Mittelschmerz pain usually lasts a few minutes to a few hours, but it may continue for as long as a day or two. Pain from mittelschmerz may be:
- On one side of your lower abdomen
- Dull and cramp-like
- Sharp and sudden
- Accompanied by mild vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Rarely, severe
Mittelschmerz pain occurs on the side of the ovary that's ovulating — releasing an egg — in that menstrual cycle. The pain may switch sides every other month, or you may feel pain on the same side for several months in a row.
Keep track of your menstrual cycle for several months and note when you experience lower abdominal pain. If it occurs midcycle and goes away without treatment, it's most likely mittelschmerz.
When to see a doctor
In the vast majority of cases, mittelschmerz requires no medical intervention. However, contact your doctor if a new pelvic pain becomes severe, if it's accompanied by nausea or fever, or if it persists — any of which could indicate you have a condition more serious than mittelschmerz, such as appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease or even an ectopic pregnancy.
Jun. 11, 2011
- Blechman AN, et al. Evaluation and management of ruptured ovarian cyst. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 11, 2011.
- Forcier M. Emergency department evaluation of acute pelvic pain in the adolescent female. Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine. 2009;10:20.
- Welt CK. The normal menstrual cycle. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 11, 2011.
- Zurawski JM. Mittelschmerz. In: Hillard PJ. The 5-Minute Obstetrics and Gynecology Consult. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008:128.
- Williams R, et al. Gynecology. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-1-4160-2467-5&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2467-5..50038-5. Accessed May 12, 2011.