain often gets worse over time. It may begin before your period starts, and continue after your period ends.

What can I do about period pain?

To help ease your period pain, you can try

  • Using a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower abdomen
  • Getting some exercise
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Doing relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation

You might also try taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen. Besides relieving pain, NSAIDs reduce the amount of prostaglandins that your uterus makes, and lessen their effects. This helps to lessen the cramps. You can take NSAIDs when you first have symptoms, or when your period starts. You can keep taking them for a few days. You should not take NSAIDS if you have ulcers or other stomach problems, bleeding problems, or liver disease. You should also not take them if you are allergic to aspirin. Always check with your health care provider if you are not sure whether or not you should take NSAIDs.

It may also help to get enough rest and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.

When should I get medical help for my period pain?

For many women, some pain during your period is normal. However, you should contact your health care provider if

  • NSAIDs and self-care measures don’t help, and the pain interferes with your life
  • Your cramps suddenly get worse
  • You are over 25 and you get severe cramps for the first time
  • You have a fever with your period pain
  • You have the pain even when you are not getting your period

How is the cause of severe period pain diagnosed?

To diagnose severe period pain, your health care provider will ask you about your medical history and do a pelvic exam. You may also have an ultrasound or other imaging test. If your health care provider thinks you have secondary dysmenorrhea, you might have laparoscopy. It is a surgery that that lets your health care provider look inside your body.

What are treatments for severe period pain?

If your period pain is primary dysmenorrhea and you need medical treatment, your health care provider might suggest using hormonal birth control, such as the pill, patch, ring, or IUD. Another treatment option might be prescription pain relievers.

If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, your treatment depends upon the condition that is causing the problem. In some cases, you may need surgery.

PMS cramps – what is normal?

Why do I experience period cramps?

Sometimes women just feel as if they have got the raw end of the deal, and cramps do nothing to alleviate the misery which accompanies your monthly period. Each month your body prepares an egg to be fertilised.

When this does not happen, the lining of your uterus is expelled. In order to do this, the uterus contracts, and it is these muscular contractions that cause menstrual cramps. Cramps are usually at their worst just before or at the beginning of your period, as this is when uterine contractions are strongest.

Can PMS cramps begin a week before my period?

It makes sense, then, for cramps to begin right at the start of your period, but they can also occur much earlier than this, one, or even two weeks before menstruation. There are a couple of reasons why this may be:
1. Throughout the month, your hormone levels are fluctuating, and of particular relevance are the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormones help your body to prepare for menstruation. However, sometimes, your body is somewhat over-enthusiastic in its preparation and begins uterine contractions too early, meaning that you experience cramps relatively early.
2. Some women are more sensitive to changes in their body, and can feel the egg being released each month. For some, this may not be a painful sensation, more a peculiar one; for others, this can feel very similar to typical period pain. Whatever the sensation, it will be felt on alternating sides each month as the egg is generally released from one ovary one month, then the other the next. For this reason, some women experience bi-monthly symptoms as each ovary can produce a different sensation.

What can I do to ease the pain?

The stoical woman often grins and bears the monthly cramp, knowing that it will not last too long and will be a whole month before she needs to bear the burden again. However, it need not be this way.

It makes sense that if the pain is caused by muscular contractions then relaxing the muscle will reduce the symptoms. This can be in the same way that you would treat cramping muscles in your leg or arm, for example.

There are many tips and tricks to try which should hopefully make this monthly nightmare a distant (or less painful) memory:
1. Agnus castus – this herb has a long traditional use in relieving premenstrual symptoms, including menstrual cramps. It is thought to help balance the female hormones, thus improving all aspects of the monthly period. It can be found in A.Vogel Agnus castus oral drops.
2. Heat therapy – warmth on your tender tummy, such as from a hot water bottle, is a great way of reducing cramps, relaxing the uterine muscles and easing pain.
3. Exercise – although you may not feel very much like getting out and about, even a little gentle exercise, such as going for a walk, can help to stretch out your muscles and reduce symptoms of cramps.
4. Painkillers – many women resort to conventional painkillers, including paracetemol and ibuprofen, for PMS cramps. However, if you can find an effective natural treatment, this is generally better for your overall health and wellbeing.
5. Magnesium – this important mineral is often forgotten in the battle with PMS cramps. However, it is extremely good for relaxing muscles and reducing inflammation. It is also thought to act as a painkiller.
Many women find that their cramps get better as they age. This is often because their periods regulate and becomes slightly lighter.

In particular, many women report that after childbirth, they no longer experience PMS cramps, or other symptoms of PMS. It is thought that this is linked to changed hormone levels after pregnancy (although we’re not suggesting childbirth as an option to reduce PMS!)

Could PMS cramps a week before my period be a sign of something more serious?

PMS cramps are extremely common, and something most women will be able to relate to – for some the pain is mild, for others it is severe; for some the pain can come and go, for others there is little let-up.

