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Having cramps between your periods is unusual, but not unheard of. Regular period cramps happen when your uterus contracts 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?
Common Reasons for Cramping Between Periods
Mittelschmerz – Ovulation Cramping
When your ovaries release an egg, you may experience a cramping feeling, Mittelschmerz. This feeling lasts for only a few hours, but there are cases where it 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
The most common answer for why you are feeling cramps in the middle of your cycle is that you are pregnant. When the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, sometimes cramping can be felt. For most women, implantation cramping is very mild and not noticeable. For other women, they are very like the cramps that happen when their period arrives. Implantation bleeding sometimes happens, but the spotting doesn’t happen for all women.
This is best detected with a pregnancy test. If you get a positive pregnancy test result, be sure to schedule a visit to your doctor to start your pregnancy care.
Other Reasons for Cramps
Endometriosis is a reproductive disease. The uterine lining grows and regenerates outside the uterus. The rogue 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 as it normally would. This may cause other complications like cysts, scarring and infertility. Some of the symptoms can include:
- Painful periods
- Pelvic pain
- Excessive bleeding
Endometriosis can cause pain during bowel movements, during menstruation and between periods. Your doctor may prescribe medication for temporary pain relief. Surgery is currently the only permanent answer. A complete hysterectomy may be recommended if the endometriosis is bad enough.
Urinary Tract Infections
UTI’s can cause cramping. They can also cause other symptoms like a low fever and burning when you urinate. If left untreated, the infection can travel to the bladder creating more serious symptoms. A visit to the doctor for antibiotics will clear up the infection and stop the cramping.
Adhesions are scar tissue that forms between organs and tissues that should not be connected. When the adhesions pull organs in a fashion that’s not typical, pain and cramping can be the result. The scar tissue / adhesions can be a result of previous surgery or an infection. Surgery is the only way to help relieve the pain and cramping that adhesions can cause. Know that the surgery can also increase the risk of more adhesions.
Cramping at times when you do not have your period can be normal or sign that something isn’t right. The cramps may be nothing, as with Mittelschmerz. Or it could be something more serious like endometriosis. Cramping at the time of ovulation or about a week or so later is usually nothing to worry about but if you are having cramps throughout the month, make sure to contact your doctor.