Most women are no stranger to experiencing discomfort during their periods, ranging from minor to severe pain. However, if you've noticed that you're having pain that isn't like your typical cramps, and only seems to happen on either side of your pelvis, then that may be something that has you concerned. Pain is often the first warning sign of a problem, but don't panic. Here's what you should know about these pains.

When It's Not Abnormal

Some women experience a pinching or stabbing pain on one side or another of the pelvis fairly regularly. This isn't necessarily a bad sign, depending on when it occurs in your cycle.

About halfway through a normal period cycle, women go through a process that's referred to as mittelschmerz. Mittelschmerz is when the body naturally releases an egg from the ovary in order to allow it to be fertilized. This release can come with some minor discomfort that is often described as a slight stabbing pain. Since only one egg is typically released each month, the pain should only occur on one side of your pelvis, in the area of your ovaries. If this is the only time you're having a problem, then it's likely natural and not something you need to worry about, unless it's debilitating.

Warning Signs

Outside of this monthly event, you shouldn't be experiencing stabbing pain in your pelvis. While some women may experience slight pain in the ovary region during their periods, it's fairly uncommon. It's even more uncommon if it's happening at any other time during your cycle, or if it's happening on both sides.

This doesn't necessarily mean that you're developing a tumor or something scary like that. Many women develop things called ovarian cysts, which are small fluid-filled sacs that can form on top of or inside the ovaries. These can sometimes hurt but are typically benign and harmless as long as they remain small.

What to Do

Whether or not your pain seems normal or is concerning, you should consider visiting a gynecologist to talk about it. They can assess you via a physical exam and an ultrasound to determine if something abnormal is going on with your reproductive organs.

If it turns out that you have ovarian cysts, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills in order to help keep them from getting larger. Additionally, regular monitoring may be suggested in order to ensure that they're not growing or developing into something more dangerous.

The most important thing here is to remember that pain doesn't have to be tolerated. There's no harm in seeing a doctor about it, and it may help to protect your health.