Cramps and pelvic pain are usually considered a sign of the onset of menstrual period. Prostaglandin, a lipid hormone-like compound causes the muscles of the uterus to contract to expel the unfertilized egg and the uterus lining, resulting in cramps. But sometimes, a woman may experience cramps yet no period. Such an occurrence can be worrisome. There may be several underlying medical reasons for such a condition.
15 Reasons You Get Cramps but No Period
While most women may be able to differentiate between cramping related to menstrual cycle and other cramping situations but at times the symptoms can be confusing and situations like cramping but no period negative pregnancy test may need further examination. Some of the likely reasons for getting cramps but no period can be:
Period pains but no period – could I be pregnant? – may be the most likely conclusion. Cramps which are not followed by menstruation can be an early indication of pregnancy. Cramping may occur when the fertilized egg implants itself to the uterine lining. In such an occurrence, you may experience minor cramping or implantation pain usually around the time the periods are due for about 3 to 4 weeks into the pregnancy.
2. Delayed Period
Menstrual cramps but no period may be due to a late period. Cramping may be the result of ovulation (release of eggs from the ovaries) taking place. Ovulation normally takes place around 10 to 15 days before the start of the period. But sometime ovulation may get extended causing a delayed menstrual cycle. Some women may miscalculate their period date or may suffer from the irregular period. In such instances also period pains but no period may cause anxiety.
Menopause indicates the end of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and fertility. It usually occurs around the time a woman turns 50. In some cases, a menopausal woman may experience cramps during the pre-menopause phase when the menstrual cycle starts changing and ovulation does not occur on a regular basis.
4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis can be responsible for causing cramps yet no period. Ulcerative colitis is related to the colon whereas Crohn’s disease adversely affects the digestive tract’s lining. IBD typically produces symptoms like swelling, redness, irritation, pain collectively affecting the gastrointestinal parts including the mouth, stomach, oesophagus, small and large intestines. In case of Crohn’s disease, cramps can be experienced on the lower right side of the stomach and with Ulcerative colitis, cramps may be felt on the lower left side of the belly.
5. Ovarian Cyst
Ovarian cyst or fluid-filled sac on the ovaries can be another cause of cramps but no period. In most cases, development of ovarian cysts may not be a cause for worry and do not normally produce any symptoms. Occasionally, some women may experience lower abdominal pain or cramps especially if the cysts grow in size and rupture.
6. Eating Disorder
Cramps but the absence of period may stem from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Bulimia is a serious eating disorder characterized by bingeing and then purging to avoid weight gain while those with anorexia may resort to food limitations to remain thin. Women who suffer from bulimia and anorexia may experience cramps and irregular periods or no periods at all.
7. Ovarian Cancer
Cramps related to ovarian cancer can often be mistaken for constipation or gas. But in case there is a constant pain and feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen, it is better to consult a doctor. Other ovarian cancer symptoms may include bloating, swelling, loss of appetite, urinary urgency, variations in the menstrual cycle.
8. Ectopic Pregnancy
In case of ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized embryo implants itself and grows outside the uterus more often than not in one of the fallopian tubes. A woman with an ectopic pregnancy can experience mild cramps or one-sided sudden, sharp piercing pain which may reach the lower back or shoulders.
9. Cervix Stenosis
Painful cramps but then no period can also be indicative of cervix stenosis meaning that the opening of the cervix is unusually narrow or completely closed. This condition can cause the uterus to fill with pus or blood and lead to severe cramping and pelvic pain.
10. Autoimmune Oophoritis
Autoimmune oophoritis is a rare medical condition of primary ovarian insufficiency. It occurs when the immune system of the body erroneously attacks the ovaries leading to their destruction, fibrosis, inflammation, atrophy. Autoimmune oophoritis may result in abdominal cramps and even infertility.
Endometriosis is a disorder which causes the tissues and cells that usually line the uterus to flourish outside the uterus. Endometriosis can lead to the occurrence of cramps in the lower abdomen, pelvic area and in the lower back. The cramps may feel similar to those experienced during a period.
12. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the upper part of the female reproductive organs namely the cervix, uterus lining, fallopian tube, ovaries, and vagina. The infection is usually transmitted through sex and can result in painful cramps. The cramps can occur anytime during the month. Intense cramping may happen around the pelvic area or lower abdomen.
13. Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis is a painful bladder condition which may cause bladder pain, bladder pressure and at times abdominal cramps and pelvic pain. The cramps may increase in severity during menstruation especially when there is a full bladder. They can further worsen if a urinary tract infection also develops.
14. Pelvic-Floor Muscle Dysfunction
Pelvic-floor dysfunction is a condition in which the connective tissues and muscles that support the pelvic organs namely vagina, bladder, uterus, and rectum become weak or damaged. Pelvic floor disorders can produce severe cramps in the leg, groin, the lower back and the lower abdominal area.
Mild or painful cramping is a normal symptom linked with appendicitis. In some cases, the cramps may become so intense that activities like sneezing, coughing, moving can cause considerable pain.
Tips to Reduce Discomfort
Some of the tips to help reduce discomfort are listed below:
- Take adequate rest or simply lying down for a while may bring some relief from the pain.
- Applying a heating pad or a hot bottle wrapped in a towel on the concerned area at regular intervals may reduce the pain.
- Drinking a warm beverage like hot herbal tea or warm milk may prove soothing.
- Soaking yourself in a tub filled with warm water may relax the aching muscles.
- A stroll or walk may also help relax and provide comfort.
- Gently rubbing the affected area may also prove helpful in relieving pain.
It may be difficult to ascertain the cause of cramps but no period. The probable causes for having cramps but no periods can range from simple reasons like pregnancy, constipation, appendicitis to more serious ones like ovarian cysts, cancer. In case of any persistent doubts, it is advisable to seek medical consultation.