Ovulation Pain? Cycle Disruptions Beyond Your Period

Ovulation Pain? Cycle Disruptions Beyond Your Period

Last week I was in my ovulation phase and I experienced something out of the ordinary for me: 

Ovulation pain!

I had minor cramps (that felt different than menstrual cramps but sort of similar) and breast tenderness, and the combo made me wonder if I was menstruating suuuuuuuuper early. 

I was not. 

I was experiencing ovulation pains! 

Now, some menstruators regularly experience discomfort with ovulation. 

There's even a name for ovulation pain: mittelschmerz.

Mittelschmerz is a German word meaning "middle pain" for pain in the middle of your cycle. 

At ovulation, the follicle holding the mature egg ruptures, and some people experience that as pain, which can be very brief, sudden, sharp--or longer, duller, and linger for up to two days.

And of course, some people rarely, if ever, experience mittelschmerz. 

And then others commonly experience breast tenderness after ovulation, which is their body responding to the upswing of progesterone. 

Hormonally speaking, this is a great sign that your body has ovulated, since the follicle that ruptured at ovulation transforms into a short-term hormone factory producing progesterone during your luteal phase. 

Breast tenderness after ovulation can last a day or two, or even the entirety of the luteal phase, depending on how your body is responding to that progesterone. 

Something to remember: Every body is different, so my normal may be different than your normal, which may be different than your best friend's normal, etc. 

And the message your body is sending behind a symptom you experience often may be different than the message it sends using that symptom rarely.

But here's the key: Understanding our own personal normal is vital to then be able to recognize abnormalities. 

If I knew nothing about my regular cycle symptoms, there are a few different ways this could have played out:


Step 1: I experience abnormal (for me) mittelschmerz and breast tenderness.

Step 2: I don't notice and carry on, oblivious to my body's experience and what it means. 


Step 2: I get curious, possibly mildly concerned, and turn to Dr. Google. I find that middelschmerz is nbd, so I again...

Step 3: Carry on, oblivious to my body's underlying experience and messaging. 


Step 2: I take a pregnancy test. 

Step 3: Get a negative and wonder what just happened in my body, possibly experience some grief and disappointment and other complex emotions.

Step 4: Carry on, misinterpreting the message my body was sending me. 


Thankfully I was able to instead receive the real message my body was sending to me through this out-of-my-ordinary cycle experience:

Rest. You're doing too much.

In all the other scenarios, I would have missed that message.

I'm just wrapping up a very busy three months--the longest bout of sustained busyness I've experienced in five years!--and I have been feeling my body and psyche soooo looking forward to the finish line. 

My body was reminding me to set boundaries during my ovulation phase (a time of the cycle when we're very likely to add more to our plate, say yes to a lot, feel like we can do everything) by getting my attention with some physical sensations that I hadn't experienced before. 

(If you tend to overcommit yourself in your ovulation phase, I made a reel with a tip on how to resist that tendency!) 

So instead of having a minor freakout, or being completely oblivious, or wondering what's wrong with me, I was able to receive my body's message with ease and gratitude. 

And spend some time connecting with myself and my body, reminding her that we're on the same page and that rest will come shortly. 

(The irony was that I was actually on a very lovely vacation during ovulation--but my body still experienced it as stress because of early travel, different diet, and I also got seasick and a touch of food poisoning...so my body was still definitely in a stressed/overloaded state even though it was a great break in a lot of ways.)

I relish that I was able to receive the message my body was sending to me--that I know the language of my body, and I know how to tune in beyond the symptoms. 

All because of menstruality work. 

Work With Me

And the other great thing?

Now I know how to support myself too, so that mid-cycle disruptions don't spiral into full-cycle disruptions. 

To support my body where it is right now and ensure that this doesn't translate into exacerbated PMS and period symptoms, here's what I'm doing to support myself:

  • Rest, as much as I'm able. 
  • Go slow, give myself buffers, when I have unavoidable tasks and commitments. 
  • Use my castor oil pack.
  • Get outside, go on walks.
  • Yoni steam a few times before my period comes.
  • Seed cycle and take my Lunamore tincture to help regulate my hormones.
  • Dry brush, gua sha, womb massage. 
  • Nourish my body with high-quality foods.
  • Say yes to things that fill my tank, and no to things that are optional or can be done later or by someone else. 
And the biggest one: I'm not going to be strict or rigid about following these guidelines. 

I'm going to support myself in the least stressful way possible, and do the things that are easiest and have the most impact.

This is one great example of just how much understanding the language of our body can make a difference in how we experience our whole lives. 

And maybe this sounds great to you, but also a bit far-off. 

Maybe it sounds like it would take a long time to get there, or you wouldn't know how to interpret your body's messages, or you would then have no idea how to support yourself even if you did know how to receive your body's wisdom. 

Maybe you don't know what normal is, or what your normal is. 

Maybe your symptoms feel too big to respond to something simple like this. 

Maybe your normal is filled with cycle disruptions, pain, discomfort, mood swings, or something else--and you think this is just how it will always be for you. 

I get it. 

We hold so much in our wombs, and this is a very hard path to journey alone, especially in a culture that doesn't make it easy to build this awareness, this type of relationship with our bodies. 

You don't have to journey this alone.

I love nothing more in the world than helping people come into deeper relationship with themselves and their bodies and learn how to support themselves. 

We all need support. We all need guidance. 

If you're ready to explore just how much of a difference menstrual cycle work can make for you (and it's okay to still be hesitant, nervous, overwhelmed, unsure!), I would love to support you in deeply personalized womb work. 

My books are open now for just a couple of 1:1 clients ready to start their journey. 

If this sounds like something you're eager to explore, start here and let's see where I can best support you. 

Often, support is the very best thing we can give ourselves. 💜

Let me help you learn the language of your body. 

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