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Home > Learn > Getting Pregnant > >How Long After Ovulation Pain is the Egg Released?

How Long After Ovulation Pain is the Egg Released?

Dec 20, 22 6 min

How long after ovulation pain is an egg released? Here’s your guide on pain during ovulation, why it happens, and how it relates to follicular development.

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr Kenosha Gleaton

An Overview on Ovulation

Ovulation refers to the period of the menstrual cycle when a mature egg is released from an ovary. This occurs when there is a high level of luteinizing hormone (LH) which tells the body to release an egg for possible fertilization. LH is the hormone that is detected when using ovulation tests. Ovulation happens about two weeks before menstruation but can vary from person to person.1 The released egg travels from the ovary into the fallopian tube and eventually to the uterus. Mature eggs only live about 24 hours after they’re released and die if they aren’t fertilized, triggering the next phase of the menstrual cycle and eventually repeating the next month. To estimate your ovulation more precisely, you can also make use of our free fertile window calculator.

Past ovulation, the body may exhibit different symptoms, potentially hinting at an early pregnancy. But before we get into those possible early pregnancy symptoms, let's look at common sensations during ovulation itself.

Common Symptoms During Ovulation

There are some symptoms that can be observed for some women during ovulation. Similarly to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which occurs during the luteal phase, or common period symptoms that occur during menstruation, ovulation symptoms may include:2

Changes in Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus does show changes throughout the menstrual cycle and is vital for achieving pregnancy.3 Find out how to determine when your cervical mucus is fertile with our guide.

Breast Tenderness

Mastalgia, or breast pain, is a common symptom during the menstrual cycle and is typically associated with the luteal phase, however some do report having breast tenderness during ovulation.4 Find out more in my article, Do Breasts Hurt During Ovulation?

Elevated Body Temperature

While this is harder to catch, basal body temperature (BBT) is a tool used to chart the ovulatory phase. Following ovulation, there is typically a small increase in degrees F.1

Cramping

Pain in the abdomen during ovulation is also known as mittelschmerz, which translates to “middle pain”.5 This type of abdominal discomfort can sometimes be confused with period cramps. However, it's important to remember that cramping after ovulation may also be a potential pregnancy symptom.

Is It Common To Experience Ovulation Pain?

Mittelschmerz, AKA ovulation pain, is a very common symptom during ovulation and is likely to impact over 40% of those menstruating.5 This ovulation pain is associated with an increase in LH levels and is often a one-sided ache or pain in the lower abdomen on the same side as the maturing follicle. Some experience this every month while others may never have ovulation cramping, or may experience it a few times in their lifetime.

Ovulation Test Kit used for tracking ovulation

What Does Ovulation Pain Feel Like?

Cramping during ovulation is slightly different from your typical period or PMS or period cramps. This ovulatory pain usually lasts a few minutes to a few hours and is typically felt on one side of the lower abdomen or lower back.6 The pain can be sharp and sudden or achy and dull, and can switch between sides from month to month, or may occur on only the same side. Sometimes mittelschmerz will be accompanied by some vaginal discharge or spotting.

However, if you experience severe ovulation pain, lasting more than two days, it is recommended to take a pregnancy test as these could potentially indicate early signs of pregnancy such as implantation cramps or implantation bleeding.

Ovulation cramping should not be extremely severe or last for more than two days.6 If your pain persists and you experience other symptoms such as nausea, fever, or heavy bleeding, you should see your healthcare provider to rule out other conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or an ectopic pregnancy.

What Causes Cramping During Ovulation?

There is no definitive answer for what causes painful ovulation, but researchers do have some ideas:7

  • The lining of the abdomen is irritated by the blood and fluid that is released after an ovarian follicle is ruptured.

  • The stretching of the surface of the ovary prior to ovulation causes pain or discomfort 

The short answer is that a maturing egg preparing to be released, or the actual release of the egg, causes discomfort and irritation 

When Is Ovulation Pain Supposed To Stop?

Mittelschmerz pain is directly tied to ovulation, which is technically only a 24-36 hour period of time when LH levels peak and an egg is released from the ovary for 24 hours.8 Ovulation pain is likely to last up to a few hours or even a day or two [6]. It shouldn’t last longer than two days, so if you’re in prolonged pain, you should talk to your doctor.

How Long After Ovulation Pain Is the Egg Released?

So when is the egg actually released when you’re experiencing ovulation pain? The specific answer is unknown, but we’re pretty certain that the discomfort and cramping after ovulation are occurring in the same 24-36 hours as ovulation day.8 Since the cause is unknown, the closest we are to answering this question is that the egg is released during or soon after ovulation pain. Likely within the first few hours of pain onset.

If you’re interested in tracking ovulation more closely, an ovulation predictor kit is a great way to watch as your cycle progresses and LH levels rise. Read more about how to track ovulation or shop Natalist products such as prenatal vitamins if you’re hoping to conceive soon.

Treating Ovulation Pain

Treatment for cramping and discomfort during ovulation is very similar to treatment of menstrual cramps and period pain. Home remedies such as heating pads, warm showers, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen should be enough to manage the pain. If you’re interested in avoiding ovulation and potential ovulation pain altogether, you could talk to your doctor about getting started on hormonal birth control.

If the pain is too severe or prolonged to treat at home, you should talk to your doctor immediately to rule out other conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Ovulation is the fertile period when an egg is released from the ovary and travels to the uterus

  • Mature eggs are only alive for 24 hours after they’re released

  • Ovulation symptoms can be similar to other period symptoms and include tender breasts, cramping, as well as a change in body temperature and cervical mucus

  • Ovulation pain occurs in about 40% of those menstruating and is medically referred to as mittelschmerz

  • Ovulation cramping is often felt on one side of the lower abdomen, can be dull or sharp pain, and usually lasts between a few hours to 24 hours

  • The egg is likely released within a few hours of pain onset, but could be released up to 24-36 hours after experiencing ovulation cramps

  • Treatment for ovulation pain includes ibuprofen, a heating pad, and other home remedies used for menstrual pain relief

  • Anyone experiencing pain that is severe, lasting more than two days, or is accompanied by nausea, vomiting and heavy bleeding, should see a healthcare provider immediately

 

Sources:

  1. Thiyagarajan DK, Basit H, Jeanmonod R. Physiology, menstrual cycle. National library of medicine. Published April 24, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500020/
  2. Gudipally PR, Sharma GK. Premenstrual Syndrome. PubMed. Published 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32809533/
  3. Cervical Mucus Monitoring | Time to Conceive. www.med.unc.edu. https://www.med.unc.edu/timetoconceive/study-participant-resources/cervical-mucus-testing-information/
  4. Tahir MT, Shamsudeen S. Mastalgia. PubMed. Published 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562195/
  5. Brott NR, Le JK. Mittelschmerz. PubMed. Published 2023. Accessed June 29, 2023. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31747229/
  6. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mittelschmerz - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mittelschmerz/symptoms-causes/syc-20375122
  7. Mittelschmerz: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. medlineplus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001503.htm
  8. Kerin J. Ovulation detection in the human. Clinical Reproduction and Fertility. 1982;1(1):27-54. Accessed June 29, 2023. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6821195/

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