There are various disorders and conditions that can cause pain in the ovaries, ranging from cysts to tumors.
Ovaries are female genital organs that are paired in the abdomen.
Therefore, if the ovary hurts, the pain is felt in the lower abdomen, below the navel at pelvic level.
With delayed menstrual bleeding, pain in the ovaries does not mean that pregnancy exists, there are many possible causes.
Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary
When the follicles in the ovaries do not release an egg, they sometimes fill with fluid.
Cysts in the ovary (ovarian cysts) usually disappear on their own after a few monthly cycles, but in some cases surgical intervention is necessary.
In women with polycystic ovary syndrome, fluid-filled sacs develop in the ovaries every month in response to the hormones.
These cysts can burst and bleed, causing severe pain in the ovaries.
Ovarian cysts need to be checked regularly, because they can become dangerous; the doctor may recommend hormone therapy or surgery.
When the lining of the uterus (endometrium) also occurs outside the uterine cavity, it is called endometriosis.
The foreign tissue can attach itself to the fallopian tubes, the lower gastrointestinal tract or the ovaries.
The migrating cells of the uterine lining still react to estrogen and progesterone, so they bleed during menstruation.
Endometriosis causes constipation, ovarian pain and back pain.
The doctor must determine the appropriate therapeutic measure, which can be hormone therapy or surgical intervention.
Ovarian cancer (ovarian cancer)
Since most women do not develop any symptoms in the initial phase of ovarian cancer, this condition is difficult to diagnose.
Severe pain in the ovaries usually occurs only at an advanced stage of the disease, and low back pain can also make itself felt.
Signs of ovarian cancer include: frequent and strong urge to urinate, swelling, constipation, loss of appetite or bloating.
Information about menstrual bleeding, such as strength of blood flow, cycle duration and cycle-accompanying symptoms, are important for the doctor to assess the patient’s state of health.
If there is persistent pain in the ovaries, which have not disappeared after a few days, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately.
The therapeutic measures for the treatment of ovarian cancer are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
Infectious disease of the small pelvis
Pelvic infiammatory desease (PID) is an infection that can affect the fallopian tubes, ovaries or uterus.
It is often caused by a sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea or a chlamydia infection.
PGD causes difficulty urinating, irregular menstrual periods, discharge with mostly foul odor, pain during sexual intercourse, fever, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting.
During a pelvic examination, discharge and the appearance of lumps can be checked. Blood and urine tests are done to control the infection-causing bacteria. In some cases, an ultrasound can provide information about whether the reproductive organs are swollen or whether an abscess is present. A laparoscopy may be necessary to confirm the suspicion of diagnosis. The treatment is carried out by the administration of antibiotics, which support the destruction of the infecting bacteria. Often the sexual partner must be treated.
Ovarian remnant syndrome (ovarian-remnant syndrome)
This syndrome occurs when remnants of the ovaries unintentionally remain in the body after ovarian or uterine removal.
From these remains of the ovary, cysts can form, causing difficulty urinating or pain during sexual intercourse. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan may be used to provide a clear picture of what remains in the body, after which the doctor may perform an abdominal incision (laparotomy) or laparoscopy (laparoscopy) to remove the ovarian tissue.
Pain during menstruation
Swelling, headaches and nausea are among the most common menstrual cramps that usually disappear after the menstrual period.
Acute pain in the lower abdomen at pelvic level may indicate various diseases.
Premenstrual symptoms may begin a few days after ovulation.
If the use of the contraceptive pill is interrupted, the menstrual pain may be as before.
A drug for the treatment of menstrual pain, for example, is Buscopan, which relieves the cramping discomfort (spasms) in the abdomen.
There are few natural remedies for menstrual pain in the ovaries, a hot water bottle can help. Cold compresses should be avoided.
Pain in the ovaries during pregnancy
When a woman becomes pregnant, the appearance of certain ailments is inevitable; other pain, on the other hand, must be reported immediately to the doctor. In some cases, the pain is felt in the first weeks of pregnancy, but it can also occur at a later stage; still other women have discomfort throughout pregnancy.
The symptoms at the beginning of pregnancy can be compared to the symptoms of the premenstrual phase, so the pain in the ovaries is not proof of pregnancy.
If a woman feels pain in the ovaries, that’s never a good sign.
Pain in the ovary, abdomen, pelvic or vaginal region must be reported immediately to the doctor, regardless of the month of pregnancy (e.g. third, fifth, ninth month), but especially if it occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy.
