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Exploring the Link Between Ovulation Pain and Infertility

October 19, 2022

Can Ovulation Pain cause Infertility - black lady insert photo gripping her abdomen. Background graphic with infertility text

If you have been through ovulation pain, you may have a few questions about it, such as: what causes it, and are there any profound long-term implications (like infertility)?

This post will discuss ovulation pain and if and when you should see your doctor about it. (Or you can watch the video).

What Is Ovulation Pain

Ovulation pain comes from your lower abdomen and usually happens 14 days before your next period – i.e. midcycle.

This is about the time when the ovary releases an egg. The pain can occur on the right or left side, depending on which ovary releases the egg that month/cycle. 

Painful ovulation commonly happens in women aged 18 – 35 years.

It can be a very brief momentary discomfort, but in others, it can be more severe pain, lasting over 24-48 hours. It is also known as Mittelschmerz.

How follicles of ovary mature and possible causes of ovulation pain
Scientists believe that ovulation pain may happen when a mature follicle stretches or bursts while releasing an egg at ovulation.

Is Ovulation Pain Something to Worry About

Ovulation pain is usually harmless and quite common.

We don’t know why pain during ovulation can happen – it may be due to a mature follicle stretching the ovary’s membrane.

It may also happen when the egg bursts from the follicle, which bleeds and causes irritation around the ovary tissues.

These do not progress beyond that point.

But ovulation pain may also indicate a more severe problem.

These include:

  • A sexually transmitted infection (STI) can lead to inflammation around the fallopian tubes, causing pain.
  • Another cause is endometriosis; inflamed tissue can affect the ovaries and tubes, causing pain (see more about this in this video).
  • And if you had surgery like a C-section or Appendectomy, you may develop scar tissue that causes ovulation pain as it presses against organs like the ovaries or tubes.  

Does Painful Ovulation Affect your reproductive organs?

Generally, when you have painful ovulation from follicle changes, your reproductive organs are not seriously affected.

However, there may be serious implications when it happens alongside some of the conditions we discuss above. This is why it is essential to check with your doctor when the pain is severe and lasts longer than a few hours at a time.

Image of the ovary with zoom into a follicle - causes of ovulation pain
Light micrograph illustration of ovarian follicle (bottom left)

Can having Painful Ovulation lead to Infertility

Simply having ovulation pain because of the follicle stretching or bursting does not cause infertility. However, problems like Endometriosis, sexual infections, and scar tissue can. This is why these need to be diagnosed and treated quickly.

Treatment of Ovulation Pain

Treatment depends on the cause. For simple pain that is not severe or prolonged – warm baths, a hot water bottle, and simple pain relief like paracetamol or Ibuprofen, if they are safe for you to take, are quite appropriate.

If an underlying condition is associated with pain while ovulating, the next step is tests to find and treat the cause.

Will Pain from Ovulation ever go away?

This may depend on the nature of the pain and its cause. As we advise above, if you keep having prolonged pain, you should see your doctor for tests (such as an abdominal and pelvic exam) to check what else may be happening.

These tests can identify ovarian cysts, infections, scars and so on.

Once treated, the pain should improve. Otherwise, if you keep having the pain and the tests do not show any abnormalities, we could prevent ovulation altogether.

Often we achieve this by using some birth control method that suppresses ovulation, such as the combined hormone methods (pill/ring/patch).

Foods rish in vitamin D that may help with ovulation pain

Something else you can do that helps keep your hormones balanced is to maintain a healthy diet. The following foods are suitable for this purpose:

  • Those rich in vitamin D, such as milk, cheese and eggs
  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, salmon and mackerel
  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli

More Reading

Editing By AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners to help promote quality healthcare. 

The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
To discuss your condition, please get in touch with a health practitioner here.

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