However, in a few cases, these cramps may be an indication of a more serious condition, most commonly a disorder in reproductive organs, including:

  • Endometriosis – this is when the uterine tissue is found outside of the uterus
  • Narrowing of the cervix
  • Fibroids (non-cancerous growths) on the inner wall of the uterus
  • Bacterial infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

Generally speaking, the pain associated with these types of conditions is much more severe than normal PMS cramps.

Additionally, the pain lasts for much longer either side of the period, which makes many women fearful that cramps beginning a week before the period is an indication of a more serious condition.

It is important not to panic and think the worst, but if you do suspect a disorder of this kind, it is important to get it checked by a doctor or gynaecologist, as only with the correct diagnosis, can an appropriate treatment be found.
How do you ease PMS cramps? Have you got any tips and advice you’d like to share in the comment section below?

Ovulation Pain: When Cramps Come in the Middle of Your Cycle

While it’s unknown exactly why women experience cramping or ovulation pain, several theories exist. Before the egg is released, the follicle grows. This may stretch the surface of the ovary, causing pain. It’s also believed that blood and other fluid is released when the follicle ruptures, causing irritation that disappears as the fluid is reabsorbed. Because the ovaries have no openings, there may be some pain when the egg breaks through the ovary wall.

Six Signs of Ovulation Pain

Ovulation pain differs from menstrual cramps that come on just before or during a woman’s menstrual period. “It’s easy to recognize ovulation pain because it has a number of symptoms that are different from menstrual cramps,” says Autry.

The six signs of ovulation pain are:

  • It’s one-sided.
  • It comes on suddenly and without warning.
  • It’s a sharp pain, twinge, or cramping rather than a dull ache.
  • It often lasts only minutes, but may last a few hours or even up 24 hours.
  • It may switch sides from month to month.
  • It occurs about two weeks before your menstrual period starts.

Mild bleeding (spotting) or vaginal discharge may occur during this time. Some women may also experience nausea, especially if the cramping is severe. Mid-cycle pain is most common in adolescents and women in their twenties, but it can occur all the way up to age 45.

Understanding Your Body’s Signals

Women who experience ovulation pain may actually be at an advantage if they’re trying to get pregnant. Cramping in the weeks before your menstrual period is a sign that you’re ovulating and probably fertile. “You’re most likely to conceive if you have intercourse right before ovulation, on the day of ovulation, or immediately after ovulation,” says Autry.

On the other hand, mid-cycle pain may also help women who would rather not get pregnant. But while avoiding intercourse during times when you feel ovulation pain can be an effective back-up to your regular birth control method, don’t rely on it as your sole method of preventing pregnancy. “Sperm can live up to five days in a woman’s body,” cautions Autry. So you could get pregnant from unprotected sex on the days before you feel mittleschmerz pain.

Preventing and Treating Mid-Cycle Pain

For minor or brief ovulation pain, treatment is usually not necessary. For cramping that lasts more than a few minutes, over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) or naproxen (Aleve and others) will usually relieve the discomfort. Applying a heating pad to the site of the abdominal pain or taking a warm bath can also help. Heat increases blood flow, which relaxes tense muscles and eases cramping.

If your mid-cycle abdominal pain happens every month and is particularly bothersome, hormonal contraception (birth control pills, patches, or the vaginal ring) is an option because it prevents ovulation. And without ovulation, you can’t have ovulation pain.

Mid-cycle abdominal pain that is extreme or lasts longer than a day should be evaluated by a doctor. Appendicitis, ovarian cysts, and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy can sometimes mimic ovulation pain, although pain from these conditions is typically much more severe.

A medical exam and diagnostic tests can rule out other causes for abdominal pain. “But in the vast majority of cases, abdominal pain or cramping in the middle of the menstrual cycle simply means that you’re ovulating and the pain will disappear soon,” says Autry.

Find more information in the Everyday Health PMS Center.

Is Ovulation Pain an Accurate Way to Know When You Ovulate? Not Really.

About one in five women experience ovulation pain, a recurring monthly discomfort on either side of the abdomen. Many woman assume that the pain is associated with exactly when ovulation occurs, but surprisingly, this is not always the case; ovulation pain can happen at many points throughout the ovulation process.

Sometimes, ovulation pain is referred to as mittelschmerz, a German word that means “middle pain.” (Those Germans have a word for everything!)

What does ovulation pain feel like?

Different women experience ovulation pain (also called mittelschmerz) differently. Some of the ways that women describe it include:

  • The pain usually occurs on one side of the abdomen
  • It may alternate sides from cycle to cycle (this alternation happens randomly, because ovulation happens on a random side each cycle).
  • For some women, the pain is a dull ache that persists for a few minutes to a few hours.
  • For other women, the pain is sudden, sharp, and lasts for only a moment.
  • The pain is usually mild, but when it is severe, it can sometimes be mistaken for appendicitis.

What causes ovulation pain?