They can be an indicator of serious issues, such as:
Pain in the ovaries can occur once or become chronic.
Ovarian pain after in vitro fertilization
In vitro fertilization means fertilization in the glass, i.e. the artificial insemination of the egg.
Many women are afraid of the pain that this medical procedure brings. If pain in the ovaries is noticeable, it does not mean that you have lost the child; if the pain is not very severe, there is no need to worry.
Pain after scraping
If severe pain occurs after scraping, the doctor must be notified, because it could be caused by inflammation or infection.
The implantation of the egg into the uterus can cause pain in the ovaries and brown discharge.
Pain in the ovaries during sexual intercourse
Dyspareunia is a term for pain in the pelvic region during or after sexual intercourse. One does not know exactly how common they are, because not all women with this problem go to the doctor.
According to surveys, about 30 to 40% of women suffer from sexual pain. As a rule, they occur at the beginning of sexual life or with menopause.
Ovarian pain during ovulation
Pain in the ovary can occur sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left side, depending on where ovulation takes place.
Discomfort during ovulation is common and is usually harmless.
However, they can also indicate serious conditions, such as endometriosis.
Pain that occurs cyclically during ovulation is also known as mittelschmerz.
Concomitant symptoms of ovulation pain:
Abdominal pain, approximately at the level of the hip.
The pain usually occurs two weeks before menstruation.
Depending on where ovulation occurs, the right or left side is affected.
The pain may switch to the other side on the next cycle or occur on the same side for a few cycles.
The pain is perceived very differently by those affected, for example as strong pressure, unpleasant feeling, stings, acute or cramping pain.
The duration of the complaints is variable, from a few minutes to 48 hours.
Theories on the possible causes of pain in ovulation
The exact causes of pain in ovulation are unclear, but there are the following theories:
- Dominating follicle – the hormones cause the ovaries to produce about 20 follicles.
Each follicle contains an immature egg, but usually only one follicle grows to jump maturity. It is believed that ovulation pain is caused by expansion of the follicle in the ovarian membrane.
- Follicular rupture – when the egg has matured, the follicle bursts.
This can cause a slight bleeding. The peritoneum could be irritated by the blood or follicular fluid and cause pain.
In case of doubt, a pregnancy test brings clarity.
What can be done?
A visit to the doctor can rule out that the pain occurring during ovulation is caused by a disease.
General rules of conduct for benign ovulation symptoms:
- If the pain is particularly severe, bed rest is recommended.
- Take painkillers.
- Heat can help the abdomen.
- Warm compresses or hot baths create relief.
- Take anti-inflammatory drugs. The doctor or pharmacist knows which means are most suitable.
- The birth control pill or other hormonal contraceptives can prevent the pain because they prevent ovulation. This possibility can be discussed with the doctor.
- If the pain persists for more than three days or if concomitant symptoms such as heavy bleeding occur, a doctor should be consulted. It is important to determine whether the pain comes from the ovaries or other organs, such as the intestine.
There is a high probability of getting pregnant if a couple has sexual intercourse in the days before, during and after ovulation. Some women plan pregnancy based on ovulation-related pain. However, if you want to avoid pregnancy, you should not follow it, other contraceptives must be used here.
Differential diagnosis of ovarian pain
At the first pregnancy, it is not easy for the woman to feel whether the pain occurs on the ovaries or somewhere nearby.
If you are not sure, a visit to the doctor is always recommended, because the pain can also be caused by other complaints, such as:
- kidney stones,
- infections or diseases of the gallbladder,
- infection of the bladder or urinary tract, e.g. cystitis,
- ovarian cysts,
- bacterial infection in the surrounding region,
- Appendicitis – the inflammation of the appendix can be confused with ovulation pain.
Pain in the ovary or other reproductive organs can easily be confused with pain that comes from the abdominal and pelvic region.
This happens because these organs are located in the same abdominal area.
Many women have ovarian cysts during their fertile period that come and go. Anyone who wants to get pregnant while there are cysts or pain in the ovary should first talk to the doctor to solve the problem. The cyst could be malignant, in addition, pregnancy with ovarian cysts is not a good idea.
Nausea is almost always a side effect of ovarian pain.
The doctor may recommend eating smaller meals frequently.
Sexual intercourse in pregnancy can provoke pain in the ovaries. Unfortunately, in this case, the doctor may advise to refrain from sexual intercourse until the cause of the pain is clarified.
Often pregnancy disrupts the organs located in the abdomen and pelvis, so a doctor should be consulted.