Pelvic pain and cramps are a normal part of the menstrual cycle. In most cases, the pain and discomfort usually resolve at the end of the cycle. However, ongoing or moderate to severe pelvic pain can also be a sign of conditions like endometriosis.
Here’s what you need to know about pelvic pain and when to schedule an appointment.
Why do I keep getting pelvic pain halfway through my cycle?
A common cause of pelvic pain in the middle of your cycle is called mittelschmerz (German for “middle pain”). It’s caused when a follicle bursts and releases an egg during ovulation. Mittelschmerz pain occurs on one side of the lower abdomen, usually about two weeks before your period.
Mittelschmerz pain can feel like regular menstrual cramps and causes a dull ache on one side of your pelvis. It can also feel like a sharp shooting pain. Fortunately, most cases are mild and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Other possible causes of pelvic pain
Mittelschmerz can feel like regular period cramps, but it occurs on one side and only during ovulation approximately two weeks before your period. Other types of pelvic pain outside this window or moderate to severe pain aren’t caused by mittelschmerz.
Regular menstrual cramps can start before your period and last for several days. Unlike mittelschmerz, menstrual cramps affect both sides and can radiate to the lower back and thighs. Cramps can be mild, moderate, or severe and interfere with your daily routine and activities during your period.
In some cases, moderate to severe cramps are the result of underlying conditions like uterine fibroids or endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. The tissue becomes inflamed and bleeds like normal uterine tissue but isn’t released through menstruation and is trapped in your body.
When to see a gynecologist for pelvic pain
Cramps and some discomfort are common in the days leading up to and during your period. That said, don’t ignore significant pain or abnormally heavy bleeding. Keep track of your monthly cycle and take note of your symptoms to get a baseline for what feels normal for you.
If you have any questions or concerns about pelvic pain or develop new symptoms, schedule an appointment for an exam as soon as possible.
For more information about the causes and treatment options for pelvic pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist at our office in Houston.