There are some levels of cramping that we come to expect when our monthly bleed comes around, but other times our period cramps can take us by surprise.
With a ton of information out there and many different reasons why you might be experiencing unusual menstrual cramps after your period ends, it's hard to know what is normal and when to seek medical help. We recommend speaking to your doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary to stay as safe as possible when dealing with your health.
You should always seek medical advice if you are in unmanageable pain, if you have recently noticed a change in your pain levels, or you just think you need it. To keep you in the know, we've covered a few of the more common reasons why you might have cramps after your period. Women's health is complicated and often we don't know about the different causes for cramps until we experience them, or someone close to us shares their experiences. It is important to educate ourselves on what to look out for so that we can seek medical advice as soon as we experience any new aches or pains. If you're on the journey of trying to conceive, you can find out the answer to questions like: [how many days after my period can I get pregnant?] or [can you be pregnant and still have your period?] right here on Kidadl.
Causes For Cramps Directly After Period
Most women are completely used to menstrual cramps before their period, but the pain should normally subside within two or three days of the beginning of your bleed. When cramping carries on after you stop bleeding, this could be due to a reproductive disorder like endometriosis, so it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about anything abnormal you're experiencing.
When we experience pain that is linked to menstruation, it is called dysmenorrhea. Experiencing cramps during your menstruation period is common, with more than half of all women experiencing some pain. For most of us, this pain is fairly mild and coincides with the time we are bleeding, but for others, it can become completely debilitating and stop them from being able to carry on their normal routines.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is any pain that is caused by a reproductive disorder, and not just normal levels of cramping. Usually, cramps will last longer than normal, and the pain can get worse over time and carry on after your period ends.
These kinds of cramps after your period could be due to a condition called endometriosis. Around 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 are affected by endometriosis. The condition causes your uterine lining to grow outside of the wall of the uterus and on each fallopian tube, which can turn into scar tissue that causes chronic pain and can even lead to infertility.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a bacterial infection that is usually linked to an untreated sexually transmitted infection. It is more likely for women aged 15 to 24 who are sexually active and can have less obvious, mild symptoms like irregular bleeding, cramping or aching, and irregular discharge. The infection spreads from the vagina or cervix up to the reproductive organs and can cause scarring on the fallopian tubes if the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease are left untreated.
If you are experiencing pain in your pelvis or painful periods, it might be fibroids that are causing your cramps, which are noncancerous growths that you will find on the outside of the uterus or in the lining. They are more common for women in their 30s to 40s, but can affect women of any age.
Painful periods and cramping can also be caused by the condition adenomyosis, where your uterus lining grows into the muscle of your uterus. It is not a life-threatening condition but can cause serious pain and heavy bleeding that can have hugely detrimental effects on women's health and overall quality of life. The cause is unknown, but it is most commonly found in women who are middle-aged or have had children.
Cramping might also be caused by an ectopic pregnancy, which is when an egg that has been fertilized grows outside of the womb lining, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy could be life-threatening for a woman, so it is important to see a doctor immediately if you think you could be at risk. Unfortunately, it affects one in 100 pregnancies, and one-third of the people affected have no associated risk factors at all.
You could also be experiencing the rupture of ovarian cysts if you find yourself in pain after your cycle ends. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the outside of your ovaries and usually go away on their own without treatment after a few months. If you experience any symptoms and think that ovarian cysts may be the cause, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately, as they can point to other diseases and endometriosis.
Causes For Cramps At Other Points In Your Cycle
Sometimes in our cycles, we experience random or irregular lower stomach pain and cramps, which can be confusing and often cause us to worry.
It is common to experience cramps during your menstrual period, as your uterus is contracting to expel its lining, which triggers uterine muscle contractions and causes us to feel cramps. Women with higher levels of prostaglandins, which are substances involved in triggering pain, will experience more severe period cramps than other women.
Menstrual cramps can be more common for people who started puberty before the age of eleven, those who smoke, and anyone with a family history of severe period cramps. If you tend to bleed heavily during your cycle, then it is more likely that your cramps will be more severe.
When you're trying to conceive, you might experience a new kind of cramp just before your period starts, which could signify the implantation of a fertilized egg in your uterus. Ovulation cramping is very normal if you're trying to conceive. If you're experiencing small cramps for between one and five minutes at a time mid-cycle, this might be what is to blame.
Symptoms Of Cramps After Period
It is good to be able to differentiate our normal period pain from abnormal cramps, so these symptoms might be able to point you in the right direction for what to look out for.
Most of the time cramping will feel like aching and lower abdomen or pelvic pain, which can range from severe cramping and pain to just a little bit of pressure.
You might also be experiencing lower back pain, or hip and leg pain as well as abdominal pain, and feelings of fatigue and weakness.
Some women experience headaches and nausea, and even vomiting and diarrhea as symptoms that happen alongside cramps, and this can point to something that you should seek medical advice about.
If your cramps are caused by implantation of an egg, then nausea and tender breasts are symptoms of early pregnancy, so this could also be happening alongside your cramps and pain.
Treatments For Cramps After Period
It's always a good idea to seek medical advice if you have any of the symptoms we've talked about, just so that you can tackle any issues with your menstrual cycle as early as possible with your doctor.
These are a few methods and treatments that your doctor might suggest if you are experiencing any of the conditions or symptoms in this article.
Many women use birth control pills to help regulate their menstrual bleeding, and there are drugs that are often prescribed to people suffering from endometriosis, which help minimize pain.
If you suffer from uterine fibroids, there is a procedure called uterine artery embolization which can be used to treat the condition.
Taking painkillers can be a great help when you have severe pain or other symptoms. If you are trying to conceive, it's a good idea to speak to your doctor to check which ones are safest, because there are some that heighten the risk of miscarriage.
Upping your intake of magnesium and vitamin B1 either through food or supplements has also been known to minimize period cramping.
Some women swear by acupuncture to treat pelvic pain and menstrual cramps, as it has been shown to minimize the effects and help with the pain.
Regular low-intensity exercise like walking or jogging is also a good idea for anyone experiencing pelvic pain and period cramps. It can help with bloating and cramping pain and will give you a good dose of endorphins which will make you feel good.
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