Your monthly cycle is part of the rhythm of life. From puberty to menopause, you become familiar with the subtle (and not-so-subtle) signals of ovulation and menstruation, such as breast tenderness, back pain or stomach cramps. But what does it mean if you’re getting cramps but no period?
It’s quite disconcerting when your body does not behave as you expect it to do. Your body is an amazingly complex creation and there are several conditions that can cause cramps but no period. Here are 5 possible explanations.
Endometriosis happens when the type of cells that should line your womb (known as the endometrium) start growing in other parts of your body, most often in your pelvis, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Endometrial cells are programmed to thicken, break down and bleed with each menstrual cycle. That’s fine if they’re inside your womb because the blood drains out through your vagina, causing your period. But, if the endometrial-like tissue is growing and bleeding in the wrong places, the blood gets stuck and causes irritation.
That commonly results in painful cramps, before and during your period – but at other times of the month too. This type of pain is often severe and is consistent, coming each month in a recognisable way.
Fibroids are lumps of tissue that form inside your womb. They range from the size of a pea to the size of a rockmelon. They’re not cancerous but they can be painful.
If you have fibroids, you might experience pain in your lower back or pelvis, as well as abdominal discomfort, pain during sex and intense period cramps.
The treatment for fibroids varies depending on the size and position of the fibroids and the severity of your symptoms. Your Elm Rd doctor can examine you and discuss the possibilities, referring you to a gynaecologist if necessary.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gut disorder that affects 1 in 5 Australians. Abdominal pain and cramps are common symptoms of IBS.
IBS affects how your brain communicates with your gut. It may make your gut oversensitive and prone to contracting more than it needs to for normal bowel function. IBS can also cause excessive gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and sensitivity to certain foods, especially those containing FODMAPs.
IBS is a long-term condition that can cause physical and emotional distress. If you’re living with IBS, please come and see us. We can recommend various treatments and refer you to allied health professionals such as physiotherapists and dieticians who can help you manage your symptoms.
Your gut is like your second brain, full of nerve cells and sharing many of the same nerve connections as your actual brain.
So, it’s not surprising that stress affects your digestive system. That could be butterflies before a first date, frequent toilet trips before a job interview or the toll of chronic stress experienced over a long time.
Stress can cause stomach cramps with no period. Your tummy is processing the mental and emotional difficulties you’re facing.
If stress is causing physical symptoms like stomach cramps, then it’s time to take a step back and examine your life. How can you reduce stress? Sometimes that involves big life changes like getting a different job or learning better ways to handle conflict. But little changes can also make a big difference to stress. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply at regular intervals, do a little more exercise or talk through your worries with a friend.
We can also help you deal with stress by treating your anxiety or referring you to a therapist.
If you’re sexually active and your period is late, you have to consider the possibility that you’re pregnant.
In the very early stages of pregnancy, you can experience implantation cramps when the fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of your uterus and becomes an embryo.
For some women, this process happens without any symptoms. Others may experience mildly to moderately painful cramps or odd sensations of pricking, pulling or tingling.
Your body starts making the pregnancy hormone, hCG, after implantation but it’ll be another two weeks before your hCG levels are high enough for you to get a positive result on a pregnancy test.
Either way, you should come and see us. If you’re pregnant, you’ll need medical care. And if you’re not pregnant but continue to experience cramps, we can find out what’s happening.
While there are explanations for cramping with no period, it shouldn’t really be happening. Please come and see us so we can investigate what’s going on and find a way to help you.