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?

Pregnancy

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.

Mittelschmerz

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

Endometriosis

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.