Mid-Cycle Pain (Mittelschmerz)

You have pain during the middle of your menstrual cycle. This is called mid-cycle pain (mittelschmerz). Mid-cycle pain is caused by ovulation. Ovulation happens around the middle of the menstrual cycle when an egg is released from one of the ovaries. In some women, this causes sharp, cramping pain in one side of the lower belly (abdomen). It can last from a few minutes to a day or so. You may feel the pain every month or only once in a while. The pain may also switch sides from month to month.

In most cases, mid-cycle pain is not a serious problem. Treatment is focused on symptom relief. If needed, medicine may be prescribed.

Home care


You may use over-the-counter pain medicine to control pain unless another pain medicine was prescribed. If the pain is severe and happens every month, you may be prescribed birth control pills to prevent ovulation.

General care

To help relieve pain, try these tips:

  • Rest as needed.

  • Apply a heating pad to where the pain is as directed. You may also use a hot water bottle.

  • Soak in a warm bath.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as directed.  

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Pain gets worse or doesn’t go away in 3 days

  • Pain occurs during urination or sex

  • Vaginal bleeding when it’s not the normal time for your period

  • Abnormal or foul-smelling vaginal discharge

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Belly swelling

  • Pain that settles in the lower right part of the belly

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