- Menstrual Cramps Without a Period
- Period Cramps or Pregnancy
- What Kind of Cramps Indicate Pregnancy
- When to See a Doctor
- Signs Period is Coming
- Signs of No Period
What are menstrual cramps without a period?
Although it is relatively common to experience menstrual cramps during your period, menstruation itself isn’t the only reason you might have period-like cramps. Painful cramps can take place at any time during your menstrual cycle, and while they’re often nothing to worry about, some cases do need attention.
Various risk factors may increase your odds of having strong pelvic or menstrual cramps that aren’t directly related to your period. Some of these include:
Signs of menstrual cramps without a period
Menstrual cramps occur in the lower stomach or pelvis. They usually start during the first or second day of a woman’s period.
If your cramps don’t coincide with menstruation, they may not be related to your menstrual cycle. See a doctor if you are experiencing cramping as well as vaginal discharge.
Why do I have cramps, but no period and I'm not pregnant?
There are many reasons why you might have menstrual cramps without your period and not be pregnant, ranging from normal and natural to serious medical conditions. If you’re only experiencing sudden or unexpected cramps, it may not be easy to tell one from the other.
Here are just a few of the reasons you might have non-period cramps:
You may be ovulating. This is the simplest and most common reason for cramps outside your period. Ovulation happens naturally within 10 to 14 days of your period when your ovaries release an unfertilized egg as part of your menstrual cycle. This doesn’t always cause pain, but many women report dull or sharp pains around their lower abdomen during ovulation.
Another reason why it feels like your period is coming but it’s not, is anovulation. This condition means that your ovaries do not release an egg. You may have all the other symptoms of your period coming, like abdominal cramping, but you don’t get your period.
Ovarian cysts can also cause cramping. These cysts can form when the fluid-filled sacs around your ovaries either don’t allow an egg to pass through for ovulation or fail to properly close after the egg is released. Either case may lead to cramping.
Endometriosis develops when the uterine lining starts growing outside your uterus, such as in your fallopian tubes, ovaries, or bladder. Several therapies for endometriosis exist, ranging from over-the-counter pain relief medications to hormone therapy.
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that affects your bladder. It is often called “painful bladder syndrome.” Painful cramping is one of its characteristic symptoms, along with feeling frequent urges to urinate. While there’s no cure for IC, it is treatable through diet changes, physical therapy, and other means.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
This condition causes abdominal pain and bloating with alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation. With IBS, you might get sudden abdominal cramps that are relieved when you have a bowel movement. The symptoms may also be worse around the time of your period. You may also feel abdominal pressure and have gas and other symptoms.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis cause abdominal cramping, pain, and irritation along the digestive tract. If you have abdominal cramps along with bloody stools, weight loss, and fatigue, you might have IBD.
There are also many other reasons why you could be having menstrual cramps without a period, including:
Given the wide variety of possible causes, it’s a good idea to have your symptoms checked out by a health professional if you’re experiencing unusual menstrual cramps.
Is it period cramps or pregnancy?
Abdominal cramps may be due to menstruation, pregnancy, or other medical conditions. How do you know if cramping is because you are about to get your period or you are pregnant? Implantation cramping is abdominal pain that you get when a fertilized embryo implants itself into your uterine lining. It is less painful than period cramping.
What kind of cramps indicate pregnancy?
Typically, implantation cramps will be much less painful than actual period cramps. Implantation bleeding may also occur, which is light spotting. You may also have pregnancy-related symptoms, especially spotting, breast tenderness, and nausea (especially in the morning!).
When to see the doctor for menstrual cramps without a period
Whether to see your doctor for your menstrual cramps depends on the additional symptoms you may be experiencing. Although there are many natural reasons why you might have cramps without a period, enough causes for concern exist that you may wish to see a doctor anyway.
Consider the following before making your decision:
- How painful your cramps are
- How long your pain lasts
- Whether you have other symptoms in addition to cramps
- Where you are in your monthly menstrual cycle
Diagnosing menstrual cramps without a period
Healthcare providers have many tools at their disposal to accurately diagnose your condition. A few of these include:
- Ultrasound — uses sound waves to create a detailed image of your abdominal and reproductive organs
- Hysteroscopy — uses a medical scope, called a hysteroscope, to examine your uterus and cervix directly
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — Uses a magnetic field and radio waves to diagram and visualize your internal organs
The exact test used, like the treatment applied, will depend on your doctor’s initial evaluation of your symptoms.
Treatments for menstrual cramps without a period
Many of the same pain relievers used to treat strong cramps during your period, such as ibuprofen, can also treat menstrual cramps you may feel without your period. In many cases, this medication may be all that you need.
If your cramps have a deeper underlying cause, such as endometriosis, your treatment will depend on your age, how severe your symptoms are, and how much the disease has progressed. Most therapies will be as noninvasive as possible, but surgical intervention may be needed if your symptoms are serious and persistent.
