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Why Do We Get Cramps? 5 Reasons That AREN'T Your Period

Posted on November 26, 2023

Have you ever wondered, why do we get cramps? Well, you probably expect at least a little cramping during your  period. And, if you have a condition like retrograde menstruation, your cramps could be severe. (With this condition, your period blood flows backward into your pelvic cavity. Containing plenty of endometrial cells, this causes cramps as well as painful sex.)

But what could be to blame when those painful cramps show up at other times of the month? We know this symptom can be scary...and confusing! To help clear up all your questions, let's explore a few reasons that explain why do we get cramps when it's not that time of the month! To help clear up all your questions, let’s explore a few reasons that explain why do we get cramps when we're not on our period?

1. Constipation

When you're backed up, a stomach ache isn't surprising. What you may not realize is that constipation can also make you cramp! And that cramping won't be limited to your period: it can appear at any time of the month!  One easy way to beat constipation? Drink tons of H20 (try infusing it with fresh fruit if plain old water just isn't your thing.) The good news? Even if constipation isn't the cause of your cramps, only good can co

me from upping your liquid intake.

2. Why Do We get Cramps? Fibroids

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop on the walls of the uterus.  Depending on their size and location, fibroids can cause a whole host of symptoms including pain, heavy periods and--you guessed it--cramps, even when you're not menstruating. Thankfully, there are numerous fibroid treatments available, many of which are non-invasive and don't require surgery!

3. Cysts

Cysts, like fibroids, are non-cancerous growths. The difference? Cysts are fluid filled, but fibroids are muscular. Plus, fibroids form from within your uterine wall, while cysts develop on your ovaries. Now, we're not sure why women develop fibroids. But we know that cyst development is linked to your monthly cycle. Also, cysts and fibroids cause different symptoms. Because fibroids can interfere with your monthly periods and your urinary function. (They could also make it harder for you to get pregnant.)

But do you want to know one symptom fibroids and cysts have in common? They can both cause you to experience cramps outside of your period. (Though, with cysts, you'll likely experience pain on one side of your abdomen. While, with fibroids, the cramps could hit anywhere.)

Still, like fibroids, you can address cysts with a range of treatment options. And both fibroids and cysts can be diagnosed with an ultrasound in your doctor's office. After that, you'll be guided for follow-up care with the right specialists.

4. Why Do We Get Cramps? Sexually Transmitted Infections

Scarily enough, the answer could be yes! Infections like Chlamydia, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), and Gonorrhea can all cause abdominal pain, and other symptoms like cramps. No one wants to contract an STI, but knowing that cramps are an STI symptom is very helpful! That's especially true because many infections go undetected for long periods of time. If there's a chance you've had STI exposure, and are experiencing non-menstrual cramping, get tested in your doctor's office so you can begin treatment and avoid transmitting the infection to a current or future partner.

5. Running

When some women suddenly increase their training miles or distance, they experience painful, period-like cramps. How could that be? Well, when you run long or hard, you put lots of pressure on your core muscles. As a result, your abs and pelvic floor muscles could get overworked to the point of cramping. If this seems to be the cause of your cramps between periods, rest should relieve your symptoms. But speak to your doctor if this becomes a persistent problem when you run, as it could mean you have muscular imbalances. And that could leave you vulnerable to injuries.

Not sure why you're cramping between your period? Worried it could mean fibroids? Come in for a comprehensive evaluation with our Houston fibroid specialists. Using our diagnostic ultrasound, we can help determine why do we get cramps, and discuss treatment options if fibroids are the cause.


Sources: healthline, webmd.com

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