Experiencing cramps but no period, may seem like a very confusing and scary time. Many women experience cramps which usually begin a couple of days before menstrual bleeding. Painful cramping at any other time during your cycle should be investigated by a doctor as it could be the result of a number of different health problems.
So you’re experiencing cramps but no period?
There are a number of reasons why you could be experiencing this:
Ovulation pains, also known as middle pains, occur mid-cycle when the egg is released and ruptures through a tiny follicle in the ovary then travels down the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube contracts in order to push the egg towards the uterus and during this process many women experience pain that is very similar to menstrual cramping. This cramping is usually located on one side of the abdomen (which can alternate to different sides of the abdomen each month) and is often accompanied with an increase in cervical mucus, painful breasts and abdominal bloating. The pain can last a few hours or a few days. Sometimes during ovulation women can experience mild spotting (bleeding) too.
Cramps but no period? It may be Endometriosis
If you are experiencing sharp abdominal pains and cramping similar to menstrual cramping this could be a sign of endometriosis. Endometriosis is caused when cells from the uterine lining escape into other body areas and causes irritation. These cells that grow outside the uterus stay there and grow again when you get your next period. During this condition many women suffer from cramping a couple of weeks before menstruation. Hormone treatment can help with endometriosis although if particularly severe you may need surgery. Endometriosis can also cause ovarian cysts.
Cramps but no period? It may be Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths inside and outside of the uterus. Estrogen dominance is a contributing factor. Click to read more about fibroid symptoms. Fibroids can disappear after the menopause when estrogen naturally decreases. If the fibroids are severe some doctors may recommend surgical removal or hysterectomy .
As women approach menopause, this time is also known as perimenopause, they often experience irregular menstrual bleeding . During this time menstrual bleeding may stop for a few months but menstrual cramping may continue. Treatment is not usually recommended because it is just a sign that the level of reproductive hormones are decreasing.
Cramps but no period? It may be Autoimmune Oophoritis
Autoimmune Oophoritis is an inflammatory condition where the immune system attacks its own cells in error. This causes the ovaries to shrink and become hard and as a result the production of reproductive hormones decreases and in some cases can lead to infertility. A major sign of this condition is menstruation symptoms without bleeding.
It is difficult to treat Autoimmune Oophoritis and most immunosuppressive drugs have failed to be effective.
Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs which develop in the ovaries. Mostly they are harmless and can disappear without treatment. However, large or ruptured cysts may cause problematic symptoms such as pelvic pain, difficulty emptying the bowels, frequent need to urinate, bloating, changes to normal menstruation and indigestion. If this is the case the cysts may need to be removed.
There are two types of ovarian cysts: The most common is the functional ovarian cyst which is formed as part of the menstrual cycle and the pathological ovarian cyst occurs (usually in women over 40) because of abnormal cell growth.
Severe menstrual cramps without periods can be a sign of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is very difficult to identify because its symptoms are similar to other health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. In this situation pelvic pain and pressure in the lower abdomen is apparent as well as the lack of menstrual bleeding, abnormal swelling of the abdomen and the more frequent need to urinate.
If ovarian cancer is detected early it can be successfully treated.
Please call your gynecologist and make an appointment right away if you think any of the above applies to you.
(2011) Ovarian Cyst http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Ovarian-cyst/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed 05/01/2012]
Khilawala, R. (2012) Cramping before Periods http://www.buzzle.com/articles/cramps-before-period.html [Accessed 05/01/2012]
(2005) Menstrual Cramps http://www.always.com/period/cramps.jsp#l1 [Accessed 05/01/2012]
Ovulation Pain http://www.justmommies.com/articles/ovulation-pain.shtml [Accessed 05/01/2012]
Mukherjee, B. (2012) Menstrual Cramps But No Period http://www.buzzle.com/articles/menstrual-cramps-but-no-period.html [Accessed 05/01/2012]