A lot of women get pelvic pain as well as cramping during the month. But this is not always associated with periods. Pregnancy, cysts, constipation and cancer can even be the reason for pains and cramping without periods. Pain may be caused by something simple or even complicated. Here are the reasons why women may feel pain and cramping even without periods:
Reasons Why Women Have Cramps Without Periods
#1 Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
When one gets long-term, chronic irritation and swelling in different parts of the digestive tract. In case something goes haywire in the immunity of your body, this disease results. It is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome. Crohn’s disease can impact different parts of the digestive tract including the mouth. Additionally, ulcerative colitis involves the large intestine or colon. Whatever the cramps feel like, depends on the type of inflammatory bowel disease one has.
With Crohn’s disease, there can be cramps and pain in the middle or lower parts of the belly. This can be severe or mild. If there is ulcerative colitis, cramps emerge on the stomach’s lower left side. Other symptoms depend on the specific type of inflammatory bowel disease. These include severe changes in bowel movement such as constipation or diarrhea. There is an urgent need to pass bowel movement as per IBD. Another sensation is if the bowels are not empty after one goes. There is blood in excretion and weight loss as well as fever and fatigue.
If one goes through menopause and still has their ovaries, cramps may be experienced mid-month post 10 to 14 days before the period. This happens when ovaries release the egg to get the body ready for a possible pregnancy. The twinge of discomfort is known as mittelschmerz or middle pain.
The cramps are like a pain on one side of the lower belly. It lasts just a few minutes to some hours. The cramps can be sharp or sudden or even a dull pain. The side of the pain depends on which ovary has released the egg. It can switch sides every month or strike the same place every time.
#3 Ruptured Ovarian Cyst
A cyst is a type of fluid sac, which sometimes forms on the ovaries. Specifically, a follicular cyst dissolves in the body after releasing the egg. If this does not take place, a different cyst can form. Most cysts are harmless, but if they grow large, they could burst. Ruptured cysts don’t always lead to pain. In case it does, there are sharp and sudden cramps on each side of the lower belly, below the belly button. Depending on which ovary has a cyst, the cramps may emerge. Some spotting may also be experienced, prior to the rupture of the cyst. Pain and pressure may be felt in the thighs, lower belly and back.
#4 Pain Due to Pregnancy
The growing baby is attached to the womb lining or uterus. This is known as implantation pain and indicates pregnancy progression. The cramps can be felt 4 weeks into pregnancy around the time one gets the period. Other symptoms are lacking. If you feel queasy, it may be around the fifth or sixth week.
#5 Ectopic Pregnancy
When the baby grows elsewhere as against the womb, this occurs mostly in one of the 2 Fallopian tubes. It cannot result in a live birth and is life-threatening for the mother. Mild cramps may be followed by sharp, sudden, stabbing pain on one side of the lower belly. The pain is severe so it may be felt on the lower back and shoulder. Prior to the cramps, there may be typical signs of pregnancy like sore breasts and nausea. Not all women with ectopic pregnancy have these. One may not even know one is expecting, in this type of pregnancy.
Miscarriage is the loss of an unborn baby before the 20th week of pregnancy. The cramps may start out like period pains and increase in severity. Other symptoms may include spotting or vaginal bleeding. Some pregnant ladies may experience these symptoms and yet not miscarry.
This is a long-term and chronic condition where tissue attaches the womb lining to other organs and begins to grow. These may feel like regular period cramps but can take place any time of the month. There may be a pain in the lower back and stomach below the belly button. Physical intercourse also becomes painful. Some sufferers even have pain when experiencing bowel movements. Endometriosis also makes it hard to get pregnant.
#8 PID/Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
This is a bacterial infection that is spread through physical intercourse. It also impacts the organs that help women to become pregnant and grow a baby. This includes the Fallopian tubes, vagina, cervix, womb, and ovaries. The cramps are felt due to pain on both sides of the lower belly and back. It can occur during any time in the month. Pelvic inflammatory disease causes abnormal vaginal discharge and spotting at times. There may be pain or burning at the time of intercourse or when you urinate. The periods can be longer and heavier as a result. Fever might occur and there may even be nausea and vomiting. This disease requires medical treatment.
