Do you have cramps but no period? Cramps without your period could be related to different things, it might be harmless, but it’s always good to check it out just to be sure.

Most women have some cramping with their periods, especially if they have increased inflammation 🙋, a high number of prostaglandins, or estrogen dominance. Last week I talked about prostaglandins, the hormone-like compounds that cause the muscles of the uterus to contract in order to expel an unfertilized egg and the uterine lining. This causes cramping and if a woman has more prostaglandins she may have increased pain with the cramping. Read my recent post on natural period pain relief for more info.

However, what happens when you have cramping but no period? Let’s take a look at some of the likely reasons this may be happening.

10 Reasons You Might Have Cramps but No Period

Pregnancy is the number one reason you may be experiencing cramping without a period. It’s common for women to mistake those early twinges of pregnancy for menstrual cramps. I did with each of my pregnancies. You may even have some spotting. This is sometimes called implantation pain or bleeding and may occur for the first few weeks of your pregnancy.

If you suspect you could be pregnant and have cramping without your period, please take a test.

It’s common to experience some light cramping with ovulation. Ovulation occurs mid-cycle between days 10-14 of your cycle when your ovaries release an egg.

Some women have dull-achy pain for a few days, some women say it’s more of sharp stabbing pain. You might not feel anything at all.

Light exercise like yoga or taking a walk can help with the pain. If the pain becomes unbearable you should talk to your health care provider. Tracking your cycle with an app or paper and pencil can help you know if your cramping may be related to ovulation or possible something else.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and may present as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. It affects the gut and can cause cramping, often debilitating pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

You can manage IBD with the help of a gastroenterologist and nutrition and lifestyle changes that nourish your digestive tract and help rebuild your gut flora.

Endometriosis is a disease where the tissue that lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body and organs. Women with endometriosis often have cramping throughout the month. Cramps may occur in the lower abdomen, the lower back, pelvis, and upper thighs. For some women walking may be difficult. Due to the inflammatory nature of Endometriosis, it may increase the risk of autoimmune disease.

Ovarian Cyst
Ovarian cysts are pus-filled sacks that grow on the ovary. Often they don’t cause symptoms or pain, but they can cause cramping without a period. However, if they do rupture, they are incredibly painful. I had one my Freshman year in college and I still remember the pain and exactly where I was sitting (front row of course). I’m still not sure how I walked to the clinic 😰🏥

If you have cramping, especially mid-cycle that doesn’t resolve and tends to be more on one side, it’s best to go see your doctor and have an ultrasound. You’ll likely need a super fun transvaginal ultrasound 🙋so the Dr. can get a good look at your ovaries.

Ovarian Cancer
It’s rare, but cramping may be a sign of ovarian cancer. Ovarian Cancer may cause abdominal pain and cramping. It is generally also coupled with other symptoms like loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss, bloating, and a bloated abdomen.

If you have these symptoms and changes in your menstrual cycle it’s always a good idea to see your health care practitioner.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a bacterial infection that is generally caused by sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial vaginosis but can be caused by other infections like staphylococcus or e.coli. It is commonly found in the uterine lining, cervix, fallopian tubes, vagina, and ovaries.

Women with PID don’t always have symptoms but may experience pain during sex and cramping without a period anytime during the month.

IUDs put women at higher risk for PID. The string from the IUD can carry bacteria into the reproductive organs.

Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is characterized by the embryo implanting outside the uterus, generally in the fallopian tubes. A woman may experience sharp one-sided pain as well as cramping that reaches from the shoulders to the lower back.

Appendicitis is when the appendix becomes infected or inflamed. Symptoms include cramping and sharp one-sided pain in the lower right abdomen. Fever may accompany the cramping. Please call your Dr or go to the Emergency Room if you think you have appendicitis.

Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial Cystitis or Bladder Pain Syndrome is a chronic bladder issue and can cause bladder pain that may feel like cramping. The cramping may increase during menstruation, especially with a full bladder or with the onset of a urinary tract infection. IC pain ranges from mild to severe.

Tips to Fix Your Cramps

Cramping without a period can be caused by your gut, your reproductive system, or your immune system. And remember, it can be a sign of pregnancy.

Tracking your menstrual cycle can help you understand if your cramping may be coming from ovulation, the beginning of your cycle, or if you might be pregnant. Journal your cramping and if you have unresolved cramping, talk to your Naturopath or Functional MD. Be sure to journal how long your cramping lasts, what you ate, what time of the day it was, or what part of your cycle.

Understanding the different types of cramping can help you in taking steps to get your health back.

If you are having cramps associated with your period be sure to check out my blog post on treating your period pain naturally. Severe cramping is never normal and even moderate cramping can be alleviated with a natural and holistic approach.

Be sure to share this post with any woman you think might benefit from it and share on social media.

Vashti Kanahele, MS, CHHS

Hormone + Functional Nutrition Coach
Environmental Toxins Educator
Strong Girls. Strong Women. Strong World

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