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Mittelschmerz - The Pain Between Periods

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Updated November 08, 2009

Have you ever experienced severe midcycle pain? Does pain and cramping seem to occur during ovulation? What you are experiencing may be Mittelschmerz. Mittelschmerz is a German word which translated literally means "middle pain." Other words you may hear include: ovulation pain, midcycle pain, menstrual, middle pain, or cramps.

Ovulation usually occurs about two weeks after the first day of your last period. Mittelschmerz occurs during ovulation when an egg is released by the ovaries. For some women, this causes severe pain and cramps on one side of the lower abdomen. Although the pain may feel like something serious is wrong, Mittelschmerz is rarely serious.

Occasionally, in addition to midcycle pain and cramping, some women may experience nausea, and/or light menstrual spotting. Mittelschmerz lasts for 6 to 8 hours in most women; however, occasionally it can last as long as 24 to 48 hours hours.

Taking Care Of Yourself

  • Rest.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

  • Use a heating pad (try making a homemade tube sock heating pad), or take warm baths to ease the pain.

  • Use an over-the-counter remedy such as acetaminophen or naproxen sodium.

  • Check your temperature several times a day to be sure you are not developing an infection.

  • Call your doctor if the pain is severe and these self-help tips do not ease your midcycle pain.

If you experience midcycle ovulation pain that lasts longer than 2 to 3 days, experience heavy bleeding, or have any unusual vaginal discharge, call your healthcare provider.

Signs You Need Emergency Care

  • Vomiting blood.

  • Blood in stool.

  • Increased pain.

  • Faintness or dizziness.

  • High fever.

  • Difficult or painful urination.

  • Swollen abdomen.

  • Difficulty breathing.

Source:

Medline Plus. Mittelschermz. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001503.htm. Accessed 07/12/09.

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