Ovulation is the process where an egg is released from the ovaries into the uterus. For most women this occurs about every 28 days, however some women experience ovulation more or less frequently. Monitoring your ovulation can be helpful if you are trying to conceive or as a method of birth control. So, how do you know when you are ovulating? There are several symptoms of ovulation, but only about 20 percent of women can actually feel ovulation occur.
Women of childbearing age may exhibit a variety of symptoms when ovulating. Don’t be alarmed if you feel some pain or discomfort during ovulation. This is called mittelschmerz, or middle pain, experienced by one in five women. For these women, it is possible to actually feel yourself ovulate.
What Does Ovulation Feel Like?
For women who experience mittelschmerz, varying degrees of pain will accompany ovulation each month. The pain will be located on one side of the body, but may switch sides from month to month. The pain will usually be a sharp, cramping pain that differs from regular stomach or menstrual cramps. Ovulation pain only lasts 24-48 hours.
In addition to the pain, you may sometimes experience nausea during ovulation. Again, this nausea should not be severe and it should only occur during the middle of your cycle.
Why Is It Painful?
Before ovulation, the ovaries produce a follicle to release the egg. Additionally, after the egg is released, a small sac of fluid or blood may be released, causing irritation. Both these conditions can cause mild pain.
Can I Use These Symptoms to Predict Ovulation?
While this pain is usually a sign that you are ovulating, it should not be used as a primary indicator. The sensations you experience from ovulation can take place 2-3 days before or after ovulation.
Ovulation pain that is severe or that occurs throughout your cycle is generally not a sign of ovulation. If you are experiencing regular pain and nausea, you should consult a medical professional. Regular ovarian pain can be a sign of a serious medical condition.
All women experience individualized symptoms of ovulation. While you may not feel pain, you may experience other indicators, such as a headache, during ovulation. Tracking your symptoms and learning different indicators of ovulation, such as body temperature and vaginal symptoms, can help you determine whether what your feeling is caused by ovulation. Learning your own body’s signs and symptoms is the best way to understand how your body responds to ovulation.
University of Maryland Medical Center
American Pregnancy Association
Signs of Ovulation
US National Library of Medicine