Pain, pain go away.
June 25, 2007 12:13 AM   Subscribe

Femalefilter: What is this sharp pain?

Female, mid20's. Not pregnant. Relatively healthy. First day of most recent period 14-15 days ago. Intermittent, SHARP sharp pain that quickly dissipates in lower left quadrant/pelvic area. Slight nausea and low-grade fever. No blunt trauma or injury to area. OTC painkillers do nothing. What gives???

I know - before you suggest it, an appointment has already been made to see the doctor - but the earliest date available was July 5th!

What the hell is going on? My doctor told me that I only need to get to the ER if my fever goes over 100F. But this really doesn't feel good! On the pain scale I'd rate this a 7-8.

Any other females experienced this? Do you have any remedies? I thought I would try some home remedies before heading to urgent care if this pain doesn't let up. This isn't normal is it?
posted by hannahq to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're at the right time of your cycle to be ovulating, assuming your cycle is somewhere in the range of 28-30 days. I sometimes get pain like you describe when I ovulate. A few times it's been bad enough to cause nausea.

However, the fever and severity of pain are unusual and remind me of when I had an ovarian cyst. Keep a close eye on it; cysts often take care of themselves but they can have complications if they are infected. If your fever spikes or if the nausea becomes suddenly worse, go to the ER. Also, try calling some other doctors to see if someone else can see you sooner than 10 days from now. If this is just a bad ovulation the pain should subside within a day. If it lingers, you'll want to have a doc give you a pelvic exam to see if they can detect anything on your ovary.

Laying down and remaining still might help quell the pain. A hot pad on the abdomen is another idea to try, too. Unfortunately OTC painkillers didn't do a thing for my cyst pain. I didn't try prescription painkillers but they might be something to ask a doc about.
posted by rhiannon at 12:38 AM on June 25, 2007

Etopic pregnancy, possibly. This would be bad and you'd want to seek medical care asap. You can rule this out if you haven't had sex since your last period.

Kidney stone, possibly. If it gets stuck coming down, the pain will quickly rocket off the scale. I get them, chronically. The onset symptom for me is intermittent stabbing pain a few inches below + few inches to the left (or right: depends on which side the bugger is coming down) of my belly button. The immediate home remedy is to drink water: the goal is to pee the thing out. Aim for producing 2 quarts of pee/day. The long term remedy for some type of stones is to adjust your diet and to regularly drink enough water.
posted by jamaro at 12:49 AM on June 25, 2007

Nthing Rhiannon. When I was younger, I had a similar pain when ovulating, and a few times it made me nauseous enough that I actually threw up. It was always on the left side, too. Thought it might've been my appendix, but after an exam the doctor found everything was OK and said it was probably just Mittelschmerz.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:55 AM on June 25, 2007

Anecdotal: I had exactly this same pain, it centered around one ovary and shot down my leg. Heat didn't help like it does with cramps. Neither did exercise. I got restless legs, couldn't sit still, could hardly sleep. I knew I wasn't pregnant because I was on my period. OTC drugs did nothing, only some of my husband's left over Percoset helped. After a week, maybe more of "toughing through it" my friend and I brainstormed what could possibly be wrong. We came up with two possibilities: Ectopic or Appendicitis. Both of which required a doctor's intervention. I got the first appointment at my doctors' office, I didn't care which doctor, and it turned out to be an Ectopic pregnancy. I was 4 weeks pregnant. I will never wait that long again to see a doctor.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:10 AM on June 25, 2007

I'd go to a walk-in clinic if I were you. I'm wondering if it's an ectopic pregnancy or ovarian cysts. Don't wait until the 5th.

Otherwise, are you constipated?
posted by loiseau at 2:46 AM on June 25, 2007

My very first thought was also mittelschmerz as Oriole Adams suggested. I get it every so often and for me the symptoms are just as you've described (sans fever).

But, mittelschmerz only last a day or two, in everyone, so if this has been an ongoing experience for you, you can likely rule it out.

