Question: Is lower ovulation back pain normal?
If you are experiencing back pain during ovulation on the right or left side, it’s normal that you will be concerned.
Here’s an email I received from Ashley (one of my readers)
Hi Doctor Dunn,
I am 22 years old and have a regular 27 days menstrual cycle. Recently, I had sex with my boyfriend after the end of my period, and now a week later, I feel mild cramps on the right side of my abdomen and back.
I experienced the same pain on the left side last month and I’m worried if this is normal. Should I take a pregnancy test?
Just like Ashley, it’s normal that after an unprotected sexual intercourse, abdominal cramps and back pain may cause you to wonder if you are pregnant. The truth is your mild back pain is not abnormal, and except you experience a severe back pain during ovulation, there is no reason to worry.
At the age of 14, a lot of young girls will have already started having menstrual period that comes with abdominal cramps. These cramps are usually located in your lower abdomen, though could spread to other parts of your body, including your back.
After the end of your menstrual period, your body’s estrogen and follicle stimulating hormone help in the development of follicles that are released during ovulation.
Ovulation is the monthly release of an egg from your ovary; and in fact, if you’ve started having regular period, it means you are already ovulating.
Just like period cramps, it’s not abnormal that you will feel cramps during ovulation. These cramps are usually mild and can occur before, during and after ovulation.
Ovulation pain, also called Mittelschmerz pain, is common in about 20 percent of women, and it can also be felt at your lower back.
While it’s possible your right or left side back pain may be due to ovulation, a severe and long-lasting back pain with abdominal cramps may indicate something more serious.
Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, adhesions from previous surgeries, sexually transmitted vaginal infections, peptic ulcer disease, acute appendicitis, and indigestion may cause you to feel back and abdominal pain.
This article explains what lower back pain during period mean, when it’s abnormal, when to worry, and when to see a doctor.
What causes lower ovulation back pain?
First of all, most women will not have any form of back or abdominal pain while ovulating. So, if you feel pain in your left or right side of your back, it may or may not be due to ovulation.
Having said that, 1 in 5 women will feel ovulation back pain and its nothing serious. Ovulation back pain occurs because of changes in your ovaries around the time of ovulation.
Like most women with a 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation period will occur about a week after the end of your menstrual period
Before this time, and just after the end of your period, follicle stimulating hormones and estrogen cause the growth of 16 to 20 ovarian follicles in your ovary.
These follicles will increase in size until only one follicle gets “bigger than others” and contains the egg that will be expelled during ovulation.
Abdominal and back pain before ovulation occurs because of expansion and stretching of your ovaries and follicles.
During and after ovulation, you may also feel a sudden sharp pain in the back. This pain occurs because of fluid and blood that irritates the lower abdomen and your back.
How to tell your lower back pain is due to ovulation?
There are many reasons women could develop lower or upper back pain. It’s important you know how ovulation back pain feels like, the timing and other symptoms of ovulation.
1. Nature of pain
Ovulation pain is a sudden sharp pain that occurs in your abdomen and lower back. This pain is short-lived and within 48 hours subsides on its own without any form of pain relief.
Rarely, it’s possible that some women will experience a severe back pain during ovulation, though, it’s important you check it out with your doctor to rule out a burst ovarian cyst.
2. Ovulation back pain timing
Ovulation back pain occurs before, during and after ovulation has occurred. So, if you experience a mild or sharp pain anytime during your ovulation period, its nothing you should worry about.
Lower back pain before ovulation occurs because of stretching of your ovaries. It’s also possible for women to experience a lower back pain after ovulation. This occurs due to inflammation of your abdomen due to bloody fluid released during ovulation.
Depending on your menstrual cycle, your ovulation period will vary. If you have a 28 days menstrual cycle, on day 14, ovulation will occur.
However, if you are not sure of your menstrual cycle length, these are some easy ways to tell you are in your ovulation period
Your vaginal discharge
From the start of your menstrual cycle to the end, your vaginal discharge texture, color, volume, and thickness will vary.
During the early parts of your menstrual cycle and after the end of your period, it’s normal your vagina feels dry with occasional milky or creamy vaginal discharge that is thick, non-smelly and whitish.
During ovulation, your vaginal discharge becomes watery, clear, egg-like, stretchy and jelly-like. If you experience a clear watery discharge in the middle of your menstrual cycle and back pain, it’s likely because of ovulation.
Bloating and nausea
During ovulation, transient abdominal swelling and tightness are common. You may also have nausea and vomiting.
Other signs of ovulation are mid-cycle spotting, increased sexual drive, brown vaginal discharge, breast pain and swelling.
Ovulation back pain for days: When to worry?
Ovulation back pain usually last for 1 or 2 days, and then you will feel okay (even with any form of treatment). If you experience back pain for days to weeks, its likely not because of ovulation.
Here are other reasons your back pain is lasting longer than usual.
About 176 million women will have endometriosis, and if you do, it’s possible you will have a mild, moderate or severe back discomfort.
Endometriosis means the displacement of endometrial tissue that usually coats the inside of the uterus to other parts of your body like the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and the abdomen.
In most women, abdominal pain is the most common symptom. Though, you could develop pain in your back that last for days.
Other symptoms of endometriosis are painful sexual activity, excruciating cramps during menstruation, pain during bowel movement, painful urination, heavy menstrual periods, infertility, and body weakness.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor for more evaluation and advice.
2. Ovarian cyst
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that happen when an ovarian follicle fails to break open and release its content during ovulation.
If this occurs, and cyst grows very big within your abdomen, you will feel back and abdominal discomfort.
Worst still, if an ovarian cyst ruptures and releases blood into your abdomen, you will feel a sudden sharp abdominal and back pain.
3. Peptic ulcer disease
A peptic ulcer is an injury to the lining covering your stomach and upper parts of your small intestine. If you have a stomach ulcer, a sharp, burning and biting upper back pain is common.
4. Pelvic inflammatory disease..see here
5. Uterine fibroids..see here
6. Urinary tract infections
Can lower back pain during ovulation be due to pregnancy?
During ovulation, abdominal and back pain may occur and resolve on its own. Should you have unprotected sexual intercourse during this time, it’s unlikely your back pain is due to pregnancy.
It takes at least 7 – 12 days after ovulation for implantation of an embryo to occur. Implantation occurs when your fertilized egg is attached to your womb.
During this time, you may also experience back pain, mild vaginal spotting, and abdominal cramps. However, these symptoms occur just days before your next menstrual period.