On a scale of 1 to “I wish to die”, period cramps lie quite close to the latter end of this emotional spectrum scale.
Over 90 percent of the women share how they experience at least one of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. If you conduct a personal poll in this regard, cramping will be undoubtedly top all the charts. More than 20 percent of the women suffer from the severest forms of menstrual cramping that it actually hinders their normal activities of life, as per the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Now imagine you get up day only to experience these painful cramps even when your period has just ended? PMS cramps normally occur in 5 to 11 days before the initiation of menstruation. So, if you suffer from the same sensations, the ones in which you feel like someone is using his fists to grab and twist your insides, but are not getting your period, it is quite possible that you suffer from an underlying pelvic issue.
It is advised to visit your gynecologist for worsening, persistent, recurring, or worrisome cramps that are not even because of the menstrual cramps. But before you go to the doctor, you should have some basic knowledge about the possible reasons causing these cramps and making your life miserable.
Cramps during premenstrual syndrome and enough to give you nightmares and no one should have to experience them again outside their period. So, if there is no way to pin your painful cramps on PMS, head straight to your ob-gyn to find out if you are suffering from one of the following symptoms.
You Have Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition in which the epithelium lining your uterus is implanted at a place different than the one where it is supposed to. The uterine tissue is normally sensitive to hormonal fluctuations and this is the reason why it bleeds every month, leading to menstruation.
Endometriosis can cause extreme pain including cramps without periods. However, the period does not occur. Women suffering from pain due to endometriosis usually define their pain as “killing, extremely severe, and unbearable”, as per a paper posted in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
The reason why you might have developed endometriosis is unclear; however, the condition can occur in about 10 percent of the women between the ages of 15 to 49 years, as per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
One famous treatment for this problem is using the birth control pill which can manage any irregularities in the hormones. Other treatment options include injections, medications, and even surgery to suppress the abnormal hormones.
You Have Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are small sacs filled with fluids that may occur in one or both ovaries. Most of the women develop at least on a cyst in their ovaries in a month while experiencing no discomforting symptoms at all. However, more than 8 percent of the women experience cysts that are large enough to cause pain and require treatment.
Different types of ovarian cysts can develop that eventually cause cramps without periods along with pain and bloating. Many of these cysts resolve on their own while others require pharmaceutical treatment and even surgical intervention. Your ob-gyn can inform you if it is a cyst that’s causing you pain through a simple ultrasound.
You Have Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids are small muscular growth, benign in nature that grows on the uterus and leads to symptoms such as bloating, cramps, the pressure in the intestines, and an extremely painful sex life. Research has suggested that as low as 25 percent of the women in the United States suffer from the typical symptoms of fibroids. But because of most of the time, fibroids occur without any symptoms, the number can reach as high as 77 percent.
Normally, serial imaging such as ultrasound and expectant management is recommended for uterine fibroids. In some cases, surgical intervention may also be deemed necessary.
You Have Scar Tissue
Scar tissues normally develop in women who have a previous medical history of abdominal or pelvic surgery. This scar tissue has a potential to induce cramp-like pain in women. This condition is referred to as Ashermen’s Syndrome, a rare condition caused by trauma within the uterus.
Most commonly, this trauma occurs as a result of D&C (dilation and curettage procedure). Sometimes, uterine infections, C-sections, and other surgical procedures may also lead to this problem. Scarring can make organs kink and cause pain.
The treatment of such a condition involves the use of pain medications and a surgical intervention.
You Have Ovarian Cancer
Every year, more than 22,000 women are tested positive for ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is regarded as the fifth most deadly cancer in females, as per the American Cancer Society. Ovarian cancer is rather uncommon but is a highly aggressive form of cancer that presents with vague symptoms like cramps, bloating, pain, and irregular bleeding.
The symptoms might be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in some cases. Upon diagnosis of ovarian cancer, surgery is the first line of treatment in most cases.
What you should be doing is showing up for annual physicals. Ovarian cancers are felt by the doctors mostly while they are performing a pelvic exam.
Your Uterine Cervix is Stenosed
If you have suddenly developed cramps shortly after suffering from cervical trauma, or you had a surgery performed on your cervix, it is likely that your uterine cervix has been stenosed.
In such a condition, the normal opening of the cervix narrows down to an extent that the normal menstrual bleeding gets obstructed. This causes severe cramping even before your period even begins. In some instances, periods might be regular but the bleeding reduces and the intensity of cramps heightens.
You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
It is possible to experience cramps while suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is an intestinal disorder and can cause bloating, pain, and cramping in the stomach along with diarrhea and constipation for at least three months.
You would often feel a sharp pain in the abdomen every time you defecate and whenever you feel constipated. The intensity of cramping may reduce after you have passed stools but may worsen as your menstruation begins.
You Have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a form of bacterial infection that spreads through sexual intercourse. This might even be caused due to the normal bacterial flora living in the vagina. It can affect your ovaries, uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes.
Cramping occurring in the lower abdomen is the most frequently occurring symptom of PID. These cramps may appear at any time, not only when your regular period date is near. Painful urination and hurting sex are other signs of this disease.
Untreated PID can lead to complications such as ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and permanent pelvic pain that does not go away.
You Have Autoimmune Oophoritis
Autoimmune oophoritis is a condition in which the immune system of your body attacks your ovaries after identifying them as foreign invaders. This renders the ovaries as dysfunctional and causes shrinkage and destruction of their tissues.
The levels of female hormones take a direct hit due to autoimmune oophoritis. This causes severe abdominal cramping and disrupts the normal course of periods. Autoimmune oophoritis may also induce infertility in females.
Besides the reasons mentioned above, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and different eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia may also cause cramps without periods. Be sure to consult with a suitable doctor to get to the bottom of your problem before it worsens!