How Long Does Mittelschmerz Last?
Mittelschmerz is the lower abdominal and pelvic pain experienced by a woman in the middle of her menstrual cycle or mid-cycle. This ovulation pain mostly appears suddenly during the 11-14 day and can be mild to severe in intensity. This pain can last from a few hours to a few days. How long it lasts varies from person to person. It is derived from the German word, which means middle pain and will occur midway through the menstrual cycle.
In majority of the cases it does not require any medication to relieve Mittelschmerz. For cases where the pain is severe over the counter drugs can be given such as ibuprofen to ease the pain and discomfort. When the pain is not bearable and symptoms do not go away then the doctor might prescribe contraceptive pills to prevent ovulation. Mittelschmerz can either occur before ovulation or during the time of ovulation. In some cases it can also last after ovulation and persist till the next cycle. Pain before ovulation starts 2-3 days before the release of the egg from the follicle, when it grows rapidly than the normal rate it causes increased pain around the time of ovulation.
Mittelschmerz that occurs at the time of ovulation is caused due to rupture of the mature follicle to release the egg. When the egg will burst out of the follicle it can lead to intense pain in some women along with major discomfort. This type of pain can last for a few minutes (20-30 minutes) and fades thereafter. The exact time of ovulation cannot be determined on the basis of ovulation but if the pain suddenly increases and eases quickly after that it can be a sign of fertility.
The severity of Mittelschmerz is increased when there is leakage of blood and fluid from the follicle into the cavity of the pelvis from the site of ovulation. The pain post ovulation can last longer than a few days and sometimes even persist for weeks till the next menstrual cycles. The woman will experience mild symptoms but they will cease with time when the activity of the ovary will decrease and the fluid and blood that has leaked into the pelvic cavity is re-absorbed from there. The abdominal cramps occur as a result of contractions in the fallopian tube when the egg will pass through it into the uterus.
Diagnosis And Management Of Mittelschmerz
A woman will give history of mild to severe lower abdominal pain that will occur monthly during the mid-cycle. There will be complaints of discharge and bleeding also in some cases. The other conditions presenting with similar complaints should be ruled out such as appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease or an ectopic pregnancy. Additional tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.
Although Mittelschmerz is not a serious condition and in mild cases no treatment is required. But it could lead to a lot of discomfort in severe cases and hamper day to day activities. In cases where the pain is severe and lasts for more than 2-3 days should be consulted with a physician. Lower abdominal pain and discomfort could also be a sign of a serious underlying condition and should be properly addressed. The doctor will prescribe you acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen such as Advil, Aspirin, Motrin IB or naproxen sodium to relieve pain and discomfort. In cases where the symptoms cannot be controlled with prescribed painkillers then oral contraceptive pills are given to prevent ovulation and hence the pain is avoided.
In the long run the pain has known to subside after some years and birth of a child but in some cases it can continue to bother women for a long time. It is important to avoid any unnecessary stress, adopting a healthy lifestyle, cessation of cigarette smoking and abuse of alcohol can have a positive effect on your reproductive system.