Are Ovulation Cramps Normal?

Short answer: Yes – Most of the time ovulation cramps are perfectly normal.

Roughly 1 in 5 women experience ovulation cramps, also known as mittelschmerz (“middle pain” in German). They occur during ovulation, when an egg is released from an ovary. The pain usually arises on either the left or right side of the stomach, around half way through your menstrual cycle. Which side depends on which ovary released the egg. The pain is usually a dull cramp, but sometimes will appear as sharp and intense. They can last from a couple of minutes to 48 hours.


The exact cause of ovulation cramps is still unknown. It is suspected that the cramps come from blood and other fluids, which escape the ovary during ovulation, irritating nearby nerves.


Ovulation cramps can be remedied with simple, over-the-counter painkillers. Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can also work, but should be avoided if you’re trying to get pregnant, as they can interfere with the ovulation process. Simply taking a hot bath can also help relieve some of the pain.


Very occasionally ovulation cramps can be a symptom of an underlying condition. If the pain becomes severe, or the cramps last longer than 3 days then see your doctor.