Why Do I Have Menstrual Cramps Between Periods?

Experiencing cramps in between your periods is unusual, but not unheard of. Normally, cramps are caused by your uterus contracting in order to shed the uterine lining. The actual contraction is what you’re feeling when you experience menstrual cramps. But what does it mean when you have cramps between periods?


The most common answer is pregnancy. Although you won’t have the typical spotting or bleeding, you’ll still experience some cramping. This happens after the fertilization process, when the embryo attaches itself to the uterus wall. The muscles of the uterine wall contract to make room inside the uterus for the fetus.

This is best detected with a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, you should take the necessary steps accordingly. In the event you aren’t pregnant, your doctor will inform you how to get the correct diagnosis.


When your ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tube, you may experience a cramping sensation. This is called Mittelschmerz. This feeling lasts typically for only a few hours, but there are cases where Mittelschmerz lasts as long as two days.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can relieve yourself from this type of cramping:

  • Get lots of rest
  • Drink eight or more glasses of water every day
  • Use a heating pad or take a hot bath
  • Take ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to prevent inflammation


This is a reproductive disease in which the uterine lining grows and regenerates outside the uterus. In women with endometriosis, the lining can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, colon, abdomen or bladder. Despite being located outside the uterus, the lining bleeds and regenerates itself normally. This may cause other complications like cysts, scarring and infertility. Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Painful periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infertility

Endometriosis also causes discomfort during bowel movements and pain during menstruation and between periods.

Your doctor may prescribe medication for temporary pain relief. However, this will only help the pain. Surgery, or a complete hysterectomy if your situation is bad enough, is currently the only permanent answer.

The examples listed typically have an added symptom of minor spotting. Although this is normal, experiencing cramps outside your regular period is a sign that something may not be right. It may be as harmless as Mittelschmerz or something more serious like endometriosis. If the cramps strike and it’s not your normal time, make sure to contact your gynecologist.

  • Kris

    Sex before and after period two weeks later got another period is that normal

    • Actually, that isn’t normal. Cycles are supposed to last 28 days so if you are having 14 day cycles, your hormones are really off and you should see a doctor about that.

  • nope

    Little question… I’m still a virgin yet I have some unusual craming going on down there … and it’s about a week until my period :/

  • Zizipho

    I just had my period on the 14February and stopped.on the 17th February. I then experienced a pink discharge, and stomach cramps, today i’m on my period again and the stomach cramps are still there. Is this normal?

    • It doesn’t sound like something that normally would happen. You might want to go and see a doctor if you are still having discharge.

    • It doesn’t sound like something that normally would happen. You might want to go and see a doctor if you are still having discharge.

  • Sam

    Hi. I was wondering if anyone, especially the moderator, could please give me some advice?

    I’ve been having seemingly period cramps all throughout the past few months (they are slightly worse on my period). I had protected sex once three months ago but also wore the man’s underwear with his cum inside it. Since then I’ve had two really light periods, so the odds are that I’m not pregnant even though some women do have bleeding. I have also been constantly nauseous for a month.

    I have limited healthcare as I am 17 and my parents do not approve of me getting it due to their beliefs. I have seen one nurse who was entirely unhelpful despite being nice. I have two appointments with other nurses on the 2nd and 4th through my school, but in the meantime I will most likely have to tolerate these symptoms which are causing a lot of discomfort and worry. I am not able to take a test until the 6th either, so I can’t rule that option out for sure.

    Thank you to the author for this post and to anyone who offers suggestions and/or advice

    • Did you used to have normal periods before the recent light months or have you always had light periods? The aching and nausea could be a sign of pregnancy so you really need to rule pregnancy out first. If a test comes back negative, you might have something else going on like fibroids / endometriosis. The pain should most definitely not be there all the time though. I am sorry you are not able to get the health care that it sounds like you need at the moment.

      • Sam

        Thank you so much for replying, especially so quickly. I really appreciate it and I hope you know how much your replies can help people.

        Last year I was having about an average flow but this year the ones I’ve had were rather light – they basically reduced to spotting for days 2-5. I can definitely get a test on the 6th (when I see my boyfriend) but hopefully one of the nurses will provide me with one earlier. I know I really do need to get tested and will make sure I do, but I will just have to tolerate the uncertainty and discomfort for up to another 11 days.

        The other possible outcomes, quite reasonably, are a little frightening but I am trying to think rationally.

  • Aisha Nderitu

    I do have pain like for more than aweek before my period starts,and more pain during my period time I was dating and i could not get pregnant in some year span what could be my problem

    • Unfortunately, I can’t say. You might want to talk to your doctor about the issue.

