One in five women experience pain during ovulation, but most of the time the complaint is in the lower abdominal area. That doesn’t eliminate the possibility of radiating back pain, however. The ovaries sit on the lateral wall of the pelvis, so cramping can extend to the back muscles on occasion. The key with any pain is to gauge the severity and monitor other symptoms to determine what is abnormal for you.
A Little about Mittelschmerz
Mittelschmerz is the medical name for pain during ovulation. The menstrual cycle goes in stages. It starts with an increase of the hormone estrogen. This prompts the uterus lining to thicken in anticipation of egg implantation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from its individualized sac, or follicle.
It is not exactly clear why some women experience discomfort during this phase. In order for the egg to travel into the uterus, the follicle must burst open. That popping may be one source of the pain. Fluid released with the egg may cause irritation, as well.
The pain you experience during ovulation is similar to menstrual cramping, but less intense. Many women complain of back pain during their period, so it makes sense that it may be a part of mittelschmerz, as well. Mittelschmerz generally presents as a sharp, pinching sensation that lasts anywhere from one hour to two days.
Things to Consider
Pain is the body’s way of saying something is happening. With mittelschmerz, it indicates an egg is being released, but many conditions cause back pain. Ask yourself a few questions if you experience this type discomfort.
Is it new? – New pain requires an investigation. Endometriosis, herniated disk, even heart problems or some types of cancer can present as radiating back pain. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you always get a twinge in your back mid cycle, this is probably part of ovulation for you. If it is new, however, it’s worth a trip to the doctor.
What are the other symptoms? – Back pain by itself may not be a concern, but when accompanied by a fever, heavy bleeding or severe abdominal cramping, it is significant. If the pain is harsher than you remember it ever being before or accompanied by other symptoms, then it is something new.
Pain during ovulation is normal for some women. Back pain, although not as common as cramping, might be part of that experience. If you get it most months and the pain is tolerable, it may be harmless mittelschmerz. If you don’t know or are concerned, talk to your doctor.
Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia-US National Library of Medicine