#9 Pelvic Floor Dysfunction of the Muscles
This occurs when severe spasms take place in the muscles supporting the rectum, vagina, womb, and bladder. This takes place after trauma with vaginal childbirth or posts an injury such as an accident. The cramps are severe and feel like sudden leg cramps in the lower part of the belly. There may also be a continuous pain in the back and the groin. Pain may be experienced during excretion, secretion or physical intercourse too. If these symptoms are there, see a doctor for a urinary test to rule out bladder infections. Doctors may also check for bacteria content in urinary secretions.
#10 Interstitial Cystitis
Long-term conditions impact the bladder and cause pain and cramping in the form of interstitial cystitis called the painful bladder syndrome. When cramps are noticed in the lower stomach or pelvic area and in the lower regions along with tenderness and pain. This worsens as the bladder becomes fuller and it’s time for the period. One may feel like passing urine often and physical intercourse also hurts.
#11 Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes stomach pain and diarrhea bloating, constipation or even both. The irritable bowel syndrome causes sudden cramps and in the belly. This might lessen after excretion. The pain will depend on whether there are diarrhea and constipation. One goes back and forth between two or there may be only one symptom. Symptoms worsen during the period.
One feels pressure but fails to empty the bowels and feel sick, get flatulence or get mucus.
Whether it’s swelling or irritation of the small pouch on the large intestine’s end, appendicitis also comes with painful cramps. Pain can be noticed around the belly button to start with. It then worsens and moves to the lower side of the stomach. Cramps worsen and they may even wake you up. It hurts if one sneezes or coughs. About 50% of those with appendicitis have a fever, feel sick or even throw up. Medical treatment is essential. A burst appendix can even be fatal.
#13 Cancer of the Ovaries
This kind of cancer begins in the ovaries which are the organs that make the eggs. The cramps may be vague, to begin with, and the pain may be written off as something different, but the hurt and lower belly pressure do not go away. The belly may also swell up and you may feel full more quickly. Check with the doctor if these symptoms continue for more than a period of two weeks.
Those who are above 30 years of age with irregular periods and regular menstrual cramps may be in what is a perimenopausal period. While menopause results in permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle in the life of a woman, it also signals the end of fertility.
It sets in between 40 and 51 years of age. In the months that do not have a period specifically during perimenopause, some women persist in experiencing menstrual cramps at the time period normally takes place. Cramps are accompanied by other symptoms like lack of sleep, night sweats, loss of libido and weight gain.
#15 Stenosis of the Uterine Cervix
If one had surgery on a cervix or experienced cervical trauma, painful cramps without periods could suggest stenosis of the uterine cervix. In this problem, the cervical opening or the uterus narrows to the extent that normal menstruation is obstructed. This causes severe cramping sans the occurrence of periods. In certain instances, regular periods may be accompanied with lesser bleeding and cramps that are painful.
#16 Autoimmune Oophoritis
A rare autoimmune disorder Autoimmune Oophoritis is where the body’s immunity attacks the ovaries, seeing them as foreign objects. This causes the ovaries to malfunction, leading to their hardening and shrinking. The ovaries secreting female hormones also take a hit. This is the cause of abdominal cramping and absence or irregularity of periods. A person becomes infertile on account of this condition.
Apart from the reasons mentioned, sedentary lifestyle, stress and eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia lead to cramps without periods.
#17 Delayed Periods
Cramps but not period also occurs due to a late period. Cramping results from ovulation or release of eggs from the ovaries. Ovulation takes place around 10 to 15 days before the start of menstruation. Sometimes, ovulation extends due to delayed menstruation. Some women also miss out on tracking their periods or suffer from irregular periods. In such cases, period pains but no periods can lead to anxiety.
Menopause is associated with the cessation of menstruation and loss of fertility. It generally takes place at a time a woman turns 50 years of age. In certain cases, menopausal women experience cramps during the pre-menopause period. This is when the menstrual cycle changes and ovulation does not take place on a usual basis.
#19 Eating Disorders
Cramps, but no periods stem from eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia is a serious eating disorder characterized by the binge-purge syndrome to avoid weight gain. While those who may have anorexia instead resort to food limitations to avoid weight gain. Women suffering from bulimia and anorexia can experience irregular periods and cramps or no periods at all.
Once in a while, the body undergoes hormonal changes linked to a pre-menstrual syndrome with PMS, but if the periods don’t result, this causes what is known as anovulation. Around 10 to 18 percent of all regular cycles are anovulatory.
