Causes of Ovarian Pain (left or Right Ovary)

Women experience pain in the ovaries from time to time, and this pain can be sharp or dull in either the left or right ovary.

Ovarian pain is common mostly during ovulation and during periods or even more in early pregnancy.

This aching pain may mean a more serious health related problem is at hand. And therefore happen more frequently.

Moreover, having a sharp pain or severe pain in the left or right ovary is really discomforting and distressing to ladies.

In some situations, this pain can be dull and not really painful and goes away on it's own.

If the ovary pain, you are experiencing is really painful and unbearable then you should seek a medical help.

It is good to know that acute ovarian pain usually last for a short period of time. While chronic ovarian pain last for a long period of time.

Before, we dive in let's take a quick look at where the ovaries are located.


Ovarian pain

The ovaries are located in the lower abdomen in the pelvic region and it is responsible for maturing and releasing an egg.

The ovary performs 2 main functions :

1.The production of the most important female reproductive hormone Estrogen.

2. And the release of an egg ​during ovulation.

Infact, the Ovary is one of the most important reproductive organs of a woman.​

So let's go deeper into the major causes of Ovarian Pain:

What causes Pain in the Ovaries​

1. Ovarian Cyst

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid that is usually formed on or inside the ovary. 

It is common, for women in their child bearing age to have ovarian cyst. By child-bearing age, we mean the age between puberty and menopause.

It is expected each month, that a woman releases an egg during ovulation as part of her menstrual cycle.

The egg grows inside the follicle.

The follicle grows in the ovary. If the follicle refuses break open to release the egg, it forms a sac filled with fluid known as cysts.

This type of cyst is called the follicular cyst

There is another type of cyst that is formed when the follicle releases an egg. This cyst is called the corpus luteum cyst and contains a small amount of blood in it.

Symptoms of Ovarian cyst are: Pelvic Pain that is constant and aching, swelling of the abdomen, bloating, lower abdominal pain before or after a menstrual period.

2. Ovarian CANCER

Ovarian cancer is also another cause of pain in the ovary.

​Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells of the ovary, grows out or control or abnormally.

​Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths in women.

Meanwhile, It is possible for ovarian cancer not to show any significant symptoms at the early stages.

But if ovarian cancer is detected early, it can improve the chances of having a successful treatment​.

Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer includes: Pelvic pressure or back pain, Swelling of the abdomen, uncomfortable or heavy lower abdomen, vaginal bleeding in between your periods.

3. Ovarian TUMOR

Ovarian tumors are tumors arising in the ovaries. Tumors can grow anywhere in the body. 

The tumors can either be non-cancerous or cancerous. If the tumors are non-cancerous they are benign and ​if cancerous they are malignant.

Some of the symptoms of ovarian tumors are: ovarian pain, bloating, lower abdomen and pelvic pain, excessive weight lose or weight gain.


Ovarian Remnant Syndrome occurs when small pieces of ovary is mistakenly left behind after a surgery, that was carried out to remove either the ovaries and uterus or fallopian tubes and the ovaries.

The remains of this ovary can grow into a cyst or hemorrhage.

These remnants may grows in the abdominal cavity, bladder, bowels, and ureters. Ovarian pain is caused by the left overs.

Aside, from pain in the ovaries other symptoms of ovarian remnant syndrome include Pelvic Pain, Painful ​Sex, Painful bowel movement, painful urination to mention a few.

5. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an abnormality in which the tissues of the uterus lining, grows outside the uterus.

These tissues migrate to other parts of the body and implant themselves on other organs and tissues.

This causes pains and as well as other infertility problems. ​

Endometriosis causes pelvic pain and ovary pain as well.

6. Pelvic Inflamatory Diseases

Pelvic inflammatory disease also known as PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs.

This infection can damage the uterus, the fallopian tube, ovaries and other female reproductive organs​.

PID is a sexually transmitted disease that occurs when bacteria from the vagina travel to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Common symptoms of PID include pelvic pain, fever, unusual vaginal discharge.​


Mittleschmerz is also known as ovulation pain.

Ovulation pain occurs during and after ovulation.​

it is basically a one sided pain that affects women in the lower abdomen around ovulation.​

Studies show about 1 in 5 women have ovulation pain during ovulation. 

This pain usually occurs before ovulation, during ovulation and also after ovulation.​

One of the symptoms of mittleschmerz is one sided pain on either the left or right side of the ovaries.​ This pain could be dull or sharp cramp-like pain that can last from a few hours to days.

What Causes Swelling in the Ovary

Cyst formation is one of the causes of a swollen ovary. Other causes of a swollen ovary ranges from tumors to endometriosis. Less often causes of enlarged ovary, is ovarian cancer.

Left And Right Ovary Pain

It is possible to have sharp or sudden pains in either your left ovary or your right ovary due to ovulation pains or period cramps.

In addition, a left ovary or right ovary pain during your period could be due to menstrual cramps.​

​A left ovary or right ovary pain during ovulation is known as mittleschmerz.

Related Article: Ovulation Cramps after Ovulation

diagnosis of ovarian pain

There are many ways that the doctor can use to diagnose the root cause of an ovary pain.

The doctor will ask question with regards to the symptoms  of the pain you are feeling.

Test such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, Hormonal test are used to determine the leading cause of the ovarian pain.​

A pelvic examination is also carried out first by a medical professional to determine the cause of the lower abdominal pain.

Treatment of ovarian pain and pelvic pain

Ovarian pain is treated in a variety of ways depending on the cause of the pain.

  • Laparotomy​
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Pain Relief Medications 
  • Birth control pills
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists


Pelvic pain is any pain below the belly button and the above your legs.

​Pelvic Pain could mean a serious health condition or just a normal pain that would go away just on it's own.

Other Causes of Pain in the ovary and pelvic pain

  • Appendicitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • PMS and Menstrual Cramps
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases​
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Interstitial Cystitis​
  • Pelvic Organ prolapse
  • Pelvic congestion Syndrome​

In conclusion, any pain in the lower abdomen or in the pelvic region should be monitored especially if the pain is not your monthly menstrual cramps or ovulation cramps.

You should consult your gynecologist as early as possible. ​

Related Article

Early Ovulation​

Cramps after Sex

Cramps after Period

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