In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Mittelschmerz—or ovulation pain, as it is commonly known today—is a benign preovulatory lower abdominal pain that occurs midcycle (between days 7 and 24) in women. Mittelschmerz may affect over 40% of women of reproductive age, and it occurs almost every month in these patients. It generally does not begin until a few years following menarche, when the true ovulatory cycles become established. Pain varies in severity from a mild ache to agonizing pain and is generally felt near the ovaries on the same side as the developing follicle. Mittelschmerz has been found to coincide with the peak in plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) levels when the follicle is enlarging and has not yet ruptured; however, mittelschmerz is unlikely due to follicular distention. Rather, the LH rise increases ovarian perifollicular smooth muscle contractility via a prostaglandin-mediated pathway, potentially producing pain.

Publication types

  • Study Guide