You’re not expecting your period for at least another good couple of weeks and you’re going about your day when it hits you -- those cramps that have you doubling over in pain. Maybe you’re meticulous about tracking and you usually don’t have to worry about cramping until your period actually comes. So what’s going on?
Well first, let’s start off by ruling out a couple of other possibilities behind your mid-cycle cramping. Implantation could be one reason to explain your cramps. Cramping caused by implantation usually occurs up to a week before your period’s arrival. It is classified as a milder form of cramping that is more irregular, occurring off and on.
Cramping caused by implantation becomes more apparent when combined with a late or missed period, which are both strong signs that you may be expecting. Of course to be absolutely sure, take a home pregnancy test two weeks after your missed period and confirm the results with a doctor’s office visit.
However, if your cramping begins 10 days to two weeks before you’re expecting your monthly visitor, chances are high that your discomfort may be caused by the natural process of ovulation. During this process, the follicle inside the ovary continues to grow and once burgeoning with the added pressure, bursts and releases an egg.
Ovulation cramping can best be described as a sudden twinge of pain felt on one side, though the pain ranges in severity and the length of time cramping is experienced also differs. The side of your abdomen that will cramp is dependent on which ovary has released the egg and often switches intermittently. Other possible symptoms that accompany ovulation cramping are nausea and breakthrough bleeding.
Understanding how your body works and identifying whether your cramping is caused by ovulation can be especially helpful for women trying to conceive or practicing natural family planning. Since sperm survive in the body for 3-5 days, planning sex around the time frame you begin to experience cramping increases your chances of conceiving.
On the other hand, avoiding sex during this fertile time can help ensure you successfully prevent pregnancy with the aid of reliable birth control methods. Also simply being more in tune with your body can help you to mentally prepare to deal with these symptoms ahead of time and make life easier.
Many women will experience ovulation cramping at some point in their lives while some women never get symptoms. Depending on how great your discomfort, home remedies to alleviate the pain from ovulation cramping include a hot compress placed on the afflicted side, over-the-counter ibuprofen, or a natural remedy like lavender oil if you prefer. For women who deal with more debilitating pain, a hormonal birth control option that stops ovulation altogether may be recommended.