What Is Cramping After Period?
The majority of women experience menstrual cramps before or during their menstrual cycle; it is one of the most common symptoms of having a period. However, having post-period period cramps is also possible, even though it is not as common. Painful menstrual cramps that sometimes persist even after the end of the period are also referred to as secondary dysmenorrhea. It is more common in adult women.
Are Menstrual Cramps After Period Normal?
Menstrual cramps after a period can be normal, but they can also be a symptom of an underlying condition that can be more serious. Secondary dysmenorrhea is usually not severe, but it is essential to monitor these cramps, especially if you notice that they last longer and appear often.
What Are the Symptoms of Cramping After Period?
Cramping after your period can usually be felt in the lower back, as well as the lower abdomen. Many young women also report some dull pain and discomfort in their hips and thighs.
Menstrual cramps and overall discomfort are also often accompanied by lightheadedness, nausea, abdominal bloating, constipation, or diarrhea too.
The pain of secondary dysmenorrhea can be more severe and continue longer than usual menstrual cramps experienced pre or during your period.
What Causes Cramping After Period?
There are several possible causes for severe menstrual cramps after your period. Some of the most common ones include:
Ovulation pain (Mittelschmerz)
Mittelschmerz is lower abdominal pain that is caused by ovulation, and it usually occurs only on one side. Mittelschmerz cramping feels like normal menstrual cramps and it is often short-lived, but it can also last up to two days. You may also experience light spotting during ovulation, as those are some of the most common symptoms.
Adenomyosis is caused by abnormal tissue growth that appears in the muscular wall of the uterus instead of forming in the uterine lining. Other symptoms of adenomyosis include:
- prolonged menstruation
- extremely heavy flow during menstruation
- severe pelvic pain or cramping during menstruation
- throbbing or cramping pain
- severe pain during penetration
- large blood clots during menstruation
In the early stages of pregnancy, the uterine lining can shed, causing some light spotting. This is known as implantation bleeding, and it usually occurs one to two weeks days after conception. Uterine bleeding can also be accompanied by uterine cramping, especially in the first part of your pregnancy.
If you notice cramps after your period, you had unprotected sex, and you think that there is a chance of you being pregnant, taking a pregnancy test is your best bet to be certain and determine future steps.
Endometriosis is caused by the growth of the uterine lining outside the uterus. Endometriosis can cause painful cramping before, during, and after the period. However, cramping after your period is not the only symptom of endometriosis. Some of the most common ones include:
Symptoms of endometriosis include:
- lower back and abdominal pain
- -pelvic pain
- pain during and after penetration
- dull ache during urination or bowel movements
- spotting or excessive bleeding between periods
- heavy blood flows during the period
- fatigue and nausea
- issues getting pregnant when trying
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of tissue on the uterus, and they often cause zero to minimal symptoms. Symptoms of this condition depend on the location, size, and number of these noncancerous growths.
When they do present, symptoms of uterine fibroids can include:
- painful cramping after periods
- irregular bleeding between periods
- prolonged menstruation and heavy menstrual flow
- frequent or difficult urination
- pelvic pressure
- unmanageable pain in the pelvic region
- constipation and painful bowel movement
- issues getting pregnant even when trying
- pain in the legs or back
Fibroids can be treated with medication, different medical procedures, or surgery in most severe cases. Your healthcare provider will be able to provide the best and most useful medical advice regarding this issue and concern.
Post-period bleeding and cramping can also be caused by cysts that form inside the ovaries. The majority of cysts tend to disappear naturally without any treatment or action, but larger cysts have been known to cause more severe menstrual cramps in the lower abdomen. If you are dealing with large ovarian cysts, you may also experience your stomach feeling full, heavy, or bloated. In case you experience sudden and severe abdominal or pelvic pain, fever, or vomiting, see your doctor immediately. These could be signs of the cyst’s rupture. Larger ovarian cysts can be treated with medication or surgery in the most severe cases.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
PID (short for pelvic inflammatory disease) is caused by bacteria that infect the reproductive organs. These bacteria enter through your vagina, and they can spread to your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. Pelvic inflammatory disease is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection or an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) that spreads to the female reproductive organs, such as the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.
Cramping after your period is not the only symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease. Some of the most common ones include:
- cramping pains in the lower abdomen or in the pelvic area
- abnormal vaginal discharge
- heavy vaginal discharge
- abnormal uterine bleeding
- -painful periods
- bleeding or pain during penetration
- fever with chills, and other symptoms that mimic the flu
- painful or difficult urination
- -chronic pain
- bowel discomfort and pain
The treatment for PID is often antibiotics and temporary abstinence.
Cervical stenosis is a condition that causes the cervix to have a small or narrow opening, which can disrupt the menstrual flow and cause painful pressure in the uterus, which many interpret as post-period cramps and pelvic pain.
Cervical stenosis can be treated and solved with both medication or surgery, but an alternative option is having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted.
Ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg fails to attach itself to the uterus and does so somewhere on the outside. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can look like symptoms of a regular pregnancy, but they can also include:
- abnormal and unexpected spotting
- severe sharp pelvic or lower abdominal pain
- severe cramping
- -persistent pain
- shoulder pain
If the fallopian tube ruptures, you will also experience heavy abdominal bleeding, lightheadedness, and shock. In this case, seek immediate medical care as this situation counts as a medical emergency. Ectopic pregnancy should always be treated as an emergency, and it can be solved with medication or surgery.
What is the Treatment for Cramping Pain After Period?
There are several ways to get relief from cramps, but the majority of remedies are connected to leading a healthy lifestyle. Some of them include:
- Reducing stress
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting plenty of rest and sleep.
- Staying away from alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
- Eliminating or at least reducing fatty and salty foods
- Exercising can help relieve pain by increasing blood circulation and easing stress
If the cramps become too much to sit through and you need to relieve the pain, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Using a heating pad or hot water bottle on the painful area can also alleviate the pain.
If you experience cramping every month, seek medical advice. Your doctor can also prescribe oral contraceptives that can reduce menstrual pain.
When To See a Doctor If You Are Experiencing Cramps After Your Period?
Since each woman’s body is unique and different, it can be complicated to give clear guidelines on when a doctor’s attention and medical treatment are required.
For most women, it is best to seek immediate medical attention if:
- Your menstrual cramps interfere with your daily life
- The cramps last longer than two days
- Over-the-counter pain medication provide minimal or no relief from the pain
- You notice that your symptoms progressively worsen
Is it normal to have cramps after a period?
Cramping after a period can be normal, but it can also be a symptom of an underlying condition that can be more serious and requires treatment.
Why am I having period cramps when I’m not on my period?
There are several reasons why you might be experiencing cramping after your period, and the most common ones are discussed above.
Can stress cause cramps?
Many women and academic research institutions suggest that stress and anxiety can cause stomach aches, but they cannot cause menstrual cramps and painful periods. However, stress and anxiety can worsen symptoms of abdominal cramps and pain.
What things make cramps worse?
There are some foods that are going to make your cramps worse and cause painful periods, and some of them include canned foods high in salt, beans that can upset your stomach, candy, fried and fatty foods, dairy products, and caffeine.