You’re on the couch, clutching a hot water bottle to your belly. It feels like period cramps, but your period is nowhere in sight. What’s going on?
Having period cramps but no period is more common than you might think.
As it turns out, there are a ton of things that aren’t menstruation that can cause similar feelings.
So what’s behind it? Let’s see if we can narrow it down.
First things first though:
In this article: 📝
- Can early pregnancy feel like period cramps?
- Why do I have cramps but no period?
Can early pregnancy feel like period cramps?
If you’re TTC (trying to conceive) and having period cramps but no period, this is probably the question that you can’t get off your mind. Well, there’s good news and bad news.
Cramps without a period can be a sign of early pregnancy. And what kind of cramps indicate pregnancy?
When the embryo implants in the lining of your womb, you can feel anything from a tugging sensation to what feels like a menstrual cramp.
The problem is, several other things can give you a similar feeling.
The only way to know is to take a pregnancy test and talk to your OB-GYN or doctor.
But what if the cramps aren’t related to pregnancy?
If there’s no chance you’re pregnant, and you’re asking yourself ‘why am I having cramps but no period?’, there are still a lot of potential reasons.
Why do I have cramps but no period?
If you’re about mid-way between periods, your cramps could be something called Mittelschmerz.
This is a very German word for the painful cramps (Schmerzen = pain) that a lot of women get in the middle (Mittel = middle) of their cycle when ovulation occurs.
Some women get this every month, but just because it’s not familiar to you, doesn’t mean that you won’t experience Mittelschmerz once in a while.
Anovulation is when you have a cycle (or cycles) where your ovaries don’t release an egg.
But although there’s no egg, your uterus still gets itself ready for a potential pregnancy and your body goes through the same hormonal cycle as usual, which means you still get period cramps.
Longer-term ovarian health conditions
If you know that you’re not pregnant and notice that your period cramps are persisting throughout your cycle, it is probably worth making an appointment with your doctor.
Although it’s rare, period-style cramps can be an early warning sign of longer-term health conditions that can be much better treated if you catch them early.
Some conditions which are known to cause cramping include:
- A ruptured ovarian cyst
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Uterine polyps
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Ovarian cancer (although here, cramps would most likely be accompanied by other symptoms – like swelling, bloating, constipation, pelvic pain, or pain during and after sex)
Again, the most likely scenario is that the cramps are nothing to worry about, but it is something to mention to your doctor.
Bowel, bladder, or stomach issues
Your digestive system and your reproductive system aren’t physically connected, but when there’s something up, it can cause similar symptoms.
What’s more, hormones such as progesterone, which rises and falls through your cycle, can speed up or slow down your digestion.
Many people report that problems in the bowel, bladder, or stomach trigger cramps in their lower bellies, which can easily be mistaken for period cramps.
Possible culprits here include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Urinary tract infections
- Interstitial cystitis or Bladder Pain Syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
It’s easy to jump to conclusions when your body experiences something like period cramps outside of your normal cycle.
But our bodies are complex, and, while it’s as frustrating as it is reassuring, cramping can be a sign of a lot of different things.
And if your cramps are really cramping your style, try some pain relief. Our Peanut mamas love the OOVI pulse therapy kit, which can stop period pain in its tracks.
The best way to get to the bottom of them? Talk to your medical provider.
💡 You might also like:
Prostaglandins and Period Pain: What You Need to Know
Can You Get Pregnant Right After Your Period?
Can You Get Pregnant Right Before Your Period?
Things You Should Know About Your Period, But Don’t
Early Signs of Pregnancy Before Missed Period
How Late Can a Period Be?
How to Reduce Period Pain
What Are Implantation Cramps?
Understanding Implantation Symptoms
Are You Getting Cramps After Menopause?
What Can You Do About Ovulation Cramps?
Boobs Sore After Period? What to Know
Are There Drinks That Help With Period Cramps?
8 Signs Your Period is Coming Tomorrow
The 411 on Period Poop
Why Do I Crave Chocolate On My Period?