There are several hypotheses for what actually causes ovulation pain / mittelschmerz:

  • Swelling of ovarian follicles prior to ovulation: early in your cycle, multiple follicles begin maturing, with one of them eventually becoming dominant. Because follicles mature on both sides of the ovaries before dominant follicle selection, this may explain why ovulation pain is occasionally experienced on both sides of the abdomen.
  • Ovarian wall rupture: at the time of ovulation, the egg breaks through the walls of the ovaries. This may cause pain for some women.
  • Fallopian tube activity: After ovulation, the fallopian tubes contract to help the egg travel toward the uterus. This contraction may cause cramping.
  • Muscle contractions: At the time of ovulation, smooth muscles in the ovaries and its surrounding ligaments go through contractions in response to increased levels of prostaglandins (these are lipid-compounds that are also responsible for period cramps).

Is mittelschmerz a reliable way to detect your fertile window?

In a word, no. There are many different things that can cause pain in the abdomen, and some of them are completely unrelated to your menstrual cycle (digestive issues—like gas!—for example). Without ultrasound evidence, it’s impossible to know for sure that pain is associated with ovulation.

Even if mittelschmerz pain is associated with ovulation, evidence is mixed that ovulation pain happens at the precise moment of ovulation. The pain might happen before, during, or after ovulation, and there is no easy way to know how the pain you experience correlates to ovulation.

But even if you knew for sure that your mittelschmerz pain happened at the precise moment that the egg bursts out of the follicle, it wouldn’t be very helpful in knowing when to have sex to get pregnant. That’s because the best time to have sex is in the days leading up to ovulation, not the day of ovulation itself (see our complete fertility calendar here). Once the egg is released, it has a short lifespan of 12 – 24 hours maximum. Chances of pregnancy are much higher when sperm is already waiting in the fallopian tubes at the time of ovulation.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore ovulation pain if you happen to experience it. But it should be considered one among many fertility signs. The most accurate predictions are made when looking at the overall picture given by multiple different fertility signs such as temperature, resting pulse rate, and cervical mucus. (Or you can measure multiple signs at once with the Ava bracelet!)

How do you know it’s ovulation pain and not implantation cramps?

If you’re tracking your cycle, telling the difference between possible ovulation pain and implantation cramps should be easy. Implantation usually occurs nine days after ovulation. So if you know when you ovulate, you can prevent confusion about the source of the pain you’re experiencing. (And speaking of implantation … read our post on the truth about implantation bleeding.)

How do you know it’s ovulation pain and not something else?

Pelvic pain during the menstrual cycle can be caused by many different things, including:

  • Ovarian cysts
  • Endometriosis
  • Infections or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Ectopic pregnancy

By Lindsay Meisel | Jul 21, 2017 Tags: cramps, fertile window, follicular phase, ovulation, trying to conceive, ttc

Lindsay Meisel

Ovulation Pain: What Does Mittelschmerz Feel Like?

Since a single egg is released during ovulation, only one ovary is affected by the stretching and rupturing. This means that pain usually centers on one side of the abdomen or pelvis. Don’t be alarmed if ovulation pain switches sides between cycles.

Ovulation pain can range from mild to severe. Some woman also notice a bit of bleeding or discharge during mittelschmerz.

How Long Does Ovulation Pain Last?

Ovulation pain can last anywhere from minutes to a couple of days, says Dr. Kudesia. Some women feel mittelschmerz during every cycle, while others only have it occasionally.

  • RELATED: How to Find Your Fertile Window When You’re Trying to Conceive

What Are Other Symptoms of Ovulation?

Pain in your abdomen could have many different causes, including gas and sexually transmitted diseases. That’s why it’s important for those trying to conceive to recognize other symptoms of ovulation. According to Dr. Kudesia, these include breast tenderness and an increase in libido, as well as clear stretchy cervical mucus that resembles egg whites.

Keep in mind that pregnancy is most likely to occur on the day of ovulation and five days beforehand (since sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for five days). If you want to pinpoint your ovulation, consider using tools like ovulation predictor kits, fertility monitors, and basal body temperature thermometers. Learn more about finding your six-day fertile window (the time when pregnancy is most likely to occur) here.

How Do I Treat Ovulation Pain?

Mittelschmerz doesn’t last long, but if you need fast relief, try using over-the-counter painkillers. For a long-term solution, consider estrogen-progesterone hormonal birth control pills, which suppress ovulation.

Should I Worry About Ovulation Pain?

Ovulation pain is normal for many women, but mid-cycle abdominal cramping could also signal ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, appendicitis, or infection. If the pain occurs shortly before your period (instead of two weeks before), it may be implantation bleeding. See a doctor if you also experience severe pain that lasts for days, fever, heavy bleeding that isn’t your period, trouble breathing, painful urination, vomiting, or diarrhea.

  • RELATED: Finding Your Most Fertile Days: A 3-Step Guide
  • By Nicole Harris

What to expect at 5 days past ovulation (DPO)

The specific symptoms of pregnancy vary hugely from woman to woman. There is no “normal,” as each pregnancy is unique.

