Do you have cramps all month during perimenopause? Are they there day and night and it’s hard to sleep? You’ve come to the right place! Find out why this is happening, as well as some of the cures for cramps all month. Read more for all the details!
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause refers to the transitional phase that a woman goes through leading up to menopause, which is when menstrual periods cease after 12 months and the ovaries are no longer able to produce an egg. In other words, a woman is unable to become pregnant.
Women generally enter perimenopause when they reach the age of 40, but some may get it in their late 30s and it can last for about 4 or 8 years. This means that menopause usually happens around 50 or 51.
Even though a woman’s estrogen level drops at menopause, it fluctuates back and forth during perimenopause. This is what causes their menstrual cycle to become so unpredictable.
One of the most recurring phenomenons during perimenopause is abdominal cramps, which is experienced when a woman’s estrogen level is high along with other symptoms such as tender breasts and heavy periods.
How Cramping Varies In Pain
During their menstrual periods, women experience cramping pains on a monthly basis. This is due to the uterus which contracts to push out the lining.
The painful cramps occur naturally and some women experience worse pains than others because of symptoms such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and uterine fibroids, which occur during reproductive years.
However, the cramps intensify during the perimenopause phase. Other symptoms that play a part in this include mood swings and tender breasts.
Some people have severe menstrual cramps, while others have none at all. It really is a case by case basis for how much pain you may experience during your monthly menstrual cycle.
In addition, menstrual cramps can vary in intensity throughout your lifetime. During perimenopause, they may get better, or worse due to fluctuating hormone levels.
How Do Cramps all Month Occur?
The cramps that you experience perimenopause are linked to your hormone levels. Hormones such as prostaglandins are released by the glands that line your uterus. It is due to these hormones that cause your uterus to contract during your period, which worsens the cramps if their levels get higher.
When the estrogen level is high, you will produce more prostaglandins and those levels often increase during perimenopause.
If you’re having cramps but no period, you should check with your doctor to find out why this is happening. Keep on reading for some of the most common reasons.
Top Reasons for Cramps, but No Period
Why Do I have Cramps but No Period?
Menstrual cramps but no period? It’s a strange, and sometimes worrying problem and can be a sign of something not related to your period!
Having cramps all month, but no period is not a normal condition. Here are only a few of the reasons why you may have cramps but no period. This is not an exhaustive list, so please see your doctor if you’re having menstrual cramps all the time.
#1: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Many people around the world suffer from IBS, with people under 50 most likely to suffer from this condition. It can result in pain and cramping in the stomach and pelvic, and may resemble menstrual cramps in some cases.
Some other things you may experience include constipation, diarrhea, gas, stomach swelling, etc.
#2: Inflammatory Bowel Disease
This condition is characterized by irritation and swelling in the digestive tract. The pain that occurs with this may feel quite similar to menstrual cramps. Depending on what kind of Irritable Bowel Disease you have, the pain can be mild to severe, and occur on the right, middle or left side or your bell.
#3: Lactose Intolerance
Another reason why you may think you have cramps but no period is because you have lactose intolerance. The body is unable to digest the sugars found in milk and other dairy products. Besides cramps, you may also experience bloating, nausea, gas, etc.
If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, you may experience some cramping about 10-14 days before your period. This occurs when your ovaries are getting ready to release an egg.
Sometimes your body can go through all the normal hormonal changes associated with PMS, but may not release an egg. If this happens, you may have menstrual cramps but no period.
If this happens to you, getting pregnant can be quite tricky (if that’s what you want!).
#6: Ruptured Ovarian Cyst
A cyst is simply a sac of fluid that can sometimes form on your ovaries. Most of them are harmless, but some of them can grow quite large and burst.
When this happens, it can sometimes cause severe pain, or none at all. It just depends on each person and the severity of it. You may also notice some spotting in this situation.
Some people experience pain during implantation of the early stages of pregnancy. It can replicate menstrual cramps in some cases.
An Ectopic pregnancy, or miscarriage can also cause some cramp-like pain.
Another possible reason for menstrual cramps all month is endometriosis. Tissue that normally is found only in the uterus grows in other parts of the body, such as the fallopian tubes or other reproductive organs.
This tissue is sensitive to the same hormones that regulate your period, and the result is that they break down and bleed, in the same way the lining of your uterus does when you have your period. Because this tissue can leave through the vagina, it can cause lesions which result in pain and swelling.
Some people with this condition have cramps just during their period, but others experience them throughout their menstrual cycle.
Another reason why some people experience period cramps all month is that they have fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Many people with fibriods experience no symptoms at all. However, they can sometimes cause bleeding and cramps all month.
#10: Thyroid Conditions
The thyroid is a small gland in your neck which regulates many of the body’s functions, including your menstrual cycle. If there’s something wrong with this, your cycle may be very irregular. You may even have cramps that resemble period cramps but hvae no period.
#11: Toxic Shock Syndrome
You’ve all heard the warning about TSS from tampons, right? But, did you know that only about 50% of the cases are caused by them? The other 50% are caused by types of injuries like cuts, burns, abrasions, surgery, etc.