    • Peter ThePolish Kiryluk

      Take Niacin Your body is lacking niacin and magnesium. I’m a scientist, i specialize in the edge or “phenomenon” which just means NEW research and study’s. Niacin slow capsules of 250mg will make this not be so hurtful. Also I bet you get headaches easily compared to your boyfriend or husband? AM i RIGHT? Take a Niacin when you feel your headache it will go away at light speed compared to IBUPROFEN. Im also gonna shoot here at the dark, your on some kind of a pill that is messing you up.

  • Hailey

    Hi, I’ve been having light cramping ever since I ended my last period. And it’s almost time for my next period and the cramping has been there all through out my 30 day cycle. I’ve had unprotected sex a couple times this month also. I’m scare I migh have endometriosis

    • If the pain is still there, you might want to visit your doctor to find out what is going on.

  • Your Everything

    well I dont have endo and having cramping many days of the month beyond the pms…. 🙁

    • What has your doctor said about the potential cause?

      • Your Everything


      • Your Everything


  • justwondering

    I had unprotected sex with my husband 2 weeks ago when he came in from out of town work. We are trying to have a baby. I had just finished my cycle but I am still cramping. What does this mean? I have not had cramps like this before so I wondering if I should get excited!! 🙂 I have tried tests but it is probably to soon for it to show if I am pregnant.

    • Unfortunately, if you had just finished your period, you were most likely not ovulating when you had sex. If you did happen to get pregnant at that time, you should get a positive result on a pregnancy test by now.

  • justwondering

    I had unprotected sex with my husband 2 weeks ago when he came in from out of town work. We are trying to have a baby. I had just finished my cycle but I am still cramping. What does this mean? I have not had cramps like this before so I wondering if I should get excited!! 🙂 I have tried tests but it is probably to soon for it to show if I am pregnant.

  • kenken

    I have been on depo almost 5 months now I bleed a little after my first shot but had unprotected sex quite a few times after as well I had very little spotting around time of my period but for like the last month or so I have been feeling movement in my stomach a lot I keep getting headaches nausea n my breast are getting big I have cramping really bad I took a test and it was negative but I keep feeling kicks in my stomach Am I pregnant?

    • If the test continues to be negative, all the symptoms you are having can also be side effects of the depo injection. You might want to visit your doctor to get checked out. It could be that depo isn’t a good birth control choice for you.

    • Michelle

      Same thing happend to me. I was on Depo had unprotected sex several times. I physically felt some changes and knew something had changed and was different. I immediately took a otc test and it was negative. Same thing a week later a better test and still negative. I still didn’t feel right I swore I felt kicking and went to the clinic and took another pregnancy test in which they told me it was negative and not pregnant. I insisted they check it again and spome to a different staff memeber and the doctor ran it again but checked for different hormone levels. Sure enough I was indeed pregnant. All test came up negative do to how far along I was and that it checks only for early pregnancy hormones. Be persistent and find out.

  • abena

    I had sex on the 15 and my period suppose to come on the 19th is it possible l could get pregnant

    • It’s not likely as ovulation (the only time you can get pregnant) usually happens 14 days before your period arrives.

  • D&Z

    I had sex 3 times the week of May 4th. I’ve had no spotting and my period was due a week ago. I’m having cramps too but they’re not bad and my breasts are sore only in certain spots and on the center of my nipple. Everything else is normal. No other symptoms. Could I be pregnant?

    • If your period is late, there is always the chance that you are pregnant. If you keep getting negative results and your period still has not arrived, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

  • whit

    Okay ttc 2nd child for years. Went in for a laparoscopic surgery on may 20th do to infertility and pelvic pain. Found out from my c section had severe scar tissue on my uterus bowels and bladder. Doctor cleaned the
    Scar tissue out and said that was the problem with the fertility and pain. He said to start trying right away. My “fertile window” fell just a week out from my surgery and for those 5 days me and my husband had sex 3. I usually have a regular 28 days cycle. Since my last period started on may 14th I should start the 10th or 11th of this month. But me and my husband had sex lastnight and in the middle of the night I went to the bathroom and when I wiped I had a small streak of blood on the tissue. Its around 6 days before my period is due and around a week after “my fertile window” .. I’ve never had spotting after sex and I don’t feel we were rough or did anything to cause cervic irritation. The bleeding wasn’t from my surgery bc the doc told me I would spot for a couple days and done. I have done great wirh the surgery and have no pain. Also I have mild craps that I may of other wise not noticed. Just looking for someone opinion.

