The Independent Pharmacy

Period Cramps But No Period: Possible Causes

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 22 Sep 2022

Why do women experience period pain but no period?

Experiencing period pain when you are not on your period can be a little alarming, but pelvic pain is actually very common. Nevertheless, severe or mild cramps at other times in your cycle than your period could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so it’s always best to keep an eye on your symptoms and speak to your GP if they persist.

Understanding the cause of your pain will help you find the best treatment if needed and give you greater peace of mind. In the below guide, we’ll discuss the reasons behind having period pain without an accompanying period.

What causes pelvic pain and cramps when you aren’t on your period?

With so much going on in a woman’s reproductive system, occasional cramping outside of your period window is usually nothing to worry about, but it can be an indication of other health conditions. You know your body, so if you’re experiencing sharp cramps and pelvic pain and you’re not sure why it’s best to investigate the cause.

As for possible causes, many underlying conditions and changes in the body can result in period-like pain and other similar symptoms, such as:

Ovulation

Ovulation is the stage in the menstrual cycle when an egg is released, and this can be painful for some women. If you are regularly experiencing pain in your lower stomach or around your ovaries within 10-14 days of your period, it may be down to ovulation, so making a note of when your pain occurs can help you narrow down the cause.

In cases of severe cramping due to ovulation, hormonal birth control medication may be prescribed. Contraception options include Gedarel, Microgynon ED, Mercilon, Femodette, Levest, Lucette, Femodene, Microgynon, Ovranette, Logynon ED, and Rigevidon. By preventing ovulation, you’ll prevent the accompanying symptoms.

Gedarel Tablets (20 & 30)
Gedarel Tablets (20 & 30)
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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. In most cases, it indicates the presence of a sexually transmitted disease (such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea) which, if untreated, may cause mild or severe cramping. If you have recently had unprotected sex, then having an STI test will determine if this is the cause of your pain. If it is, a short course of antibiotics should clear things up and stop the cramping.

Endometriosis

The pain caused by endometriosis is often reported as being similar to that of period cramps. Endometriosis affects around 1.5 million women, which is around as many women as are affected by diabetes, yet it can take as long as 8 years for a woman to be diagnosed. This condition occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows in other areas (such as the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or inside the stomach), with symptoms ranging from mild cramps to excruciating pain.

If your period-like cramps are accompanied by pain during sex, urination or bowel movements, there is a strong possibility that the underlying issue is endometriosis. Coming off hormonal contraceptives often reveals endometriosis symptoms since these medications can be used to regulate hormones.

Stress

Stress not only affects your mental well-being but can also cause a physical response in your body. If you’re having trouble at work or feeling anxious or worried in your free time, it can affect the areas of your brain that are responsible for producing hormones, causing a shift in the duration or frequency of your cycle — with the result being untimely cramping.

Think about any factors in your life that could be causing you stress and take some time to invest in your wellbeing. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be reluctant to ask for help. Your doctor can help you find tactics for reducing your stress levels.

Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts often cause pelvic pain that’s similar to period cramps. An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on an ovary, and while it is often entirely painless, it can also be quite painful and prompt symptoms such as cramps. Worse still, an ovarian cyst can rupture, resulting in excruciating pelvic pain.

Pregnancy

Surprisingly, having cramps but no period can be an indication of pregnancy. Symptoms of early pregnancy include cramping (mimicking the symptoms you have before and during your period), mood swings, breast tenderness, and tiredness. If you are trying to conceive or have recently had unprotected sex, it may be worth taking a pregnancy test.

Why is my period late?

If your period is several days late but you have cramps, this may be related to one of the above reasons. However, even regular periods can go off track sometimes, and it may just be a one-off month in which your period comes later than expected. If you think there’s any chance that you might be pregnant, take a test as soon as possible.

How can you treat cramping?

Period pain symptoms are no fun. To relieve the cramping, try the following remedies:

  • Place a hot water bottle, warm compress or heated pad over your lower stomach to relieve muscle tension.
  • Try Feminax Express, Ibuprofen or Paracetamol for pain relief.
  • Avoid crouching and bending over, and make time to lie outstretched to relax the muscles.
  • If you feel up to it, try gentle exercises such as walking or swimming.
Feminax Express
Feminax Express
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Summary

Having cramps but no period can be painful and leave you feeling worried. The good news is that it usually has a simple explanation, and there are many viable treatment options available. Your doctor can help you find the right course of treatment. If you can, make notes on your symptoms, as any information you can provide will help with your diagnosis.

At The Independent Pharmacy, we offer professional advice on how to manage pelvic pain. Speak to one of our experts today for professional advice.

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