Since you've already got an appointment, you might be able to call the doctor's office back, and alert them that the pain is increasing, and could they please try to bump up your appointment, or substitute you if there is a cancellation. Those schedulers can work magic if they think the situation warrants it.
posted by pineapple at 6:06 AM on June 25, 2007

Have you ever experienced ovarian cysts? My best friend comes down with spells of them every few months and she is absolutely miserable.

However, I'm going to second the kidney stones - I suffer from them myself and every time I am getting ready to have an "attack" it feels exactly like how you are describing - intense pain, low-grade fever, everything.

Sounds gross, but are you having trouble urinating?
posted by banannafish at 6:23 AM on June 25, 2007

Hi, not to add to the chorus or try and freak you out, but I had your symptoms. Turned out it was acute PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).

If there is a chance you may have an STD, please see a doctor before the 5th.
posted by arha at 6:32 AM on June 25, 2007

Is there a walk-in clinic your insurance will let you use? Or can you get an appointment with your ob-gyn sooner than with a GP? I think it would be good to be seen sooner rather than later, so as to rule out scary things like appendicitis.

Your descriptions of your symptoms reminded me of when a close friend developed endometriosis -- she had pain in a similar area, with nausea but no fever. (wikipedia) I hope what you have is nothing serious, but do get seen by a doctor.
posted by Forktine at 6:32 AM on June 25, 2007

It's probably a cyst (fluid filled sac - egg failed to release). Some months that happens and you have to wait until the hormones abate before the swelling goes away. Your doc will probably do an ultrasound to confirm but it may be gone by then.
posted by MiffyCLB at 8:13 AM on June 25, 2007

Best answer: Ovarian cyst, I would bet money on it. Also, it could be exacerbated by endometriosis, but for your sake I hope not, because that sucks in the long run.

Sometimes ovarian cysts go away on their own. Sometimes they don't, and your doctor will give you nasty-as-hell hormones that will turn you into a witch until the cyst goes away.

If that doesn't work, you will have a hysteroscopy, which is laparoscopic surgery to get rid of the cyst by a small incision in your navel.

If that doesn't work, then it's ovarian surgery.

That's the WORST case scenario, though. Usually, ovarian cysts go away on their own or after a course of hormonal treatment.
posted by misha at 8:33 AM on June 25, 2007

Response by poster: Negative for STDs - as well as my partners, no constipation - but I haven't been eating much, and no trouble urinating. Now I have a dull ache accompanying the pain. Still have a slight fever with some nausea. And oddly, shoulder pain?? But probably unrelated - I didn't sleep well.

I'm heading to the urgent care anyway. Thanks for all your help, ladies.
posted by hannahq at 9:53 AM on June 25, 2007

My sister has endometriosis, and she always feels when she ovulates. Glad you are going in, and good luck to you.
posted by happyturtle at 10:55 AM on June 25, 2007

Good for you for headnig to the urgent care doctor. Good luck!
posted by radioamy at 11:23 AM on June 25, 2007

Shoulder pain is directly related to ovarian cysts, and doctors don't tell you this because it usually doesn't come up. Weird but true.
posted by misha at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2007

You may want to check this out. Maybe that will help? It gives about the same location that you are describing.
posted by slc228 at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2007

To try to un-freak you out -- I get a sharp stab or two when I ovulate, and for me it doesn't mean cysts, STDs, or ectopic pregnancies, just "oh hey, it's my left ovary that was on egg duty this cycle." If it's new to you, of course it's good that you're going to the doctor, but you seem nervous enough that I just wanted to reassure you it doesn't necessarily mean anything bad.
posted by booksandlibretti at 7:01 PM on June 25, 2007

Response by poster: In case anyone was wondering, an ovarian cyst was twisting my ovary and fallopian tube - that was what was causing all that pain! It was removed. I miss it. OK, not really. It was excruciating! But now back home and healing nicely.

Thanks again for all of your kind advice and answers!
posted by hannahq at 9:13 PM on June 29, 2007

Hannahq, I was just thinking about you today and am very glad you are on the mend.
posted by jamaro at 10:44 PM on June 29, 2007

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