However, some of the earliest symptoms that women may notice tend to include the following:

Implantation cramping and bleeding

Women may experience cramps very early on in pregnancy. These are due to implantation, which is when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.

Implantation cramps may occur a few days after ovulation, and many women say that they feel cramps around 5 DPO. These cramps may occur in the lower back, abdomen, or pelvis.

Around 25 percent of women may notice slight bleeding around the time of implantation. This is called implantation bleeding, and it tends to be lighter in color and flow than a menstrual bleed.

Raised basal body temperature

Many women keep track of their basal, or baseline, body temperature while trying to conceive because it changes throughout the menstrual cycle. The temperature increases after ovulation and may stay higher than usual until the period begins.

A basal body temperature that remains unusually high beyond the typical length of time may indicate pregnancy.

However, these signs are not unique to pregnancy and can be due to another hormonal or lifestyle factor.

Other early signs and when they happen

Share on PinterestFood aversion may be an early sign of pregnancy.

According to the National Institutes of Health, other early signs and symptoms of pregnancy may include:

  • Breast tenderness. Hormone fluctuations may cause the breasts to swell, feel tender, and tingle or itch. Women may notice these symptoms as early as 1–2 weeks after conception.
  • Fatigue. Changes in hormones, especially a steep rise in progesterone during the early stages of pregnancy, may make women feel sleepy throughout much of the day. Fatigue can occur as soon as 1 week after conception.
  • Headaches. Raised hormone levels may also trigger headaches early on in a pregnancy, although the stage at which they appear can vary.
  • Food cravings. Many women find that they have very specific cravings during pregnancy, and these often begin early on.
  • Food aversion. Just as women may crave particular tastes, they can begin to find other flavors repellant. The smell or taste of some foods may make them lose their appetite or feel nauseous.
  • Urinating more frequently. The need to urinate more often is a sign of pregnancy in some women. It may be due to the increased levels of pregnancy hormones in the body, which increase blood flow in the kidneys and pelvic region.
  • Mood swings. Significant mood swings may also be an early sign of pregnancy. Again, these can result from significant changes in hormone levels. Mood swings may begin a few weeks after conception.
  • Morning sickness. Women may experience nausea and vomiting at any time throughout the day and as early as 2 weeks after conception.

Some women also report feeling dizzy or wobbly early on in pregnancy, often when they get up after lying down. This symptom may be due to changes in the blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain.

Some women cannot explain any specific symptoms or changes in their body, but they intuitively feel that something is different.

They might describe it as not feeling like themselves or feeling as though they are suddenly always a step behind. This may be a sign of fatigue and an indication of hormonal changes.

Cramping Pain During or After Ovulation? [Here’s Why]

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By Philip Druce, Founder of Ovulation Calculator

Cramping pain around the time of ovulation?

When you are trying to conceive, every ache and pain is put under the microscope.

…could it mean you are pregnant? Is something wrong?

In reality, many of the feelings you have during your cycle are normal and they were probably present before you were trying to conceive – they are just much more noticeable now.

But what about cramping 1 day after ovulation, or even 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 days after ovulation? Is that a normal part of your cycle or an indication of pregnancy? Read on to find out.

Ovulation Calculator asked 9,670 women if they experienced any pain during or after ovulation that felt like cramping and 50% said yes. See the survey results below.

There are over 3 million reported cases of ovulation pain each year in the US… but many more women suffer in silence and don’t talk about it!

Ovulation and Mittelschmerz

Cramping pain during ovulation actually affects about 20% of women (one in five). Some women experience very painful ovulation.

Here’s what happens…

The follicle (capsule containing the egg) is surrounded by follicular fluid in the ovary. When you ovulate, the egg, fluid and some blood are released from the follicle and ovary.

Causes of ovulation pain

There are a few theories as to what causes this pain;

  • Irritation caused by blood and fluid when the egg is released. The blood and fluid can irritate tissues in the abdominal lining.
  • Bruising is caused during ovulation when the ovarian wall ruptures.
  • Fallopian tube muscle contractions cause discomfort. The contractions gently move the egg towards the uterus.

The following images will help you understand these three causes.

The pain is referred to as Mittelschmerz, which comes from the German words for “middle” and “pain.” As this phenomenon describes a pain that occurs in the middle of the cycle, the name makes perfect sense. Contrary to popular belief, the presence of mittelschmerz in a cycle does not indicate pregnancy. It simply indicates ovulation.

However, there is one important distinction. Mittelschmerz occurs during ovulation. This is normally about 15 days before your next period, depending on your cycle and luteal phase length. If you are tracking your cycle closely, have never experienced pain or cramping during ovulation, and are certain that your cramping occurred after ovulation, it may be an indication that you are pregnant (more on this below).

Mittelschmerz affects 1 in 5 women and is most common between the age of 14 and 40.