    • Perhaps it could be implantation bleeding from a successful conception? I’d wait 4 days and take a pregnancy test! Good luck!

  • As long as your period hasn’t arrived there is a chance that you could be pregnant, as long as you had unprotected sex around the time you were ovulating

    • jenny

      Good day I need help please on the 8 of July I went to my periods where the blood stopped on the 15 on the 17 I did unprotected sex where the blood end up coming during sex after 2 day I started to eat a lot breast getting big feeling nausea, on the 7 nd 8 august I did unprotected sex again where I went on my period on the 10th but I’m feeling pains in my stomach and on the sight of my stomach with stomach chramps

  • Amy Hooper

    Ok so I had my first shot of depo. I was suppose to get it again on May 14th but decided not to. We decided we would try for another baby since we lost our son or at least not prevent it. I got my period on May 17th. It was 5 days early and was extremely light for 12 days. 10 days after I had cramping like I was going to start again but I didn’t. I did have lots of white/clear discharge (I think it might’ve been ovulation). Anyways I’m suppose to start on in 6 days and today I’ve started cramping but not like my normal cramps. They feel like I just really need to go number 2 (sorry if that’s tmi). We have been having unprotected sex since April. What’s the chances that I could be pregnant?

    • It’s hard to say what the chances are. Unless you know for sure when you were ovulating, it is hard to figure out the chances of you being pregnant. If you wait 4 days, or so, and test you should get accurate results.

  • Sarah

    I had my first shot ever on the 15th of Jan. I was suppose to have period on the 1st but it did not came. It was succeeded with irregular bleeding and spotting a week after til the start of May. On the 2nd week of May I did not have any spotting at all, nor vaginal mucus. So I was expecting to have my period on the 1st of June. However, 1st and 2nd June came with very light bleeding and after that no sign of menstrual period at all. On the 1st I had bouts of nausea, ill feeling,fatigue, headaches, puking liquid I thought was resulted from very gaseous stomach, bloating and loss of appetite altogether due to the nausea. I did one upt and it was negative. However going to the doctor, he said the effect of the drug should wear off by now and I might be pregnant. The 2nd week of June I started having the mild to heavy cramps below the stomach with very tender breast, bad back ache and bad mood swings. I tested for upt again it was negative. I noticed my lower part of the body is gaining a lot of weight comparing to the size and shape of my curves and buttocks, it is now fuller and curvier, which is hard to gain because I am skinny. My lower stomach is also showing more, a bit bulging compared to the stomach area, and it feels heavy when I walk. Like I am carrying some weight on it, very uncomfortable. I read online bout how depo masks the amount of hcg in the body. A friend of mine who is a nurse advised me to wait until my next period (1st July) before demanding for a blood test as it has already been a month I have been having these symptoms and its showing no signs of stopping. My lower stomach, the skin feels like its stretching and sensitive to the touch. For everyone’s information, while on the depo I consumed 2 cycles of antibiotics due to fever and an infection. I also drank mineral water with 3 drops of lemon and consume banana and watermelon daily. I read it would flush out the drug out of the system quicker and balance the hormone.For 2 months now I am currently on folic acid to prepare my body for a baby. I would like to ask your opinion on the matter. Am I pregnant?

    • Sarah

      and I am having regular vaginal mucus a week after these symptoms occur. These symptoms did not occur at all while I was on the drug.

      • Unfortunately, I can’t really help you. You will need to go and talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are having. As you are already a month late, you might as well ask the doctor for a blood test while you are there as well.

  • Alyx

    Can someone help me! I am experiencing really bad pains like I’m on my period but it ended 3 days ago. I am also experiencing fluid discharge. I had sex 2 days ago but I’m taking contraceptive pill. This has never happened to me before and I don’t know what it means!

    • If you are having a discharge, you should go and visit your doctor to see what is going on.

  • taylor propst

    Okay i need help. My depo shot is due in the next week or so, & im on peroid, so we tried to have unprotected sex & now im having the worst pain in my lower belly and im bleeding really really bad. & usually around my shot date i do not bleed this long & heavy! Ahhhh somebody help !

    • If you are bleeding very heavily, you should go and see your doctor to make sure everything is okay.

