Ovulation Cramps Are a Sign of Ovulation

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Published: 23rd July 2007
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Abdominal cramping around the time of ovulation can be an excellent indicator of what is going on inside of your body. Knowing precisely when you are going to ovulate is very important for women and couples who are trying to conceive a child. However, ovulation cramping is only one way that your body is letting you know what is happening. You can also determine whether or not you are ovulating by your saliva, cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and for some women ovulation spotting. 


Ovulation occurs approximately 10 to 14 days after the first day of your period. Ovulation happens when a mature egg is released from your ovary and is then pushed down the fallopian tube where it waits to be fertilized. During this time the lining of your uterus thickens so that a fertilized egg will be able to easily attach to it. If the egg is not fertilized then the egg and the lining of your uterus are shed, and this is what is commonly known as a menstrual period. 


During ovulation women who are in tune with their bodies may notice light cramping on one side of their abdomen or the other. Ovulation pain can feel different to every woman and not all women feel it. Some women describe ovulation cramping as a pinching sensation, and others describe it as a very mild period cramp. For some women ovulation cramping may only last for a few hours, and others can feel very mild discomfort for a couple of days. 


The pain felt during ovulation is caused by the rupture of the follicle that is releasing the unfertilized egg. This is what is thought to cause the pinching sensation in some women. After the follicle ruptures the egg is pushed down the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube then contracts in order to push the egg down the tube. These contractions are what is thought to cause the mild cramping of ovulation. If ovulation cramping is uncomfortable for you, you can take an over the counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you know when you are going to ovulate you can even take a pain reliever before the cramping even starts. Make sure that you drink plenty of water during ovulation (and everyday) because dehydration can make cramping more intense. You can also try taking a warm shower or bath, or use a heating pad to try to relieve any discomfort. You may not want to use a heating pad if you are trying to conceive because there has been some evidence that heat can damage the egg. 


In addition to the mild cramping of ovulation, some women also experience other symptoms. During ovulation you may find that your breasts are tender, that you are bloated, and that your desire for sex is higher than usual. Some women also experience what is known as ovulation spotting. Ovulation spotting is usually a very small amount of blood that is released from the vagina, and it is caused by the rupturing of the follicle. 


Not all women experience ovulation cramping so you may be wondering if there are other ways to tell when ovulation is imminent. There are several ways that you can determine when ovulation will start including saliva tests, the consistency of your cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and ovulation predictors. 


During ovulation a woman's estrogen levels increase and the increase in hormones will make your saliva look differently than it normally does. To determine whether or not you are near ovulation by your saliva you will need a saliva ferning kit. A saliva ferning kit consists of a microscope and a glass slide. You place a sample of saliva on the glass slide and then wait for it to dry. After the sample dries you use the microscope and compare the sample on the slide to the instruction book with the kit. When your saliva "ferns" it will mean that you are going to ovulate in the next day or so. Ferning looks very similar to frost on a window pane. 



Some women also use their cervical mucus to determine when ovulation will begin. Cervical mucus is important because it keeps bacteria from entering the uterus that could cause an infection. Your estrogen levels increase before ovulation and will cause your cervical mucus to begin thin, watery, and clear. To use cervical mucus as an ovulation predictor you will have to test your cervical mucus daily, but it is something that you can do yourself. For the bulk of your monthly cycle there is very little fluid and little to no mucus because of a low hormone level. When your hormone levels start to increase in preparation for ovulation your cervical mucus will be sticky and opaque in color. As ovulation gets closer the mucus will become clear and thinner, some women even describe it as stringy. If you would like to use cervical mucus as on ovulation predictor all you need are clean hands, a piece of toilet paper, and a notebook so you can track your findings. 


Checking basal body temperature is another method that some women use to determine when they will be ovulating. To chart your basal body temperature you will need a basal body thermometer. This is not like a regular thermometer you use to check a fever. You can buy a basal body thermometer in the family planning section of any drugstore. You take your basal body temperature first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. Your basal body temperature will be lower during the first half of the month when your progesterone levels are low. Your basal body temperature will actually be at its lowest point when ovulation occurs, but as soon as it does there will be a spike in temperature. After ovulation your basal body temperature will remain higher through the second half of the month when Progesterone levels are increasing. You will need to chart your basal body temperature for several months before you can use it as an accurate predictor of ovulation.


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Comments
Janiece on September 2, 2011 said:
Best of luck to you on getting pregnant
Adrian Lawrence on September 2, 2011 said:
If you have any unusual pains, make sure you ask your doctor for advice, it could be something that needs checking out.
Emma Morris on September 9, 2011 said:
Great advice if trying for a baby, who would have guessed I could know when i'm ovulating without doing a test!
Mary on May 8, 2012 said:
For some people, symptoms of ovulation are nonexistent, or nearly so. For others, they're quite common. Usually, you're going to ovulate between 12 and 16 days after the first day of your last period. It can change if you have stress or sometimes ovulation can syncronise within a group of girls, seems to be natures way of keeping a group in the same condition so they can re-act accordingly.
Joanne on May 8, 2012 said:
Thanks for this helpful article. I'm wondering what the difference is between the spotting from ovulation and implantation spotting? Maybe you can write an article just on that, it would be a great help and read.
Lorraine on May 8, 2012 said:
Thank you so much for this wonderful information
Sholo on May 8, 2012 said:
Ovulation occurs in the middle of a woman's cycle. For women that have 28 days between each period, day 14 is approximately when you will ovulate. In other words, 14 days after the day your last period started, is around when you will ovulate. There are some really good articles on this site!
Sholo on May 8, 2012 said:
Is ovulation different after tubal ligation, do the eggs just collect up in the tubes?

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