Ovulation pain symptoms

A pain on one side of your lower abdomen and pelvic area that occurs about 15 days before your next period is due.

The pain can be described as a sharp and sudden abdominal pain or a dull and cramping like pain. In some cases the pain can be severe, but it is usually mild. Most women experience the pain for a short period of time (a few minutes to a few hours), but for some women the pain can last days (two to three days).

Scientists, researchers and doctors cannot explain why some women experience this pain and others don’t. It could simply boil down to genetics.

The pain can be agonizing for some women and can be confused for appendicitis. This pain will only stop occurring at menopause, or during pregnancy.


Ovulation pain treatment is not normally needed as the pain is not harmful. However, for severe cases of ovulation pain, it’s recommended women take pain relievers that you can get over-the-counter.

Cramping pain AFTER ovulation

Most women ovulate about 14 to 16 days before the start of their period. If you are closely monitoring your cycle and the signs of ovulation, you should know when you are ovulating.

If you experience cramping after ovulation, it is possible that you are feeling the effects of implantation. About 20% of pregnant women report that they feel cramping after ovulation. This is a very positive sign that you may be pregnant, but please understand that not all women experience cramping at implantation. So if you do not feel cramps after ovulation, you could still be pregnant. Take the Implantation Bleeding or Period Quiz.

Other causes of cramping after ovulation

Pregnancy is the most common reason why women experience cramps after ovulating, but that uncomfortable feeling could be due to other things. A menstrual period causes cramps in most women, and although you are not likely to get your period so close to ovulation, it is possible. If you are cramping from your period, though, you should see normal period symptoms follow soon after the uncomfortable feeling sets in.

Endometriosis is another possible yet uncommon cause of cramping that could occur after ovulation. So, if you are experiencing cramping after ovulation and it is not a pregnancy or your menstrual period, you may want to schedule a visit to your gynecologist.

Endometriosis can be a painful condition that may interfere with your ability to conceive, so it is important to involve your doctor early on if you think this may be a problem.

Other ovulation symptoms

Cramping pain is just one of 12 ovulation signs.

Knowing when you ovulate will greatly increase your chances of pregnancy

Are you having cramps and wondering if it’s just your period coming soon? Have you been trying to conceive and not sure what implantation feels like?

Implantation cramps are a healthy part of pregnancy and can often be one of the first signs.

In this post, we will discuss what implantation cramps are and how to tell the difference between menstrual and implantation cramps. We’ll also talk about what you can do for the pain, and when you should be concerned.

What Are Implantation Cramps?

For some women, implantation cramps are one of the first signs they have conceived. When conception occurs, an egg is fertilized by the sperm in one of the fallopian tubes. Cells start to divide and multiply rapidly within 24 hours.

The fertilized egg remains in the fallopian tube for about three to four days before it starts slowly moving down the tube to the uterus and becomes a blastocyst.

Once the blastocyst reaches the uterus, it implants into the uterine lining. This process is known as implantation and can often cause what are called implantation cramps. These are usually mild and can be accompanied by implantation bleeding, or light spotting (1).

Take Note

However, not all women will experience implantation cramps and bleeding. Some women are lucky enough not to have any cramping during early pregnancy.

How Long Do Implantation Cramps Last?

The blastocyst implants into the wall of your uterus in a short time. This process typically happens anywhere from 8-12 days following ovulation.

Take Note

Implantation cramps are usually minor and typically last just one to three days until the implantation process is complete (2).

Menstrual Vs. Implantation Cramps

Implantation cramps can happen around the same time as your menstrual cycle, so it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between PMS cramps and implantation. However, there are a few differences if you pay close attention to your symptoms.

  • The intensity of cramps: Notice how heavy your cramps are. Implantation cramps are mild, intermittent, and feel like a pulling/tugging sensation. Whereas, menstrual cramps tend to come on gradually be more intense and for most women.
  • Duration of cramps: Implantation cramps only last one to three days until implantation is complete. If you’re experiencing pains for longer than three days, then they are most likely PMS related.
  • Accompanied implanted bleeding: Implantation cramps are often accompanied by implantation bleeding. If you ’re spotting and are a bit early for your period, you could be having implantation cramps. Implantation bleeding is also much lighter or even brown in color, whereas PMS bleeding is typically bright red.

Implantation and early pregnancy symptoms typically occur around the same time, so watch out for pregnancy signs usually not associated with PMS, such as:

  • Increased urination.
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Food and/or smell aversions.
  • Metallic taste.
  • Missed period.

Likewise, look out for PMS signs not typical of early pregnancy, such as backaches.

If experiencing depression, you should see a healthcare provider to see if you are suffering from clinical depression or a serious, recurrent condition known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Editor’s Note:

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Keeping track of your cycle on the calendar will also give you a better idea if you’re dealing with menstrual cramps or possible implantation cramps.

If you’re still unsure, you can always take a home pregnancy test for a more definitive answer. Some home pregnancy tests claim to be able to detect a pregnancy as early as five to seven days after conception. However, waiting until one week after you would typically have your period will give you the most accurate answer.

