Ah, ovulation. Or you’re trying to increase your chances of getting pregnant – or trying cautiously prevent getting pregnant — this is a topic that many people care about. Ovulation is the process near the midpoint of your cycle in which your ovary releases a mature egg for fertilization (and whether that egg has a chance of being fertilized is up to you). Whether you’re #TTC or not, many people with ovaries like to know exactly when they ovulate. And when it comes to tracking ovulation, some of the not-so-nice symptoms can make your mind spin (Why do I feel sick during ovulation? am i pregnant Is nausea during ovulation just a coincidence?). Just like your period, people experience this phenomenon differently. That said, there are some signs and tips that ovulation is occurring, according to experts.
Can ovulation cause nausea?
Simply put: “Yes, it is possible to experience nausea with ovulation,” says Dr. Renita White, MD, FACOG, a board-certified OB-GYN at Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology, to Romper. Everyone experiences ovulation differently, so while nausea may not be the most common sensation, it is certainly possible and not unusual to feel it.
In fact, there are a handful of symptoms that can occur around the time of ovulation. “Common symptoms during ovulation are a change in cervical mucus, mild cramping or lower abdominal pain typically on either side of the lower abdomen, and bloating and breast tenderness,” Dr. Prati Sharma, MD, FACOG, a reproductive endocrinologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto , says Romper. “Usually women don’t feel sick, but mild lower abdominal pain is quite typical. Changes in mood can also occur.”
What does it mean if you don’t feel well during ovulation?
There are a few different reasons why you may feel sick to your stomach around the time you ovulate. Menstruating people experience changes in their hormone levels during this time—specifically, a surge in something called the luteinizing hormone, or LH, 12 to 36 hours before ovulation. If you’ve ever used a home ovulation kit, this is the hormone it measures. This rapid increase in the LH hormone can throw your digestive system out of whack, making some people feel nauseous.
For Rachel Rodriguez, 27, there is absolutely no mistake when she ovulates. “I can literally feel my egg release from my left or right ovary about two weeks before my period every month. The pain is worse than my period cramps. It feels like something is being carved out, and Advil and exercise don’t help. It lasts usually about 45 minutes,” Rodriguez tells Romper.
There’s a name for this pain Rodriguez deals with on a monthly basis, and she’s not the only one who experiences it. Some people experience constant discomfort, while others experience sharp, intermittent pain. “Some women feel a twinge or even a painful sensation at the time of ovulation. Medically, this is called mittelschmerz, or ‘middle pain,’ which is usually a one-sided, lower abdominal pain associated with ovulation,” said Dr. Alan Copperman, MD, OB-GYN, tells Romper.
Great, because of course PMS and menstrual cramps aren’t fun enough on their own. The exact reason for mittelschmerz isn’t entirely known, but it’s thought to be linked to the blood and fluid released when growing follicles rupture and release your egg before ovulation. “It correlates with ovulation,” says White. “However, it is unknown whether the pain is due to the actual release of the oocyte (egg) from the ovary or if it is related to swelling of the ovary prior to release of the oocyte.”
Does feeling sick during ovulation mean you are pregnant?
Uncomfortable, nauseating symptoms due to ovulation can completely throw you for a loop as you wonder about pregnancy symptoms. However, the timeline doesn’t quite line up. “At the time of ovulation, it’s too early to be pregnant,” says White. “And it doesn’t correlate with sperm meeting the oocyte that has just been released.” So with pregnancy out of the mind for now, you can focus on relieving any unpleasant ovulation symptoms you’re experiencing.
Remedies for nausea during ovulation
If you are someone who experiences unpleasant physical changes during ovulation, there are two things to remember: They are temporary and normal. In fact, White says, “usually the nausea should be short-lived.”
Of course, these facts won’t make you feel better right now, but there is some treatments that might. “Applying warmth to the abdomen using a heating pad on a low setting can help with ovulation pain,” says Sharma. “Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Tylenol, Advil or Naprosyn can also help with abdominal cramps.”
However, Sharma also cautions, “If a woman is trying to conceive, we do not recommend using a heating pad or medication, as these may delay ovulation or interfere with conception and implantation.” For those who struggle with particularly painful ovulation and are not currently trying to conceive, birth control pills may be the best solution. This medication actually prevents ovulation altogether, thus reducing the side effects that come with it. Communicate with your doctor, and they will advise you if they recommend this as a form of treatment for you.
In general, ovulation can indeed make some people feel briefly unwell without cause for concern. That said, there are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate a medical problem. People should contact their doctor if the pain is severe, lasts longer than one day, is accompanied by bleeding, or comes after recent unprotected sex, as Dr. Richard Honaker, MD, a Texas-based family medicine physician, told Romper.
Sharma also notes that severe pain should be addressed by a doctor, especially if it’s excessive, requires time off work, or prevents you from performing daily activities. “If symptoms are accompanied by infertility (trying to conceive without success for six months to one year), an evaluation by a fertility specialist may be warranted,” she says. “Any time during the menstrual cycle that there is severe pain, more immediate evaluation should be considered as it may represent something more emergent.”
If you’re simply unsure about what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, it never hurts to reach out to your medical provider for more reassurance and insight. So, whether you’re hyper-aware when ovulation occurs or the whole process happens without you knowing it, one thing is for sure: menstruating bodies are fascinating.
Dr. Renita White, MD, FACOG, board-certified OB-GYN at Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Prati Sharma, MD, FACOG (OB-GYN and REI), reproductive endocrinologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto
Dr. Alan Copperman, MD, medical director at fertility treatment center Progyny
Dr. Richard Honaker, MD family physician based in Carrollton, Texas and affiliated with Baylor Scott and White Medical Center–Plano
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