Between ovulation and menstruation, it’s not uncommon to feel ovarian pain. But the question of why do I have pain in my left ovary? does not have just one answer.
Many women will experience pain in one or both of their ovaries at some point in their lifetime.
But just because pelvic pain is a shared frustration doesn’t mean the causes are the same.
We tackle eight possible reasons that you could be feeling left ovary pain, plus tips to find some relief.
In this article 📝
- Why do my ovaries hurt?
- Why do I have pain in my left ovary?
- Should I be worried if my ovaries hurt?
- How do I relieve pain in my left ovary?
Why do my ovaries hurt?
Let’s start with a quick spin around the anatomy of these extraordinary organs.
Ovaries are reproductive glands in your pelvis that house and release your eggs.
They are also responsible for producing the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which play several important roles in your body, including keeping your cycle in check and supporting pregnancy.
So how do you know pain is from your ovary?
If you’re experiencing any acute or chronic pain in your lower abdomen below your belly buttom, lower back, or pelvis, chances are it’s your ovaries talking.
The pain can vary depending on the cause as can whether it’s limited to one ovary or both.
Why do I have pain in my left ovary?
Here are the seven more common causes of ovary pain:
1. Period pain
Possibly the most common source of ovarian pain.
Period pain that comes every month is called dysmenorrhea.
You may feel it in your lower abdomen, back, or thighs.
For some, period pain can be accompanied by fatigue, nausea, and diarrhea.
Why does period pain happen?
Throughout your menstrual cycle, you release a chemical called prostaglandin, which causes your uterus to contract.
These contractions are strongest during your period and can cut off the supply of oxygen to the surrounding tissue, causing pain. Fun.
Period pain usually lasts somewhere between twelve and 72 hours.
2. Ovulation pain
The other name for ovulation pain is Mittelschmerz, meaning “middle pain” in German.
It happens mid-cycle when you are ovulating and usually feels like a dull ache on one side of your pelvis.
You may also experience additional ovulation symptoms such as spotting, bloating, and despite the discomfort, an increase in sex drive.
If your pain during ovulation is on the left, it means that you’re likely ovulating from that side this month.
The endometrium is the tissue that lines your uterus.
Sometimes, endometrium-like tissue grows outside the uterus, including in your ovaries.
Endometriosis pain might happen during your period, when you have sex, and/or when you pee and poop.
You might also experience heavy periods, diarrhea, and nausea.
This is a long-term condition and can affect women of any age – not just those trying to conceive.
Most importantly, it’s not an infertility problem – endometriosis is strongly associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
If you experience painful pelvic pain and cramping every period, don’t accept it as the norm.
Periods are uncomfortable but they should never be excruciating.
And just because you can tolerate it, doesn’t mean you have to.
4. Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids are growths that develop in the wall of your uterus.
They are most common in your 40s and 50s. In most cases, they are non-cancerous.
They can cause pain and discomfort, make your periods heavy, and may cause you to want to pee often (due to the pressure the fibroids put on the bladder).
5. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of your reproductive system that is often caused by bacteria.
Bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can all be at the source.
Other than pain, you might experience strong-smelling, unusual discharge, spotting between periods, and a burning sensation when you pee.
If the infection travels up your female reproductive tract, it can reach the ovaries and cause pain around the lower tummy or pelvis.
6. Ovarian cysts
These two words instantly spark anxiety, but don’t worry, they are essentially just benign fluid-filled sacs on your ovaries.
That’s not to say they don’t cause plenty of discomfort – right or left pelvic pain, irregular bleeding, lots of peeing, and pain during sex are common symptoms.
Thankfully, they are easy to diagnose with an ultrasound and tend to go away by themselves.
Alternatively, your doctor may suggest hormonal birth control or minor surgery if your case calls for it.
7. Ectopic pregnancy
That’s when a fertilized egg grows outside your uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.
Pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding are usually the first signs. It can be mild or severe.
Most women will experience its pregnancy-like symptoms somewhere between the fourth and twelfth week of pregnancy.
There’s always a chance that any abdominal pain you are feeling could actually be something else, like trouble with your digestive or urinary tract.
8. Ovarian cancer
A rare cause but definitely worth talking about.
There are many types of ovarian cancer and they don’t typically present with pain in the ovaries.
Often, you won’t feel anything in the beginning, but eventually, it can cause severe ovarian pain, bloating, and trouble eating and peeing.
According to the American Cancer Society, women are more likely to experience symptoms once the cancer has spread.
But symptoms can also develop in the early stages.
Whether chronic or acute, a dull ache or a sharp pain, discomfort in your pelvic area is not par for the course of having a female body.
You know if something is not quite right so honor it and call your healthcare provider.
At the very least you can find some relief knowing nothing is wrong.
Should I be worried if my ovaries hurt?
If you have pain that doesn’t go away, is very intense, and/or is a new type of pain that you have never experienced before, it’s good to go and get a check-up.
It could just be period or ovulation pain – but there’s no need to delay if you’re concerned. Better safe than sorry!
The doctor may perform a pelvic exam, and in some cases, send you for an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan so that they can get a better understanding of what’s going on inside.
How do I relieve pain in my left ovary?
That all depends on what is causing it.
Pain medication with an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, can provide symptomatic relief.
Sometimes, you might need to try stronger painkillers like co-codamol, which you can get after speaking to a pharmacist.
For endometriosis and fibroids, painkillers might not be enough and your doctor might prescribe hormone therapy or in some cases suggest surgery.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is typically treated with antibiotics.
Some other steps you can take to keep the pain at bay include:
- Warm baths
- Regular, gentle exercise
- Hot water bottles or heating pads
- Products specially made for cramps, like the OOVI pulse therapy kit
If you experience severe ovarian pain in your abdominal area during pregnancy, check in with your doctor.
While aches and pains are common over this time, any constant or severe pain, or pain that gets worse over time, could signal that something serious is up.
Pain can be very stressful so reach out to your Peanut community.
You never have to struggle through this alone.