ZocdocAnswersWhat do regular ovary pains indicate?

Question

What do regular ovary pains indicate?

What does it indicate if a woman has regular pains in her ovaries? I have had this recurring problem for years and years, and I'm starting to worry that it could mean I have ovarian cancer or something that bad. What are the chances of this?

Answer

The ovaries are a part of the female reproductive system that produce hormones and release an egg every month for potential fertilization. Pain in the ovaries can be due to multiple reasons ranging from benign to more serious. The first thing that comes to mind when you mention that you have these pains regularly and for many years is something called mittelschmerz, or midcycle pain. It is characterized by pain in your lower abdomen or pelvis that occurs when you ovulate which is midway through your menstrual cycle (about 2 weeks before your period). It is usually felt on one side as the ovary releases its egg and can switch from side to side from cycle to cycle. Some women are very sensitive to this phenomenon whereas others feel the pain only occasionally or never at all. Other possibilities for ovarian pain include endometriosis, an ovarian cyst, pelvic inflammatory disease, or extremely rarely, ovarian cancer. It is very important to see your gynecologist or primary care provider to have a pelvic exam so your ovaries can be palpated and checked for any abnormalities. If you are young and healthy and have regular periods and your symptoms sound similar to mittelschmerz your doctor might provide reassurance and have you try taking tylenol or advil. However, if your pain is more severe or continuous or you have other symptoms or risk factors than a further workup would be needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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