Remember that a positive pregnancy test will only happen after implantation occurs because the early developing “placenta” must be in place in order to make pregnancy hormones, The test won’t be positive until several days after implantation or the bleeding has occurred.

Editor’s Note:

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Relief From Implantation Cramps

Implantation cramps can cause some discomfort, but remember they only last about one to three days. These cramps should be minor enough that you shouldn’t have to take any pain medication. If you do need some relief from implantation cramps, try a few of these techniques:

  • Try to relax: Stress only causes even more tension and discomfort. So try to relax; sit back and prop your feet up to help the pain pass. You could also engage in some relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing.
  • Take a warm bath: A warm bath will also help you relax and ease the tension. The warm water relaxes the ligaments and muscles of the uterus, relieving your cramps.
  • Hot compress: As an alternative to a warm bath, place a hot compress on your problem areas.
  • Get a massage: Have your partner give you a nice back massage or find a masseuse in your area.
  • Stay hydrated: Getting plenty of fluids will go a long way in easing and preventing any types of cramps.
  • Change positions: Simply switching positions may do the trick.
  • Yoga: Yoga will put you in a relaxed state of mind, get your blood flowing, and alleviate your pain.

When To Be Concerned

Cramping during early pregnancy is usually normal, but in some cases, it can indicate a serious problem.

Take Note

If you are experiencing persistent or severe cramping with a positive pregnancy test, see your OB/GYN or midwife as soon as possible.

It may just be gas or your uterus growing, but it may also be a sign of a miscarriage, placental abruption, ovarian cyst, urinary tract infection, or an ectopic pregnancy (3).

Take Note

You should also call your doctor if your cramps always seem to be on one side of your lower abdomen (whether severe or not), as this is often a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can rupture the fallopian tube, resulting in dangerous internal bleeding (4).

Other Cramps Throughout Pregnancy

Take Note

In most cases, minor, intermittent cramps are part of pregnancy.

Your body is going through a lot of changes to accommodate your growing baby. When your uterus starts expanding, the ligaments and muscles supporting it will stretch and this may result in some cramping. It will likely be more noticeable when you sneeze, cough, or change positions.

During the second trimester, you might begin to notice cramps caused by round ligament pain. The round ligament is a muscle in your lower abdomen which supports your uterus. When this muscle stretches, you may feel a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache in your lower abdomen. Round ligament pains will improve with rubbing the area and it will worsen with movement.

Other causes of minor cramping during pregnancy include gas and bloating, constipation, and sexual intercourse (5).

The Lowdown On Implantation Cramping

Implantation cramps are one of the first signs of pregnancy for some women. They can occur anywhere from 8-12 days following ovulation when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining.

Implantation cramps are mild and only last about one to three days. They may also be accompanied by light bleeding or spotting known as implantation bleeding. The pain shouldn’t be too bothersome, but if you need some relief, try relaxing, taking a warm bath, getting a massage, and staying hydrated.

Cramping during early pregnancy is typically nothing to be concerned about. However, if you’re experiencing severe or persistent cramps or cramps with heavy bleeding, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. These are possible signs of an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, placental abruption, or an ovarian cyst.

Implantation Cramps vs PMS Cramps: How to Tell the Difference

It’s a few days before your period, and you feel mild cramping in your lower abdomen. If you’re trying to get pregnant, the twinges may leave you wondering if you’re experiencing PMS or implantation symptoms. Here’s how to tell the difference to determine whether you’ve successfully conceived.

What Are Implantation Cramps?

Implantation occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining, signaling the start of a pregnancy, says Jingwen Hou, M.D., Ph.D., an Ob-Gyn specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii. While many women don’t show any signs of conception, about 30% experience implantation cramps. Sometimes implantation cramps are accompanied by light pink or brown spotting; you can also have implantation bleeding without cramps.

  • RELATED: Implantation Symptoms: Can You Experience Signs of Conception?

When Does Implantation Cramping Occur?

Not everyone experiences implantation cramping. It usually happens 10 to 14 days after ovulation – about two to seven days before your regular period is scheduled to arrive. Because of the timing, many women mistake implantation cramps for PMS. “It can be difficult to tell if you’re having your period or if it’s a sign of very early pregnancy because of the timing of it, and you may experience cramps for both,” says Dr. Hou.

What Do Implantation Cramps Feel Like?

Implantation cramps feel similar to menstrual cramps, and they’re mild in intensity. Some women perceive light pulling, tingling, or pricking sensations.

Where Do You Feel Implantation Cramps?

Many women detect implantation cramping in their lower abdomen and lower back. Sometimes cramps only manifest on one side of the body.

  • RELATED: 14 (Very) Early Pregnancy Symptoms

How Long Does Implantation Cramping Last?

The duration of implantation cramping also varies from person person. Some women experience a few minor twinges, while others feel intermittent pain that comes and goes over one to three days.