  • Natasha

    Hello there . First time on site just wondering if anyone has had or heard of my current issues. If normal this will bring me some comfort. I am a 29 year old healthy young active women , current weight about 105ish. I have had the same partner for 10 years few years ago was rushed in for emergency surgery to have right fallopian tube removed at the time was told the left tube was so blocked i could never conceive on my own . Absolutely devastated and depressed stayed in bed for a week . follow up appt was told not as bad as original thought. Resently ttc had intercourse on ovulation day pregnancy symptoms right away ovulation date 6/28 breasts sore right away and still are that almost Two weeks ago few other little symptoms such as lower abdominal cramps very mild lasting days Lower back aches flutters in tummy can only sleep with Pillow between my legs and slite dislike of some foods with constipation today full out cramps feels like in going to start period any second. Not due to start for 5 days though?? Any advice and or input would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks for listening to a little confused lady!!

    • Hopefully the symptoms you are experiencing are a good sign! I know the doctors said never conceive on your own but I’m one to not give up hope. If you wait 2 days, you might be able to get an accurate result with a pregnancy test. Actually, First Response might give you a positive if you are pregnant sooner than that.

      • Paige Wesley

        Ive been having lots of cramping i usually cramp when i ovulate but this has been far far worse,its been about two and a half weeks since my last period.I’ve had more discharge than usual.Suggestions? Help?

    • Jayna

      It sounds like you are pregnant to me. Fingers crossed!

  • Nicole

    Hello I have a question I had my last pperiod around June 10, 2015 and 2 weeks after I started having mild cramps. The cramp started to get mild and less frequent. Its now July 9 and Im still having light cramps and some lower back pain but no period, what could this mean for me?

  • Ph

    Need a boy
    Of Advice me and my long term bf
    Have had sex a few times few weeks ago and then had my period straight after sex which I assume triggerd it
    An was very heavy sorry tmi but been few weeks now and my belly
    Feels bloated and my boobs have got bigger and had cramps for about 3 days straight and now I had a little bit
    Of blood pink and stopped im a bit
    Confused as had period but that was straight after the weekend when we did have sex
    A few times the period started we have had a misscarriege befor but then I had no symptoms at all accept missint period . Just wondering
    If this has happens to anyone

  • Paige Wesley

    Ive been having some cramping i usually cramp when i ovulate but this has been off and on longer than usual,I’ve also had Alittle bit of clear discharge.Help? Suggestions????

  • Micaela

    Okay I don’t really know where to start hope someone can give me some answers. I’m on a birth control pill(yaz) but my boyfriend and I often don’t use any other contraceptive. Just before the 18th of June I have had constant mild cramping with spikes of severe cramps during the day. Other symptoms I’ve been having are being extremely tired, nauseous, lower back pain, a lot of discharge(have to even change my underwear some days), headaches, bloated I gained a good 15lbs(145lbs) which is extremely odd for me(hadn’t changed workouts but ate a little more), which could be a reasons for my breast growth and soreness. BUT NO MISSED PERIOD and NEGATIVE PREGNANCY TESTS. Both periods during this time have been a few days late and shorter but when I went to the OBGYN and she said thats normal and that everything looks good. Have a pelvic ultrasound for friday hopefully that will give me some answers. Has anybody else had this or know what might be happening?

  • Lauren

    I had a normal period or so I though last month. After I had cramping, back aches, head aches, nausea and some breasts soreness. I however never had all the symptoms at the same time. I am not due for my period for a few days but am already having breasts soreness and cramps. I am a 26 year old lady and was wondering if this is just part of getting older, as my pms symptoms have gotten worse the older I get, or if these are signs I am pregnant. Any simular experiences out there or advise?

    • Summer

      All of those sound like signs of pregnancy

  • Elizabeth

    Im a 17 year old who is very confused as to why my cramps continued, even after i stopped my period. I’ve never had sex and im not taking a pill to control when i have my period. I dont understand why this is happening.

  • melissa

    Ok since my period the first time after I had my son in February I spot and cramp the entire time until my next cycle. What does that mean??

  • Mrs S

    I have been having dull, constant cramps with backache from the time I ovulate until my period. I actually feel so much better once I start because I’m miserable between periods. My cycles have always been every 28 days, not really heavy and usually last 5 days. This has been going on for years, the only improvement was after both my sons were born. The pain went away for about a year after each of them was born, only to return after that.

    I’ve been told by 3 doctors it may be endometriosis but the only confirmation would be to have a laparoscopic procedure. It took awhile to conceive both my children. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • k.b.

      I can’t really tell you other than that’s kind of what I’m experiencing. We’ve been trying for 8 months to conceive our second child; over the last 4 months the cramping between periods had become more frequent. As of late, I’ve been fatigued and now get a sort of cold sensation going through my lower abdomen. I wish it meant I was pregnant 🙁

      • Casey Flowers

        I think you guys need moe of an alkaline lifestyle not an acidic….

