Firstly, the follicles swell in the days before ovulation. Follicles will develop on both sides, but an egg will only be released on one side. Still, this follicular swelling that prepares for the release of one egg (and in some cases two) can explain ovulation pain even if you happen to have it on two sides at once.
Additionally, because the ovaries lack openings, eggs have to break through the ovarian wall to reach the fallopian tubes, something that can explain one-sides ovulation pain. Then, as an egg moves down through the fallopian tubes into the uterus, the fallopian tube will contract. This may also explain why some women feel pain and bloating during the period of ovulation. Then, there are the fluids that are released during ovulation, while the egg breaks through the ovarian wall.
Finally, hormonal levels may contribute to ovulation pain, and definitely explain other symptoms like breast tenderness. Luteinizing hormone or LH is the main hormone during ovulation, and there are also prostaglandins. So, what can you do to alleviate ovulation symptoms when you have them? Besides taking an over the counter pain killer, drinking plenty of water to stay well hydrated, and taking warm baths or placing a hot water bottle on your abdomen may help.
If nothing else, women who are trying to get pregnant will be happy that there is something concrete to tell them that it is time to get in on the baby-making action! Many women either don't experience ovulation symptoms at all, or are unaware of them. If this is you, and this post has made you wonder if you should be having ovulation symptoms, don't worry either. Not being aware of ovulation is totally normal as well.