If you’ve recently had something like this happen, and are now experiencing severe abdominal pain, along with a rash, fever, etc. it could be a sign of this serious disease. Check in with a medical professional immediately.
#12: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs that’s usually the result of an untreated sexually transmitted infection. You may have abdominal pain that feels like severe cramps, along with a fever, unusual vaginal discharge, or pain during urination or sex.
This condition needs immediate treatment via antibiotics because it can scar the reproductive organs and lead to infertility.
If you have have terrible cramping, you may think it’s related to your period. However, it can also be caused by appendicitis. This is a serious condition where the appendix becomes inflamed and painful. It can even burst, which is a serious problem.
This happens when the tissue lining your uterus begins to grow into the muscle in the uterine walls. It can be very painful and resemble menstrual cramps.
#15: Cervical Stenosis
This is where the opening of the cervix is very small. The result is that menstrual fluid can be impeded from exiting the body, which can result in a lot of pain. It may also seem like you don’t have your period because the blood is unable to escape.
However, this most often happens to younger people, rather than someone in perimenopause.
Menopause Cramps no Period (Postmenopausal Cramping)
Okay, so you’re in menopause and haven’t had a period for a year. Why are you still getting postmenopausal cramps? Let’s find out!
Are they Actually Menstrual Cramps?
The first thing to keep in mind is that what may seem like menstrual cramps could be something else. For example, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or polyps, or food poisoning may all cause abdominal pain. Sometimes cancer of the female reproductive system can also cause painful cramping.
Please check with your family doctor to diagnose these sometimes serious conditions and to learn about treatments.
Are you Actually in Menopause?
Another reason for menstrual cramps during “menopause” is that you’re actually still in pre-menopause. Perhaps you get periods every few months apart? Or, you have bleeding that resembles spotting more than an actual period. If this is the case, you can still get cramps. You can treat them as you normally would.
Menopause officially starts when you haven’t had a period, even a very light one for a full year. Until that happens, you’re still in perimenopause, and you can get periods and cramps (and also get pregnant!)
Some of the Most Common Reasons for Cramps During Menopause
As mentioned, there are a number of reasons why you might experience what seems like menstrual cramps even though you’ve reached menopause. As you can can see, some of these conditions are very serious, so if you experience cramping or pelvic pain during menopause, you should seek advice from your doctor.
These are small growths that grown in the walls of the uterus. The good news is that they’re usually not cancerous. The bad news is that they can cause cramps or pressure in the pelvic, even after your periods have stopped.
This is a condition where uterine tissue grows in other parts of the body. It’s most common in people between 30 and 40, but it can happen during perimenopause or menopause as well. You may experience pain that resembles period cramps, even though you no longer have periods.
Note: if you’re using hormone replacement therapy to minimize the effects of changing hormones, it may actually make this condition worse.
#3: Chronic Constipation
If you commonly experience pelvic pain, you may suffer from constipation. It’s officially defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. In addition, they might be hard, dry or lumpy.
Some of the most common causes include a low fiber diet (eat those fruits and veggies!), lack of exercise or certain medications and medical conditions.
#4: Ovarian and Uterine Cancers
Cancers of the reproductive organs may cause abdominal pain or cramping. Older people (such as those in menopause) are at a higher risk of developing them.
Along with pain in the pelvic, you may have vaginal bleeding, bloating, tiredness, or weight loss.
What Should I Do about Cramps During Perimenopause?
If your cramps become painful to the point where they interfere with your daily life, then you can make use of the following solutions to help lessen the pain:
Natural And Home Remedies for Cramps all Month
According to a report by Cochrane authors, there are certain herbs that may aid in reducing cramps, including:
- Zinc sulphate
However, the evidence presented in this study is limited. There are also supplements that have either unusual side effects or just clash with the medicines that you take. Therefore, it is advisable for you to consult your doctor before including any of those supplements into your routine.
If that’s not enough, then some of these home remedies:
- Gently massaging your belly can offer some relief from the menstrual pains.
- Put a hot bottle of water or a heating pad on your abdomen. Research indicates that heat is as effective for relieving you of cramps as ibuprofen (Advil).
- Engage in stress-relieving exercises such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing. One research reveals that menstrual cramps are more common in women with stress than those with little stress.
- Accupressure, which is stimulation of certain points on the body with gentle pressure. Research on whether or not this works is limited, but initial studies have shown that it’s more effective than a placebo for relieving cramps.
Livia: Off-Switch for Period Pain
One new device that some people swear by is the Livia (TENS machine). The company calls it the “off-switch” for period pain.
The way it works is that you place pads on your abdomen and turn on the machine. It emits an electrical impulse that is designed to turn off your menstrual cramps.
Sounds kind of a like a gimmick, right? Except that scientific studies have shown that it does indeed work for some people at reducing pain during their period.
If it works for you, it’s certainly better than popping all the painkillers all the time. The company offers a money-back guarantee, so you actually don’t have a whole lot to lose.
