Are you having cramps but no periods? Don’t overstress yourself because of it. While cramping is one of the most common premenstrual symptoms, it could be due to a variety of other reasons as well.
When you experience menstrual cramps, and there is not a single sign of period starting, it could be extremely frustrating and confusing while you are expecting them but they don’t come. You sure are going to get confused when you are going through period-like-symptoms yet not a single sign of it. At times, an absent period and abdominal cramping begin together and cramping could also mean a lot of other things that might need attention. A late period and an early sign of pregnancy are among the most common reasons for a woman to experience cramping but no periods.
Why do cramps occur before menstruation in the first place?
The statistics show that 90% of teenage women experience cramps before their period and 50% women undergo menstrual cramps. The contractions in the uterus exert pressure on the blood vessels which result in the uterine tissue being deprived of oxygen temporarily. This causes pain in the form of cramps. Cramps occur because the muscles of the uterus contract to shed the lining that consists of tiny blood vessels. It is prostaglandin that causes the uterine muscles to contract. This results in menstrual cramps.
It could be a dull pain or a throbbing pain felt in the lower abdomen. The pain can then spread to the hips, lower back, and inner thighs. Menstrual cramps can often be really painful making your daily activities hard for you. They can occur before even menstruation occurs. To get to know all the reasons for cramping but no period, read on.
Is Cramping because of Pregnancy or PMS?
Are you confused whether you are going through early pregnancy cramping or cramping before periods? One of the biggest difference lies in the intensity of cramping and whether it is accompanied by blood.
- Mild cramps take place as an early sign of pregnancy, whereas severe to mild cramps occur during or before periods.
- During early pregnancy, slight spotting can be noticed which continues for a few days. On the other hand, light to heavy bleeding takes place during menstruation, which lasts for 3 to 7 days.
Still wondering what’s the best way to determine the cause of your cramp whether PMS or pregnancy? Simply take a pregnancy test. If it comes out to be negative, then your cramps are probably because of period.
Most common causes
Here are some of the common causes of cramping but no period:
Ovulation is when an egg is released from the ovary. Ovulation can also be a cause of period pain but no period. This acts as an indicator for the release of an egg from the ovary. The cramping is felt on one side of the body and may linger for few hours as well as few days.
Women go through no periods for months and can experience irregular periods during menopause. You might feel cramps around the due date of the period, while it doesn’t actually begin. This shows that the level of reproductive hormones in the body is decreasing.
Perimenopause is the stage right before menopause. Perimenopause begins when a woman is in her 30s or 40s. What happens is that the ovaries produce eggs irregularly, which means irregular ovulation is taking place. This eventually results in missed periods or late periods. It may come with cramping, sleep issues, and hot flashes.
- Early sign of Pregnancy
Cramping and no period can be an early sign of pregnancy. Cramps with no period could mean a high chance of being pregnant as this is the most common cause of experience lower abdominal with no menses. During the early stage of pregnancy, the uterus starts making preparation for the growth of embryo which implants itself in the uterus. This fertilized egg connects itself to the wall of this uterus. The cramps could be due to implantation. This implantation can also cause spotting or bleeding.
Another reason for cramps during pregnancy is hen the uterus expands to make space for the growing fetus. Pregnancy can easily be confirmed with a pregnancy test. To get correct results, it is advisable to get yourself tested few days after you have missed your period.
- A Late Period
This is yet another most common cause of period pain but no period after ‘early sign of pregnancy’. Many women go through irregular menstrual cycles which could either mean an early or delayed period. Sometimes it could also mean no periods for months. This is the reason women tend to calculate their due date wrong and end up worried and frustrated when they experience cramps but no sign of periods.
At times, the menstrual cycle can be delayed because the process of ovulation is still going on resulting in cramps yet no period. It is only two weeks after the ovulation that the period begins. It comes with cramps, gas and constipation.
Anxiety and emotional stress can greatly affect your menstrual cycle. If you are going through a psychological trauma of having lost a loved one or some family problems or too much workload causing stress, it can lead to a disturbed menstrual cycle. This would then lead to bad cramps without periods. Intense training sessions or vigorous exercise or physical activity is translated by the body as stress which results in cramping but no period.
- Ectopic Pregnancy
While mild cramping is counted among the most common symptom of early pregnancy, but if you are facing severe cramping with no period, then that could indicate an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition in which fertilized egg cannot leave the fallopian tube, but it keeps growing. This means the fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus. Most of the time women are unable to distinguish between cramping caused by ectopic pregnancy and normal pregnancy. Other symptoms apart from cramping that should be taken notice of are frequent urination, nausea, vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness and vomiting. You will be able to notice these symptoms two weeks after a missed period and later on you might experience vaginal bleeding that could be wrongly thought of as spotting.
