Periods are a regular part of women’s lives and it generally brings with it period pain and cramps. Cramps are usually caused due to uterine contractions. The pain will be greater if your cervical canal is narrow as the uterine lining and menstrual blood has difficulty passing through this narrow opening.1
Your uterus, ovaries, and the bowels are significantly affected by cramps and these cramps may disrupt your daily functioning as well.2 Cramps do not go away with a period, you may get them even after the periods. Let’s look at 10 reasons you get post-period cramps:
1. Ovarian Cysts
These are fluid-filled sacs that develop on ovaries. They may develop on one or both the ovaries.3 Ovarian cysts cause lot of pain and the symptoms include heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, frequent urination, swollen tummy, and difficulty emptying the bowels.4
At times the presence of ovarian cysts may produce no symptoms, consult your doctor if you suffer from any pain or any health difficulty.
2. Uterine Cysts
Uterine cysts forms in the tissues of the uterus, these may cause bleeding and post-period cramps. These cysts are fluid-filled pockets affecting the insides of the uterus. These cysts may cause lower back pain and lower abdominal pain.
3. Pelvic Inflammation Disease (PID)
The pelvic inflammation disease is an infection in the pelvis region. The pelvic region consists of cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries.5 Pelvic inflammation disease may be one reason for post-period cramps.
The symptoms can be pain during urination, unusual vaginal discharge, painful sex, and pain around the lower abdomen region.6
4. Ovulation Pain
Ovulation is when the egg moves into the fallopian tube from the ovaries.7 During ovulation when the eggs get released, you may suffer from cramps, this pain is also called as the “middle pain”.8 These cramps may last for few hours or may even last for a few days.
5. Uterine Fibroids
These are abnormal growth in and around the uterus. Fibroids are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissues.9 Uterine fibroids are known to cause excessive bleeding and severe cramps.
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) and its symptoms can be enlarged lower abdomen, lower back pain, frequent urination, and pain during sex.10
Adenomyosis is a medical condition affecting the uterus, in this the endometrial tissues which otherwise line the inside of the uterus moves to the outer walls of the uterus.11 Adenomyosis can occur due to smoking and usage of antidepressants.12 This medical condition can cause uterine bleeding, pelvic pain during intercourse, and severe cramps.
Endometriosis is a chronic and painful disease, in this disease, the uterine lining starts growing on other organs such as the bowel, bladder, cervix, vulva, and vagina.13 Endometriosis is known to cause sharp pain in one or both the ovaries.
Your post-period cramps can be due to endometriosis, watch out for symptoms such as lower abdominal pain and pelvic pain.14
8. Incapacity Of The Uterus
If your uterus is unable to expel all the blood during the period then your body may have some blood that needs to be expelled. This blood may get discharged once the period is over. This incapacity of your uterus can also give you cramps.
9. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones such as estrogen and the progesterone play a very important part in the menstrual cycle.15 If there is any hormonal imbalance in your body then you may suffer from cramps even after the periods.
In addition to causing cramps, hormonal imbalance may also cause abdominal pain and irregular periods.
10. Birth Control Devices
Frequent usage of birth control device like the intrauterine device (IUD) may be causing those cramps even after the periods. Your body takes some time to adjust to these devices and you may continue getting the cramps until that time. Birth control devices are also known to have side-effects that impact few women.16
It is possible to get relief from cramps.
5 Ways To Ease Post-Period Cramps
1. Using Heat Pads
Placing a heat pad at the source of the pain can give some relief from the post-period cramps. You can place the heat pad for 30-60 mins. Doing this every consecutive day for 1 week may give relief from cramps.17
2. Drinking Warm Beverages
Warm beverages like chamomile tea and ginger tea can give you some relief from cramps.
3. Doing Basic Stretching Exercise
Stretching exercises can help loosen the muscles around the pelvis region which may also help ease the cramps and provide temporary relief.18
4. Medicines Like NSAID
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be effective when dealing with cramps. However, it should be used only after consulting a doctor.19
Antibiotics can be used to ease cramps caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).20 Consult a doctor before using any antibiotic.
- If cramps continue for a long duration then consult the doctor immediately as it may be a sign of some underlying disease.
- To deal with cramps effectively, seek professional help and follow their advice.
|↑1||What causes menstrual cramps? The Trustees of Columbia University.|
|↑2||Period pain: Overview. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.|
|↑3||Ovarian cyst. National Health Services.|
|↑4||Benign Ovarian Cysts. The Johns Hopkins University.|
|↑5||Pelvic inflammatory disease. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.|
|↑6||Pelvic inflammatory disease. National Health Services.|
|↑7||Glossary. The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research.|
|↑8||Menstrual disorders. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).|
|↑9||Fibroids. Regents of the University of California.|
|↑10||Uterine fibroids. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.|
|↑11||Adenomyosis. University of Florida Health Science Center.|
|↑12||Taran, F. A., Elizabeth A. Stewart, and S1 Brucker. “Adenomyosis: epidemiology, risk factors, clinical phenotype and surgical and interventional alternatives to hysterectomy.” Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde 73, no. 09 (2013): 924-931.|
|↑13||What is Endometriosis? Endometriosis Association.|
|↑14||Endometriosis. Regents of the University of California.|
|↑15||Klump, Kelly L., Pamela K. Keel, Sarah E. Racine, S. Alexandra Burt, Michael Neale, Cheryl L. Sisk, Steven Boker, and Jean Yueqin Hu. “The interactive effects of estrogen and progesterone on changes in emotional eating across the menstrual cycle.” Journal of abnormal psychology 122, no. 1 (2013): 131.|
|↑16||Hubacher, David, Pai-Lien Chen, and Sola Park. “Side effects from the copper IUD: do they decrease over time?.” Contraception 79, no. 5 (2009): 356-362.|
|↑17||Menstrual pain. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑18||Easy Stretches to Relax the Pelvis – Women. Pelvic Pain Foundation.|
|↑19||Best pain relievers for cramps. Society of Menstrual Cycle Research.|
|↑20||Menstrual pain. University of Maryland Medical Center.|