#21 Thyroid Conditions
The thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped neck gland which regulates the body functions including menstruation and metabolic functions. But when there is an imbalance in the generation of thyroid hormones, known as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it impacts a lot of hormones that regulate ovulation such as LH/luteinizing hormone and FSH/Follicle Stimulating Hormone and the cycles become irregular. If the ovary is malfunctioning, one may go through a period like symptoms in the absence of menstruation. As thyroid regulates the mood swings, brain function, and neurological functionality, it can impact all these factors. Check with the doctor in case you have symptoms of thyroid condition including unexplained weight gain or loss, heart palpitations, shaking or massive fatigue.
#22 Hormonal Birth Control
A very common side effect of intrauterine devices that are hormonal is skipped periods. This is because one of the means through which the device prevents pregnancy is by thinning out the endometrial lining. This causes no shedding or release of menstrual by-products at the time the periods are due.
While these typically do not stop the flow completely, birth control pills result in spotting or super light flows. Periods symptoms like the tenderness of breasts may set in without ensuing symptoms.
One of the most common reasons for missing periods is stress. Stresses raise cortisol levels, impacting the hormonal balance. This includes hormones that regulate uterine lining and ovaries. As against heavy exercise or being obese, which can come in the way of menstruation, partly due to elevated cortisol levels, stress can cause the uterine lining to persist in growing. However, it does not shed. One may have cramping or build up of lining without shedding that occurs due to menstruation. From deaths to divorce, stress-inducing events can lead to irregular periods. If stress is causing cramps but no periods, try exercise, therapy, yoga, and meditation.
Skipping of menstrual periods can also result due to PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is when the body has excessive androgens. Androgens are chemicals that impact how ovaries function. It also impacts weight gain, hair growth, and insulin sensitivity. PCOS results in irregular spotting and anovulatory cycles. It leads to the growth of cysts on ovaries, which if ruptured can lead to ovaries twisting and resulting pelvic pain that feels like a period cramp. Hormonal imbalance can thus cause this condition. PCOS-induced weight gain for period linked bloating is the result.
Close to 20 percent of ladies across the world are impacted by this condition. It is more common in women who are overweight or have a sister or mom with this condition. If you are suffering from PCOS, birth control and other medications could be the way to keep symptoms under control.
#25 Uterine Polyps
Polyps may be linked with the colon but the small benign tumor grows every day in the uterus. It results in overgrowth of the uterine lining. Polyps within the uterus can lead to cramps even when the period is not happening.
Polyps also make it tougher to conceive a child. This may even lead to uterine cancer down the line. This can be removed using a simple procedure like hysteroscopy. At the time of hysteroscopy, a long tube is inserted into the vagina and into the uterus. The doctor can use the scope to see and cut out the polyps.
#26 STDs and STIs
Certain sexually transmitted diseases and infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea results in conditions like PID which lead to discomfort even when periods are not expected. UTIs can cause pelvic pain and cramps.
#27 Kidney Stones
These stones are hard objects formed in the kidney from calcium at the side or back just below the ribs. If a stone works like that down the urinary tract, it can lead to lower abdominal pain or even vaginal discomfort. CT scans or ultrasounds diagnose this common condition and urine tests can also be used to avert other problems.
Small kidney stones can be passed out on their own with the aid of OTC relievers and a lot of fluids. Doctors may also prescribe alpha blockers to relax the urinary tract muscles. Large stones may need to be removed surgically or removed with sound wave technology.
#28 Fibroid, Tumor or Cyst
If there are unexplained cramping and pelvic pain, doctors will look for tests for conditions like a tumor, or cysts in the reproductive organs or even uterine fibroids. Ovarian cysts are benign but they can become cancerous. A colonoscopy may be performed to ensure there are no polyps in the bowel tract. These are unusual growths that can result in cancer. Colon polyps and early colon cancer do not show any symptoms. Doctors say any discomfort or belly pain longer than a week should be checked.
#29 Ovarian Torsion
Ovarian torsion is when the Fallopian tube or ovary twists itself around, cutting off blood flow and impacting fertility. This condition is found among 3 percent of all gynecological patients. Having existing ovarian cyst may put you at higher risk for ovarian torsion. Experts indicate that sudden and intense abdominal pain especially when there is vomiting, should be checked out in the ER.