What Should You Do If You Have Implantation Cramps?

If you have cramping that isn’t followed by your period, it may be related to implantation. Dr. Hou notes it might be too early take a home pregnancy test, since the hormone hCG needs to reach high enough levels for detection.

Visit a doctor if cramps are sharp and radiate throughout your pelvis and abdomen. This may signal ectopic pregnancy, which means the embryo implanted outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy may also involve vaginal bleeding.

  • By Nicole Harris

Is Ovulation Pain Normal?

You knew that cramps came with the period package. But what about abdominal pain between your periods, in the middle of your cycle? There’s a very good chance you could be experiencing ovulation pain — a completely normal (if unpleasant) result of your ovary releasing its monthly egg.

Not everyone experiences ovulation pain. But if you do, ovulation pain can be a helpful sign to track if you’re trying to get pregnant. Here’s what you need to know about ovulation pain, including what it feels like, ovulation pain symptoms, how long it lasts and other conditions that might cause severe pain.

What is ovulation pain?

When an ovary releases an egg in the middle of your menstrual cycle, you may experience ovulation pain on one side of the lower abdomen or pelvis. Known in medical circles as “mittelschmerz” — German for “middle” and “pain” — it’s possible to experience ovulation pain occasionally or during every cycle.

Around two weeks before you expect to get your period, ovulation may cause a dull and crampy achiness, mild twinges or sharp and sudden pain on one side of your lower abdomen. You may feel pain on a different side each month, or on the same side for several months in a row, depending on which ovary releases an egg.

Keep in mind that abdominal pain at any other point in your cycle isn’t linked to ovulation. You might have menstrual cramps or another pelvic or abdominal condition. If it’s severe, check in with your doctor.

How long does ovulation pain last?

Ovulation pain usually occurs for a few minutes to a few hours, although it can last for up to one or two days.

Symptoms of ovulation pain

Ovulation pain symptoms may include:

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  • Pain on one side of the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Light vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • In rare cases, severe ovulation pain
  • Nausea, if pain is severe

Causes of ovulation pain

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes ovulation pain, but there are a couple of prime suspects:

  • Normal follicle growth before ovulation stretches the outside of the ovary, causing pain
  • When a follicle naturally ruptures at ovulation to release an egg, it also releases blood and fluid that irritates surrounding abdominal tissues

Is pain during ovulation normal?

Ovulation pain is completely normal: About 1 in 5 women experience some pain and discomfort around the time they ovulate. That said, you shouldn’t experience ovulation pain if you’re on the pill (a combination pill that contains both estrogen and progestin) or have a hormonal IUD because those types of birth control stop ovulation.

To figure out if the abdominal pain you’re experiencing is linked to ovulation, track your cycle for two to three months. If symptoms consistently happen about two weeks before each period, it’s likely ovulation pain.

To treat ovulation pain, try a painkiller like acetaminophen. Skip the ibuprofen if you’re trying to get pregnant, as it has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage when taken around the time of conception.

What does it mean if I have severe ovulation pain?

Many times, it’s normal to experience quite intense pain around the time you ovulate. However persistent or severe ovulation pain could indicate another problem that requires medical attention, including:

  • Appendicitis: A blockage in the lining of the appendix can cause an infection and inflammation, resulting in sudden pain that begins in the lower right side of your abdomen or around your belly button and worsens when you cough. You may also feel nauseous and have a (usually low-grade) fever, constipation, vomiting or diarrhea. Because the appendix can eventually rupture, causing a potentially deadly abdominal infection, it’s important to contact your doctor right away if you think you might be experiencing appendicitis symptoms.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: Rarely, fertilized eggs can implant outside of the uterus (usually in a fallopian tube), causing sharp and crampy abdominal pain that’s often accompanied by vaginal bleeding and early signs of pregnancy like nausea. See your doctor right away, especially if a pregnancy test comes back positive, as an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.
  • An ovarian cyst: While most ovarian cysts are small and don’t cause symptoms, a larger cyst can cause sharp or dull pain on one side of the lower abdomen that may come and go. Larger ovarian cysts may also clause bloating, pressure and swelling in the lower abdomen. If the cyst ruptures, it can cause sudden and severe pain.
  • Endometriosis: Sometimes tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows on other parts of the pelvic area and gets trapped outside the uterus, where it bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because the blood has nowhere to go, it irritates surrounding tissues and eventually leads to painful adhesions and scar tissue that can make it harder to get pregnant. Unlike ovulation pain, however, endometriosis pain tends to be worse during — not between — periods.
  • Sexually transmitted infection: STIs like chlamydia can result in scarring around the fallopian tubes if left untreated, which can cause abdominal pain and fertility problems. Other symptoms to watch out for include painful urination and unusual vaginal discharge. Many STIs, however, cause no symptoms at all.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Usually linked to an untreated STI, this bacterial infection of the reproductive tract often causes abdominal pain along with a foul-smelling vaginal discharge and vaginal bleeding between periods and after sex.
  • Scar tissue. Scarring due to C-section or other abdominal surgery can restrict the ovaries and surrounding structures, potentially resulting in severe ovulation pain and problems getting pregnant.