    • Casey Flowers

      If you do have endometriosis then the doctors will tell you some bs like you have to have a hysterectomy but YOU DON’T!! I cured myself….this may be hard for you but at the rate of pain I was in EVERY SINGLE MONTH FOR 9 YRS….honey you gone have to stop EATING MEAT FOR AT LEAST 1 YR….Its been 2 yrs and I’m on TOP OF THE WORLD….not a single bit of pain!! Good Luck!!

  • Tori Adrianna

    I have been having some bad period like pain in my abdomen. I only had my periods two weeks ago. My breasts aren’t sore. Any advice?

  • Lauren

    I had an IUD (Skyla) inserted approximately six months ago and I was told I would experience more cramping than usual, but that it would diminish over time. I have been experiencing cramping between periods, usually about two weeks before my period for the last 4 months. I think I’d know if I was pregnant at 4 months – I haven’t taken a test, but I’ve had a period for the last 4 months, and it’s always been on time. Is the cramping a result of the IUD?

    • Rachel

      I’m experiencing the same thing. Anyone have any tips?

  • lail

    I had sex january 1st and 2nd and my period came on january 28th and I havent had sex since the 1st. It feb now and a week after i ovulated from my period in Jan, I had brown discharge for a few days and then it went back to normal. It is feb 8th and my period is due on the 15th and im experiencing cramps..can someone explain this

  • Ashanti Monique

    Just so you ladies know, I had bad cramping and (tmi alert) slippery unscented discharge continuously in the middle of a cycle. I thought I was pregnant, but turns out I actually had BV which can cause all of those symptoms!! BV is usually characterized by a fishy, foul odor, but even my doctor was surprised I had it because I did not smell!! Anyway, point is that if the cramping or any PMS/pregnancy symptoms occur in between cycles and it seems abnormal to you, take a pregnancy test AND follow up with your PCP (doctor) regardless of the results!! 🙂

  • Keona NealK

    Last month my period was almost 3 weeks late. Right now I am suppose to be ovulating. However, I am having cramps as though I am coming on my period along with lower back pain. My period isn’t due for 2 weeks.

  • CK

    My periods usually come regularly, 28-day cycle. It’s been more or less regular for the past 10 years, but last month, my period came 10 days early (on the 19th day of my cycle), I wrote it off as an anomaly because it had never happened before. I am currently on my 18th day of this month and experienced some cramps. These cramps feel like those I get a day before I get my period, so I’m guessing my period will come tomorrow (19th day of cycle). Can anyone tell me why my period cycles suddenly shortened so much, and if anything is wrong? What could be causing early onset of my period and is there cause for worry? Help will be much appreciated! Thank you!

  • Mackenzie Gassien

    Last few months by periods been early and only around four days long I get my period around the 8th-10th. It’s been weird having unusual cramps. My period still isn’t for a few weeks but iv been having like powerful cramps similar to what I get on my period but it’s to the side a little rather then just above my crotch.. Just wanted to know if ppl have experienced this. And I’m ruling out pregnancy..

    • Kate

      Do you have a history of ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids? If home pregnacy tests have been negative, it is possible you could have something like that, or it could be ovulation pain if it’s occurring mid-cycle. Either way, severe pain or cramps that are more painful than what is normal for you, warrants a call to your health care provider. Feel better =), and please know this is not meant to scare you! I just have a tendency to be overly cautious and worrisome lol.

  • Centiie

    Normally whe I get my period I don’t get alot of cramp but right now I’m having cramp and back ache why is that, the cramps are painfull

  • Lucy

    Hi iv just had a period for 6weeks non stop. I have just finished today I took 2 pregnancy tests last week and they both came back negative. The last 3 days I have had like stitch/cramps in my belly. What could it be?

  • Lauren

    So I just got off my period about a week ago and I’m on the pill. I also have had BV in the past that was cured. Well after my period that was a 7 day one when it is normally 5. I come out and I’m all itchy my urine is cloudy and my discharge is really thick. It points back to the signs of BV again. I really hope I don’t have it again. Is there anyone that can help me?

  • A

    Hey so i got an iud im 19 and just had my period 2 weeks ago but now i think its back ? Im bleeding hevy and latly ive been having bad cramps that im crying and i can stand pain .. I dont have a family doctor or anything , i go to walk inns ! Help ! Please im so scared !

  • Ashley Glenn

    Hello I’m just curious to know. Me and my partner had sex on the 8th of this month this passing Monday 3 times. And we had sex again on Thursday 2 times. And each time he came inside of me right before my cycle actually started on the 12th of this months. I only been on for two days now. I’m wondering is it a possibility that I may be pregnant?