Need more information? You’ll want to check out our review of the Livia. Or, you can head over to Amazon and check it out for yourself:
Changes In Lifestyle to Deal With Menstrual Cramps
Changing your diet routine is a sure and simple way to lessen your menstrual cramps without the need for medication.
It is important to eat foods that are high in fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This is because fiber decreases the amount of prostaglandins in your body.
Sea foods such as tuna and salmon contain Omega-3 fatty acids that are also essential for reducing the production of prostaglandins.
Other foods that might be helpful in seeking relief from cramps are those that are high nutrients such as vitamins B-6, B-3, B-2 and E, magnesium and zinc.
However, there are foods that can aggravate your menstrual cramps which you might want to avoid:
- Caffeinated tea, coffee and soda.
- Salt. Taking too much salt will cause you to retain more water in your body, which causes bloating, thus intensifying your cramps.
Try walking or doing other exercises everyday to improve your body’s blood circulation as it will reduce your cramps.
Some simple lifestyle changes can possibly have a very positive effect on your overall health, including your cramping.
Learn more about Reducing Menstrual Cramps
Medication for Cramps During Perimenopause
If the above solutions are not enough to ease your menstrual cramps, then you can ask your doctor to recommend some over-the-counter pain relieving medications such as:
- naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- ibuprofen (Advil)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
To treat severe cramping pains, look for stronger medication like mefenamic acid (Ponstel).
If you want the best pain-relieving effects from these medications, then we recommend you start them at the beginning of your period or when you start to experience cramps. Continue to take them until your symptoms start to improve.
You can also take birth control pills as they can lower the amount of prostaglandins being produced in your uterus. Doing so will not only reduce cramps, but blood flow as well.
What about CBD for Menstrual Pain?
If you’re looking for an alternative to painkillers to deal with period pain, then you may want to consider CBD. It’s widely available anywhere medicinal or recreational marijuana is legal. It’s been show to reduce inflammation and pain, which is exactly what you might need during your period. What it doesn’t do is get you high because it contains no THC.
Does it work? There are thousands of people who swear by it. Science backs it up too, however, in a more general way with regards to reducing pain.
You can learn more about it here: What’s the Deal with CBD for Cramps?
Surgery to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
If your cramping is caused by fibroids, endometriosis or other similar conditions, then your doctor may recommend surgery. If all other treatment options don’t work, your doctor may also recommend removal of the uterus if you plan to not have children in the future.
Other Reasons That Cause Perimenopause Pain
Besides menstruation, there are other reasons why women experience pain during perimenopause, some of which include:
Ovarian cancer is a rare disease, but it is possible to get it. It can start with three different types of cells in the ovaries:
Germ cell tumors: Start from cells that make eggs.
Epithelial cell tumors: Begin from cells that line the surface of the ovary.
Stromal tumors: Occurs in cells that produce progesterone and estrogen.
The risk for this cancer increases with age and most of it start after menopause.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Feeling full after eating
- An urgency to urinate
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Pain during sex
These symptoms can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions and you must check up with your gynecologist right away if you start to exhibit any of them.
An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid forms on a woman’s ovaries. If a cyst gets big or fractures, it could cause:
- Feeling of fullness in your stomach
- Abdominal pain on the side of the cyst
Although cysts rarely cause cramping, the pain is typically sharp and sudden.
During pregnancy, cysts are caused by:
- Pelvic infection
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Once periods stop, cysts can be caused by:
- Non-cancerous growths
- Fluid buildup in the ovaries
Cysts are generally harmless, but larger ones require immediate attention. Since the risk for ovarian cancer increases with age, it is pivotal to check up with your doctor to see if you have any symptoms that match this disease.
When You Should See Your Doctor About Cramps During Perimenopause
Cramping may be a sign of something quite serious. It’s best to talk with a medical professional about what’s causing them to rule out any of these more serious conditions.
Go see your doctor if you start showing any of the following:
If you get cramps for the first time or they get more severe.
You experience symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, weight loss or heavy bleeding. Or, if the pain is accompanied by a high fever, it may be a sign of an infection and you should seek immediate medical treatment.
Are they Interfering with your Daily Life?
One sign that menstrual cramps could be beyond the normal is if they’re interfering with your normal life. For example, if you miss days of work or school, or cancel all social activities when you have your period.
Check in with your doctor if this is the case for you. There are certainly solutions and you don’t just have to suffer through this problem without help.
How does a Gynecologist Diagnose the Problem of Cramps but No Period in Perimenopause?
In order to make a proper diagnosis, your doctor will take several tests, ask for your medical history and symptoms. They will pay particular attention to your sexual history, in order to rule out potentially sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
They will likely do a pelvic exam to look for any abnormalities or signs of infection. If there’s nothing obvious, they may order additional tests, including:
- Other imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI
- Blood work
- STI testing
- Exploratory laparoscopy (severe cases only)
Other Signs of Perimenopause
Beyond changes in menstrual cramps, there are plenty of other signs of perimenopause. Some of these includes:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
- Changes in sex drive
- Irregular periods
Cramps all Month During Perimenopause: Have your Say
Are you getting cramps all month in the years leading up to menopause? Leave a comment below and let us know about it.
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