A Doctor Explains What Ovulation Symptoms Are, Because They're Very Real

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You know when your period is coming. Your breasts enlarge, you start to feel some menstrual cramps, and the smallest things annoy the crap out of you. But what about when you’re ovulating – are you familiar with the side effects that come along with this part of your cycle? Alyssa Dweck, MD, gynecologist in New York, and author of The Complete A to Z For Your V: A Woman’s Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina, spoke to POPSUGAR about the kind of (totally normal) ovulation pain you may experience.

Perhaps the most common ovulation sensation you may feel is mittelschmerz. Yes, that’s a serious medical term (although it sounds like some sort of prank your roommate would play on you in college), and it refers to lower abdominal pain that comes with ovulation. “Some women get this every cycle, where they have an awareness that they’re ovulating,” Dr. Dweck told POPSUGAR. It’s described in various ways, but Dr. Dweck says you’ll often hear it defined as a twinge or a localized cramp.

“The hallmark is that it usually goes away fairly quickly,” Dr. Dweck added. It won’t last very long and it’s pretty predictable. It only shows up in the couple of days that you’re ovulating, which should be about 14 days before your next period.

Other than mittelschmerz, you may experience some bloating and breast tenderness. Dr. Dweck says these certainly aren’t uncommon, but they might be exacerbated if you consume a lot of caffeine during that time or eat salty, fatty foods. It might be a good idea to avoid these kinds of foods when you’re ovulating. Overall, though, these are side effects that shouldn’t cause you any worry, especially if they come and go fairly quickly.

Another standard side effect of ovulating is vaginal discharge that looks and feels different. You may notice that it’s wet, slippery, and similar in texture to egg whites. Additionally, you’ll notice that you have more discharge than usual, but the day after you’re done ovulating your discharge will likely decrease and become thicker in consistency.

However, there are some symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore. Dr. Dweck says if you have any kind of severe pain – whether it’s in your lower abdomen or breasts – that doesn’t go away quickly, takes your breath away, or requires a lot of pain medication, you should speak to your doctor, because there might be something else going on that isn’t exactly normal.

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