When to call the doctor about pain during ovulation

To rule out conditions like appendicitis or an ectopic pregnancy, check in with your doctor if you experience a new or sudden, severe pain in your lower abdomen, or if pain lasts more than a couple of days.

Also contact your doctor if abdominal pain is accompanied by:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Early signs of pregnancy and/or a positive pregnancy test
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Foul-smelling or otherwise unusual vaginal discharge

Ovulation pain is usually nothing to worry about. In fact, if you’re trying to conceive, knowing the signs of ovulation — which can include ovulation pain — can help you to get pregnant faster. After all, timing sex around ovulation is the best way to help sperm meet egg. But if you’re concerned about severe pain or other symptoms, it’s always a good idea to check in with your health care practitioner.Michaelpuche /

It’s that time of the month for me, and I’m cranky AF. Nope, I’m not PMSing. I’m ovulating. And it sucks balls (or should I say, ovaries).

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had very, ummm, pronounced symptoms during ovulation. Ovulation makes me hyper-alert, full of energy, and horny. But it also makes me angsty, edgy, and anxious. One moment, I want to jump my husband and have all the babies — the next, I want to stab everyone’s eyes out.

That’s only the emotional part though. The physical part is just as extreme for me (warning: graphic depiction of women’s fertility coming up). During ovulation, I’m basically a drippy (yes, from there), nauseous, hangry, stomach-achy mess. I am prone to migraines then (the kind that make me feel like I’m going to hurl) as well as flare-ups of my IBS. So fun, right?

I was never one of those gals who wasn’t sure when she was ovulating. My body has always made it loud and clear.

But perhaps the most awful and debilitating symptom I experience is a little thing called mittelschmerz, which is the German word that refers to ovulation pain (it literally means “middle pain” and is basically the perfect curse word to yell out when you are in the throes of ovulation pain).

The pain isn’t totally unbearable every month (and it’s subsided as I’ve gotten older — yay!), but sometimes it’s so bad that it requires me to get into bed with a heating pad on my abdomen, curl up in a little ball, and weep. Over-the-counter pain relievers help, but it’s also the unrelenting pressure and bloating (more on that later) accompanying the pain that makes me weepy.

Mittelschmerz is a concentrated pain on the side of your lower abdomen, where your ovaries are located. According to Mayo Clinic, the pain comes from the ovaries and fallopian tubes stretching in anticipation of the release of the egg. Blood and fluid that is released during ovulation may also irritate the lining of your abdomen causing pain.

The pain is usually felt on one side, alternating sides from month to month. But this varies greatly from woman to woman. Some women experience pain on one side each month for a few months; some experience pain on both sides at times (maybe because they are ovulating from both ovaries?!). Some women experience a little bleeding at the time of ovulation too. Thankfully, mittelschmerz usually only lasts a few hours, but it can last up to a day or two for some women.

All of this is normal and usually doesn’t require a trip to the doctor, but if your pain is extreme or if you are experiencing other symptoms, you should absolutely see your doctor for a checkup, as these symptoms could also be signs of endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or something more serious, according to WebMD. (For real, ladies: Never neglect worrisome health symptoms. You never know when something more serious is going on.)

For me, part of what makes ovulation pain so crippling sometimes is the bloating and other digestive symptoms I experience on top of the ovulation pain. I basically feel like all of my organs are being pushed to their maximum capacity, it hurts like a mofo, and I find it hard to move without feeling like I’m going to explode.

Fun times, I tell you.

What strikes me about something like mittelschmerz, and actually many of the symptoms of ovulation, is just how little we women talk about it. I’m a bit of a women’s health junkie (yes, there’s such a thing), so I’ve always been interested in things like this and have been researching the signs of symptoms of ovulation for years, especially because they were always so pronounced for me.

When I took an informal pool in preparation for writing this article, I was struck by just how many female friends of mine experienced mittelschmerz and other ovulation symptoms that knocked them off their feet each month. Many hadn’t really ever talked about it, and said to me, “Wow, I thought I was the only one!”

While mittelschmerz is typically not the most difficult female reproductive symptom women experience (though it can be quite debilitating for some), it’s definitely something that can be disruptive to our lives, but something that many of us feel too shy, uncomfortable, or ashamed to discuss.

I say we all start coming out of our shells, talking about the weird and amazing things our bodies are capable of doing, and start coming together more frequently to commiserate and support one another. Being a woman can be a tough business sometimes, but we all rise to the occasion like the rockstars we are! We need to have each other’s backs throughout it all, and sharing our diverse experiences with the stuff our bodies go through is beneficial for everyone involved.

So let’s talk about this stuff more. Let’s make more efforts to educate, support, destigmatize, and celebrate the beautiful, powerful, badass women we are.

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