October 17, 2017
Today’s word is MITTELSCHMERZ. It’s said exactly how it looks, and no, it’s not some weird cousin of German bratwurst. It actually means “middle pain” in German, and it’s that lower abdominal pain some of you ladies get when you’re ovulating (in that *middle* time between cycles, get it?). For some women, there may be a small amount of bleeding or discharge, a sharp discomfort, and even nausea if it’s particularly uncomfortable. Mostly, though, it will present as a dull or cramp-like feeling at your lower belly. Some women are so attuned to the sensation that they can tell which ovary released an egg based on which side they are feeling mittelschmerz-y that month!
So, why is it uncomfortable? There are lots of different theories, but no one is entirely sure. Some ideas include a peristaltic-like contraction of the fallopian tube, irritation of the abdominal lining after the egg follicle ruptures, the egg breaking through the ovary wall, smooth cell muscle contraction, or follicular swelling.
Yeah, that just got kinda technical. But here’s what’s important: if the discomfort you’re feeling goes away on its own if it’s not severe, and if you check your calendar and realize you’re mid-cycle (about 2 weeks before your period is due) — well, that’s some good ol’ mittelschmerz for you! For persistent or severe pelvic discomfort, though, it might be a good idea to check in with your friendly neighborhood pelvic physical therapist.