#30 Other Infections
Female prostrate, diverticulitis or infected Skene’s glands are other conditions that can impact the stomach.
Extra air in the digestive tract leads to bloating and cramping and often results in flatulence-producing foods like broccoli, cauliflower, and beans. Chronic bloating may also result due to food intolerance, bowel dysfunctions or the way one breathes.
When there is chronic bloating, the air moves forward pushing against the abdominal wall and causing hurt. This can exacerbate shallow breathing, and cause the abs to tighten further leading to cramps.
#32 Stomach Flu or Diseases
Stomach cramps are fairly obvious as they emerge quickly and are accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting along with pain. Food poisoning is also caused by bacteria such as campylobacter or salmonella E coli found in lightly or undercooked meat or contaminated foods.
Some cramping symptoms can also be caused by Norovirus and other types of virus that are picked up from contaminated food or other persons who are infected.
#33 Abdominal Surgery
If you have any kind of abdominal surgery and now have stomach cramps, the scars from the operation could be the reason. Scar tissues can get stuck to layers of tissue underneath and lead to pain in the belly.
Scar tissue trigger painful cramps or come in the way of organ functionality through ab adhesion. These adhesions can block intestines and require more surgery.
Differences in the Types of Cramping
Pregnancy cramping is different from menstrual cramps. It is caused by the uterus as it grows to accommodate the growing baby – this is known as round ligament pain. It is a dull ache that can transform into a shooting pain while walking.
Menstruation cramps are more severe than pregnancy cramps. Additionally, cramping during pregnancy is also accompanied by symptoms like tender breasts, fatigue, mood swing, increased urination and appetite.
Symptoms of Cramping in the Absence of Periods
The conditions for which cramping can occur have been discussed, but in case you’re wondering just what the symptoms are, here they are. The most obvious sign of cramping without periods is lack of menstrual bleeding. On a physical level, there is lack of ovulation too. While cramps are experienced in the above condition, it may be similar to period cramps without bleeding.
Treatment for Cramping Without Periods
Most of the conditions that lead to cramping with no period must be attended to by your doctor. If cramping suggests an indicator of underlying issues, medical attention is critical. The doctors will advise patients on treatment plans and medicines required for the condition. Some of these conditions require dedicated lifestyle changes. Once the doctor’s advice is followed, simple lifestyle changes can be the way to alleviate the cramps.
How to Relieve Cramps
For mild pelvic cramps and ab linked pain that comes and goes, here are relief measures one can try. Place a hot water bottle or heating pad on the area affected. You can even try lying down till the pain subsides. Consume a warm or hot drink like warm milk or green tea. You can even soak yourself in a hot water tub.
Especially if the cramping is accompanied by fever, nausea or vomiting or pain that cannot be controlled with OTC medications or does not improve within a period of 7 days, you need to consult the doctor. Schedule a visit if extreme mood changes transform into depressive symptoms associated with a mood disorder.
PMS Related Cramps
PMS can be avoided and alleviated if you exercise everyday for at least thirty minutes. Take in a balanced diet with green leafy veggies and whole grains along with fruits. Ensure daily calcium intake in your diet as well. Also, make sure you avoid smoking, alcohol, salt, and caffeine. Opt for adequate sleep, lower stress levels by taking up yoga or meditation. Track the moods using a journal or OTC drugs to manage pain. Opt for mineral and vitamin supplements.
If you are going through menopause, regular exercise, balanced diets, non estrogenic lubricants for vaginal dryness and HRT are the cure for relieving your pain.
Try these remedies, for cramps without periods. The best thing to do is try heat packs over the affected area. A gentle stroll or a cup of warm water with lemon/herbal tea can also boost your health and relieve the pain.
Take the help of a doctor, but don’t self-diagnose or medicate on your own. Consult the physician for accurate diagnosis and treatment plans to alleviate the cramps. Don’t try painkillers on your own, as these can be habit forming and addictive.
Cramps and pelvic pain are the sign of menstruation onset generally. What happens is that prostaglandin a lipid hormone type compound causes muscles of the uterus to contract and expel the unfertilized egg and uterus lining causing cramps. Women may also experience cramps yet no period due to a lot of underlying reasons. Remember that a doctor can help you to discover whether the cause is simple like pregnancy, appendicitis or constipation to serious ones like cancer or ovarian cysts.