Cramping usually onsets just before or during the menstrual cycle. It occurs when the muscles of the uterus contract and shed the uterine lining that has been built up during the previous few weeks. Prostaglandin is a hormone-like compound that triggers the contraction, leading to cramps.
However, in some cases, cramping could be present without periods, which could frustrate you. There are various reasons why you are cramping without periods, mentioned below are the same.
Cramps But No Period: Possible Reasons
Some women experience cramping on one side of their lower abdomen during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle. The side of the pain depends on the ovary which releases the egg. The intensity of cramping differs from person to person and can be dull or sharp. Cramps usually last from few minutes to few hours. In an ideal 28 days’ cycle, the cramping can occur 10–14 days before menstruation begins, indicating the release of the egg.
2. Pregnancy Or Ectopic Pregnancy
Called as “implantation pain,” the cramping that occurs during pregnancy is an indication that the fetus is attaching itself to the uterine lining. Cramping is also prominent during the first trimester and usually sets in around the 5th and 6th weeks of pregnancy, when the uterus expands to accommodate the fetus. Spotting is also evident in some cases.
Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants itself in the fallopian tube and not in the uterus. The cramps can be severe and felt only on one side, accompanied by mild spotting, nausea, and shoulder ache.
The loss of an unborn baby before the 20th week of pregnancy is called a miscarriage. The cramps can begin as mild period-like pain, with heaviness in the thighs and lower abdomen, followed by severe cramps and spotting. It is important to know that mild or period-like pain is normal during pregnancy, but if the pain gets severe with time, rush to your doctor immediately.
Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus gets attached to other organs in the abdominal cavity and the area around the uterus. The hormones of the female body, however, treat the tissues outside uterus as their own and cause cramps. These can happen at any time of the month, as and when the tissues grow. The cramps can be felt in the lower abdomen and lower back. It is one of the reasons for infertility.
An appendix is a small organ present in the lower right abdomen, at the junction of small and large intestines. An inflammation of appendix is called appendicitis. The cramps usually onset around your belly button, radiating towards the lower right abdomen. They could get severe in a quick span and might need an immediate medical attention.
Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstrual cycle in a woman’s life, indicating the end of her fertility phase. It usually onsets between age 40 and 51. Just before the onset of menopause, women experience irregular periods, and absence of periods for months. However, some women experience cramping during the time the periods would normally occur, indicating decreasing levels of estrogen.
7. Ovarian Cysts
The fluid-filled sacs that develop in the ovaries are called ovarian cysts. These form in two cases, one, when the egg is not released from the follicle, the other, when the follicle doesn’t dissolve after the egg is being released. The pain is not noticeable in many cases, but in some, there might be a sharp pain just below the belly button, on the side of the ovary which had a cyst.
8. Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer has symptoms where the cramps might be mild at the beginning but tend to intensify and mimic constipation or gas. In some cases, there might be mild spotting as well and it can happen at any time of the month. There is a persistent pressure on your lower abdomen, which doesn’t subside. The other symptoms are swelling of the belly, constipation, feeling full with smaller meals, and frequent urination.
9. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
It is an intestinal disorder which causes pain and bloating in the stomach, accompanied by constipation and/or diarrhea. There is a sharp pain in the abdomen, which might reduce after you have passed the stool. But it seems to recur every time you have to defecate or whenever you are constipated. The cramps might worsen during menstruation.
10. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection spread due to sexual intercourse. It infects the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and ovaries. You can first identify the disease if you have painful sex or urination. Followed by which, cramps might appear during any time of the month. The pain occurs frequently in the lower abdomen and lower back.
11. Cervical Stenosis
Cervical stenosis is a condition where the opening of the cervix narrows down such that, the menstrual bleeding is obstructed. This leads to severe cramping without periods. The periods can be irregular with lesser bleeding but painful cramps.
12. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
An inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition in which any of the parts of gastrointestinal (GI) tract swells, causing irritation. While Crohn’s disease affects any of the parts of GI tract, ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine. The cramps can be in the lower left, lower right, or middle of the abdomen depending on the type of IBD.
13. Autoimmune Oophoritis
Autoimmune oophoritis is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks the ovaries, thinking of them as foreign bodies. This results in cessation of the function of ovaries, making them harden and shrink. The hormone levels reduce and result in cramping without periods. It is also one of the causes of infertility.
Apart from these reasons, stress, sedentary lifestyle, eating disorders can also cause cramps without periods. It is always good to consult your doctor if the cramps are severe, occur during any time of the month, or your period is delayed for a long time without pregnancy being positive.