What are signs your period is coming?
Many women get physical and mood changes about 1 or 2 weeks before they get their period. Hormone changes cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms like cramping, breast tenderness, acne, fatigue, GI symptoms, mood swings, headaches, anxiety, depression, and low back pain. These symptoms tend to resolve about 3 to 4 days after your period starts.
What are signs of no period?
A lack of menstrual periods is called amenorrhea. There are many potential causes of a lack of menstruation. Other signs and symptoms that may occur with amenorrhea may include hair loss, vision changes, headaches, acne, pelvic pain, nipple discharge, and excess facial hair.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Dysmenorrhea: Painful Periods."
British Journal of General Practice: "The role of exercise in the treatment of menstrual disorders: the evidence."
Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations: "Pelvic Pain."
Dignity Health: "Pelvic pain."
Endocrinology and Metabolism: "Association between Body Weight Changes and Menstrual Irregularity: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010 to 2012."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding."
Healthgrades: "When to See a Doctor for Menstrual Cramps."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Period Pain: Could It Be Endometriosis?"
Journal of Education and Health Promotion: "The Effect of aerobic exercise on primary dysmenorrhea: A clinical trial study."
NHS: "Week-by-week guide to pregnancy."
NHS "Ovulation Pain."
Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology: "Thyroid hormones and menstrual cycle function in a longitudinal cohort of premenopausal women."
Postgraduate Medical Journal: "Exercise and hormonal secretion."
Seattle Children's Hospital: "Menstrual Cramps."
Sports Medicine: "Muscle Cramping During Exercise: Causes, Solutions, and Questions Remaining."
University of Utah Health: "Severe Menstrual Pain? It Could Be Something Serious."
University of Washington Department of Urology: "Interstitial Cystitis."
Womenshealth: “Ovarian cysts."
Top Why Am I Having Menstrual Cramps but No Period Related Articles
16 Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy: Could You Be Pregnant?What are the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy? Can you know before your missed period? Read about nausea and vomiting (morning sickness), bloating, tender breasts, and more. Explore first trimester symptoms of pregnancy and learn what week pregnancy symptoms start.
EndometriosisEndometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, the outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder.
Exercise & PregnancyPregnancy exercises and workouts for moms-to-be include Kegel exercises and prenatal yoga. A prenatal workout is an important part of healthy living. Try these safe exercises for pregnancy.
How Late Can a Period Be Before You Know You’re Pregnant?What is a late or missed period, and what can cause it other than pregnancy? Ovulation occurs between days 12 and 20 of your cycle and you are most likely to get pregnant during this fertile window. Learn the early signs of pregnancy and when to take a pregnancy test to get accurate results.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)Interstitial cystitis (IC)/painful bladder syndrome (PBS) is an inflammatory disease of the bladder that can cause ulceration and bleeding of the bladder's lining and can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder. Symptoms of interstitial cystitis may vary among individuals and may even vary with time in the same individual.
Can You Get Menstrual Cramps After Exercise Like Running?Menstrual cramps affect many women. Learn if exercise like running can cause menstrual cramps and how you can treat them.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, sac-like structures within an ovary. Symptoms of an ovarian cysts may be:
- Pain in the belly or pelvis
- A feeling for the need to have a bowel movement
- Urgency to urinate
- Pain during intercourse.
There are a variety of causes and types of ovarian cysts, and treatment depends upon type of cyst.
PerimenopausePerimenopause is the time in a woman's life when she is approaching menopause. During this time a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels that may include mood swings, painful sex, night sweats, hot flashes, and weight gain. Every adult woman eventually will experience perimenopause.
25 Ways to Relieve Menstrual CrampsMenstrual cramps happen when prostaglandins force the uterus to contract. Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, may be relieved by heating pads, ibuprofen, and other measures. Endometriosis may cause severe cramps during the menstrual cycle. Luckily, women have many options for period pain relief.
What Does Cervical Mucus Look Like After Ovulation?The consistency of cervical mucus fluctuates throughout the month. Learn what cervical mucus should look like during and after ovulation and when you should see a doctor.
What Is the Average Age a Woman Stops Menstruating?The menstrual cycle is a series of hormone-regulated changes that a woman's body goes through to get it ready for a possible pregnancy. Women usually stop menstruating or attain menopause in their 40 or 50s, the average age being 50 years old.
What Is the Normal Cycle for Menstruation?A normal menstrual cycle typically lasts about 28 days long. Check out the center below for more medical references on menstruation, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Why Am I Getting Period Cramps With No Blood?Why are you getting period cramps but no blood? Learn the causes of period cramps without blood and how to treat it. The menstrual cycle is cyclic changes that occur in a woman"s body every month. During the menstrual cycle, the levels of reproductive hormones change, the egg is released from the ovary, and the uterus is prepared for pregnancy.