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What Is Mittelschmerz?

This specific pain or cramp only occurs at certain times


Updated June 09, 2014

Young woman experiencing abdominal pain
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Do you experience pain or cramps between periods? If you do, you may be experiencing Mittelschmerz.

Mittelschmerz is pelvic pain and cramping that occurs during ovulation in some women. The word Mittelschmerz originates from Germany and translated means "middle pain." It typically refers to the one-sided sensation that some women feel around the time that an egg is released from the right or left ovary. Mittelschmerz is also referred to as painful ovulation, mid-cycle pain, and middle cramps or pain.

Ovulation normally occurs about two weeks after the first day of menstruation. During ovulation, one of the ovaries releases an ovum, or egg, into the corresponding fallopian tube. This is when some women experience pain or cramps between periods.

About 20% of women experience the severe pain or cramps caused by Mittelschmerz. Women who experience Mittelschmerz, feel severe or sharp pain or cramping on one side of the lower abdomen, and although it may feel like something serious is wrong, Mittelschmerz is almost never serious.

Other symptoms that sometimes occur with Mittelschmerz include nausea and / or light bleeding or spotting. The good news is that the pain, cramps, and other symptoms associated with this condition usually last only six to eight hours, although, Mittelschmerz can last up to 24 to 48 hours.

Tips for Self-Care during Mittelschmerz

Fortunately, you have several options to ease the pain and symptoms of Mittelschmerz. Your options include:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking at least eight glasses of water daily
  • Using a heating pad, or taking warm baths to ease pain
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help relieve pain
  • Take your temperature often anytime you experience severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain.

Tip: How to Make Your Own Heating Pad

When to Call Your Doctor

Certain signs and symptoms indicate a need to call your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. These symptoms include:

  • Call your doctor if you have a fever because you may have an infection that is unrelated to Mittelschmerz
  • Pain not relieved by these tips
  • Pain that lasts longer than two or three days
  • Heavy bleeding during ovulation
  • Having a vaginal discharge in addition to pelvic pain

Seek emergency care if any of the following occur:


Mittelschmerz; MedlinePlus; accessed 11/12/07.

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