Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Women’s health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Ovarian pain causes

Ovarian pain, affecting the area around the ovaries, may be caused by several different conditions affecting the lower abdomen below the tummy button.

Pain in the ovaries can either be acute or chronic. Acute ovarian pain comes on quickly (over a few minutes or days) and goes away in a short period of time. Chronic ovarian pain usually starts more gradually and lasts for several months.

Ovarian pain may be continuous. Or it may come and go. It may get worse with certain activities, such as exercise or urination. It can be so mild that you don't notice it. Or pain in the ovaries can be so severe that it interferes with your daily life.

Causes or ovarian pain include:

Ovarian cysts

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can form on the ovaries. They are very common in women, especially during the childbearing years.

Ovarian tumours

Tumours can form in the ovaries, just as they form in other parts of the body. They can be either non- cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).

Endometriosis

In some women, cells of the lining of the uterus can occur elsewhere in the body, including on and around the ovaries. This tissue swells and bleeds each month. However, because it has nowhere to shed, it forms scar tissue and can be very painful.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in the ovaries, uterus, or fallopian tubes. It is most often caused by sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea or chlamydia. It is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain in women.

Ovarian remnant syndrome

Surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries is known as hysterectomy/oophorectomy. In rare cases a small piece of the ovary may accidentally be left behind. The remnant can grow and develop painful cysts.

Mittelschmerz

Mittelschmerz is a common type of pain that occurs during ovulation - the midpoint between menstrual periods, about 2 weeks before a period may begin. Most of the time, it is a mild annoyance. In rare instances, it can be unbearable.

Do I need to see a doctor?

If you have concerns about ovarian pain, book an appointment to seek medical advice.

How is ovarian pain diagnosed?

The methods your GP uses to diagnose ovarian pain will vary, depending on the suspected cause. Your GP will take your medical history, ask you questions about the pain, and carry out a physical examination. Questions might include:

  • Where do you feel the pain?
  • When did it start?
  • How often do you feel pain?
  • How does it feel - mild, burning, aching, sharp?
  • Does anything make the pain worse - for example, sexual intercourse - or better?
  • How does the pain affect your day-to-day life?

What tests are used for ovarian pain?

As well as a physical examination, and checking the reported symptoms, diagnostic tests, such as ultrasound and other types of imaging, can help to identify the cause of the pain.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 28, 2013

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
humbug hard candies
Diarrhoea & more
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
cute dog
10 common allergy triggers
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
crossword puzzle
Help for the first hard days
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
adult man contemplating
Visual guide to BPH
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting