What is Cramping after Ovulation?
Women of reproductive age go through the process of ovulation as part of the menstrual cycle. Ovulation is the process of releasing egg by a mature ovarian follicle in preparation for fertilization. The egg is then ready for fertilization for the next few days until it disintegrates if not fertilized. Ovulation occurs once a month until menopause and ovulation also ceases when a woman is pregnant and breastfeeding.
Cramping is a normal experience during post ovulation period. Most women of reproductive age and premenopausal age experience cramping although for some, it rarely occurs or do not experience it at all. Pain and cramping occurs during the second phase of menstrual cycle. Cramping is associated with lower abdominal pain that radiates to the legs and back. The cramping pain can be classified as intermittent, mild, and moderate to severe. Cramping pain can be felt on the side on which ovary released the egg and the pain lasts for few minutes to 48 hours from onset of pain.
The breakdown of uterine lining when not fertilized releases molecular compound called prostaglandins. These prostaglandins cause the uterus to contract constricting blood supply to the endometrium. Chemical substance in the body known as leukotrienes is also elevated during the time of uterine lining breakdown and plays a role in the inflammatory response which can be related to menstrual cramps.
Post ovulation cramping is not a serious concern unless the pain experience is excruciating and debilitating which can be alarming, medical attention must be sought. Cramp and pain are symptoms of post ovulation period and it may also be sign of pregnancy. The gravity of pain and abdominal cramping differs from one woman to another.
Cramping in suspected pregnancy is termed as implantation cramping which is very common and normal during the early stage of pregnancy. Cramping or implantation cramping is associated with implantation bleeding that is usually the first sign of pregnancy especially if bleeding occurs on expected day of menstrual cycle although the amount of blood released is not much in comparison with the actual menstrual period. The cramp may be experienced as mild or dull pressure in the lower abdomen while implantation bleeding may or may not occur with implantation cramping.
Implantation cramping is slight and brief and may last for a day or two and should cease after pregnancy test is obtained. Implantation takes place around 8 to 10 days from ovulation to fertilization and cramping usually happen between these days when the zygote attaches itself to the uterine wall.
Cramping 2 days after ovulation is due to the zygote attaching itself to the uterine wall after fertilization. The body of reproductive woman experiences a lot of changes in their body and sudden changes in hormone and uterine contraction is the reason for cramping.
3 days post ovulation cramping is similar to cramping during ovulation period
4 days post ovulation cramping is felt on the pelvic associated with itchiness or similar to yeast symptoms
5 days post ovulation pelvic cramping is light, breast soreness and discharge of yellowish cervical mucus
6 days post ovulation cramping is light and breast tenderness or soreness is present
7 days post ovulation cramping is light and UTI symptoms can be felt
Cramping post ovulation in the presence of pregnancy is the result of uterine changes as it prepares for the implanted eggs for its growth and development to fetal stage. The growing uterine wall is putting pressure in the abdomen that results to aching pain and abdominal cramping.
It is normal for cramping to occur during post ovulation and when expecting. Cramping should be described as slight and brief however, if cramping is severe and lasts for more than several days, then medical attention should be sought as this may sign of other condition such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Causes for Cramping After Ovulation
Cramping after ovulation is due to uterine contractions and can be experienced by pregnant and non-pregnant women. The cause may also be due to emerging follicle or ruptured follicle and cramping post ovulation may also be a symptom of another emerging condition such as:
- Endometriosis occurs when endometrium grows outside or in another location such as the bowel.
- Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of pelvic organ of females including the uterus, ovaries, cervix and fallopian tube and the disease is developed through sexual transmission that results from sexual practice with multiple sex partners.
- Salpingitis is the infection and inflammation of the fallopian tubes where lower abdominal pain and cramping is one of the symptoms.
- Mucus Congestion causes abdominal cramping after ovulation as mucus accumulated and is unable to be excreted resulting to fallopian tube swelling.
- Ovarian Cysts are located within or on the surface of an ovary characterized as fluid-filled sac about the size and shape of an almond. Large ovarian cyst causes abdominal discomfort such as intermittent or constant dull ache that may radiate to lower back and thighs.
Cramping after ovulation is asymptomatic but women can tell if they are ovulating and if cramping is a normal experience to women then symptoms of ovulation can help them predict the onset of cramping. Signs of ovulation may be noticed if a woman takes note of the monthly changes in her body prior to the onset of regular menstrual cycle. Signs of woman ovulating are:
- Increased cervical mucus before and during ovulation period where the mucus is described as slippery and similar to egg white.
- Sexual drive is also increased and woman is easily sexually stimulated during the ovulation period.
- Breast tenderness occurs before and during the ovulation.
- Water retention occurs resulting to bloating.
- Vulva becomes swollen and sensitive.
The goal of treating cramping is alleviation of pain. This can be achieved with over the counter pain relievers. Cramping and pain can also be alleviated with hot compress.