- Ovarian Cyst
Cysts are two kinds that can result in period like cramps but no periods. One is follicle cyst in which a cyst forms in the ovary when the ovarian follicle is unable to release the egg. Another type is the corpus leuteum cyst which is a fluid-filled cyst. It forms in the sac of the ovary once the egg is released. When the sac is filled with fluid, a cyst develops and can also grow, which results in cramps in the lower abdominal region but without periods. Both the cysts may go away on their own usually after three months. However, they may increase in size, resulting in complications.
Some Underlying Concerns
- Eating Disorder
Two extremely common eating disorders happen to be anorexia and bulimia. Women with eating disorders may suffer from inconsistent and irregular periods. The period might even completely stop and may not come for months. This results in cramping around the due date of a period without any sign of blood. This can be countered by taking a balanced diet and making sure you take all the necessary nutrients required to remain healthy.
- Ovarian Cancer
The ovarian tumor is one of the rarest causes of cramps without periods. If women are in doubt, they should immediately get checked by a doctor because it can be treated when detected at an initial stage.
Ovarian cancer is not easy to diagnose because it seems to have many symptoms that are common to other health conditions with cramping with no periods being one of the symptoms. Ovarian cancer is thought to be a silent killer as it disguises itself in other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
Other symptoms consist of urinary urgency, irregular menstrual cycle, swelling in the abdomen, bloating, pelvic pain, pressure in the abdomen and abdominal fullness. If you think you have ovarian cancer, you should instantly get yourself checked by a gynecologist for proper diagnosis.
- Autoimmune Oophoritis
Autoimmune Oophoritis is a condition that causes inflamed ovaries. In this autoimmune disorder, the immune system sees the body cells as invaders and starts attacking them. This causes the ovaries to become inflamed along hardening and shrinking. This results in lowering of hormone levels in the body, leading to infertility. 10% of the ovarian failures are related to Oophoritis. They cause cramps along with symptoms like vaginal discharge, fever and no periods.
- Cervical Stenosis
Cervical Stenosis as the name suggest is a condition of the cervix in which opening of cervix narrows so much that it prevents the blood from flowing through it easily during menstruation. Cervical Stenosis causes women to have irregular periods as well as period cramping but no blood.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that is just supposed to grow within the uterus starts growing outside it inside the abdominal cavity. Endometriosis can be an extremely painful condition. It results in cramping one to two weeks before the period is scheduled (Just imagine!).
Other Causes of Cramping but No Period
There can be a variety of reasons for cramping with no period. It differs from woman to woman. Do not just keep diagnosing yourself by yourself. If you are facing cramping but no periods on a regular basis, you need to get yourself properly diagnosed by a doctor because you might be going through an underlying condition that requires treatment. Some other possible causes of cramping with no period are:
- Cramping could be caused by certain illnesses and medications that interfere with the normal menstrual cycle.
- Constipation and gas result in period like cramping that is often thought to be cramping associated with menstruation.
- A woman’s body undergoes a lot of different things at a time when it is under stress. Delay of periods is also one such thing. Too much stress due to various reasons can cause cramps without periods around the date when the period is due.
- Other diseases that result in period cramps but no blood are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Premature Ovarian Failure.
Tips to Relieve The Cramping Discomfort
Cramps but no period is sure a very uncomfortable, painful and frustrating condition to be in. You are in luck because there are measures that you can take that can ease the discomfort. You can follow some of these tips to relax yourself:
- Gently rub the pelvic and abdominal region.
- Give yourself a warm treatment you can do that by taking a hot shower, use a heating compress or heating pad on your back and the pelvic area. This will sure soothe the annoying cramps.
- Take rest and lie down when the cramping begins.
- Acupuncture can relieve the pain too, but talk to your therapist about it first.
- Drink herbal tea as they are well known for easing the disturbing cramps.
- Get yourself involved in a less vigorous exercise like the stretching exercises. With a strong body, you can tolerate the pain better.
- Consider taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) like ibuprofen and naproxen.
If you don’t find these DIY techniques helpful, you should try seeing a gynecologist or a doctor in case the cramping with no period situation is consistent. A professional can dig out the root cause and treat it.
On the whole, it is good to keep a track of your menstrual cycle. It will help you keep yourself aware of what is happening in your body. Furthermore, it will relieve you of the anxiety associated with remaining in doubt whether you are pregnant or not. Whenever you experience cramping without any period, you can simply check which phase of your cycle you are currently on. You can also think whether you are going through other symptoms of early pregnancy to see if you should take the pregnancy test. For all this you need to be familiar with your menstrual cycle, which is unique to every woman.