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What is Mittelschmerz?

Mittelschmerz (MITT-ul-shmurz) is lower abdominal pain that occurs in women just before, during, or after the time of ovulation. It usually occurs about 14 days before your next menstrual period. Pain is usually a dull ache that lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Mittelschmerz may be felt on one side one month, then switch to the opposite side the next month, or it may be felt on the same side for several months in succession. This occurs because the pain radiates from whichever ovary is ovulating.

Mittelschmerz is a German word meaning 'middle pain'.

About 20% of women experience mittelschmerz. Some women experience it every month, some don't

Symptoms of Mittelschmerz

  • Pain in the lower abdomen at the time of ovulation
  • Slight vaginal bleeding accompanying the pain
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Sharp, cramping pain

Treatment for Mittelschmerz

Treatment for mittelschmerz is aimed at reducing the pain. Ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen can be taken to ease the pain. If pain is severe, birth control can be taken to prevent ovulation.

Complications of Mittelschmerz

There are usually no complications.

Call Your Doctor

You should call your doctor if:

  • The pain does not go away in a few days.
  • You have increased vaginal bleeding.
  • You have any unusual vaginal discharge.

Seek care immediately if you have any of the following symptoms

  • increase in pain
  • vomit blood
  • see blood in your bowel movement
  • feel dizzy
  • high fever
  • difficulty urination
  • difficulty breathing
  • swollen abdomen

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