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Mittelschmerz (German: "middle pain") is a medical term for "ovulation pain" or "midcycle pain". About 20% of women experience mittelschmerz, some every cycle, some intermittently.
Additional recommended knowledge
Symptoms and diagnosis
Mittelschmerz is characterised by lower abdominal and pelvic pain that occurs roughly midway through a woman's menstrual cycle. The pain can appear suddenly and usually subsides within hours, although it may sometimes last two or three days. In some women, the mittelschmerz is localized enough so that they can tell which of their two ovaries provided the egg in a given month. Because ovulation occurs on a random ovary each cycle, the pain may switch sides or stay on the same side from one cycle to another.
Diagnosis of mittelschmerz is generally made if a woman is mid-cycle and a pelvic examination shows no abnormalities. If the pain is prolonged and/or severe, other diagnostic procedures such as an abdominal ultrasound may be performed to rule out other causes of abdominal pain.
The pain of mittelschmerz is sometimes mistaken for appendicitis and is one of the differential diagnoses for appendicitis in women of child-bearing age.
The pain is not harmful and does not signify the presence of disease. No treatment is usually necessary. Pain relievers (analgesics) may be needed in cases of prolonged or intense pain.
Hormonal forms of contraception can be taken to prevent ovulation -- and therefore ovulatory pain -- but otherwise there is no known prevention.
Mittelschmerz is believed to have a variety of causes:
Women charting with some form of fertility awareness may find mittelschmerz to be a helpful secondary sign in detecting ovulation. Because normal sperm life is up to five days, however, mittelschmerz alone does not provide sufficient advance warning to avoid pregnancy. Because other causes of minor abdominal pain are common, mittelschmerz alone also cannot be used to confirm the beginning of the post-ovulatory infertile period.
Other ovulation symptoms
Women may notice other physical symptoms associated with their mittelschmerz, or near ovulation. The most common sign is the appearance of fertile cervical mucus in the days leading up to ovulation. Cervical mucus is one of the primary signs used by various fertility awareness methods. Other symptoms are sometimes called secondary fertility signs to distinguish from the three primary signs.
Categories: Gynecology | Syndromes
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mittelschmerz". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|