Many women experience abdominal cramping before or during their menstrual cycle. Yet, it’s also possible to have post-period cramps.
Painful cramping after your period is known as secondary dysmenorrhea. It’s more common during adulthood.
These cramps aren’t usually serious. However, it’s important that you monitor them, especially if they last long. Post-period cramps may be a symptom of an underlying condition.
Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of secondary dysmenorrhea.
What Causes It?
Sometimes cramping after your period isn’t serious. But if you have persistent pain from cramping that lasts longer than your menstrual cycle, it could be a sign that you have an underlying condition.
Here are possible causes for cramping after your period:
Endometriosis is a condition that happens when the uterus cell lining grows on the outside. This can cause painful cramping before, during, and after your period.
Cramping may be accompanied by inflammation and pelvic pain. The pain may be severe, and can happen during or after sex or during bowel movements or urination. This ongoing pain may be felt in your lower back.
Adenomyosis is a condition caused by abnormal tissue growth. Instead of forming in the uterine lining, tissue grows in the muscular wall of the uterus.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is caused by bacteria that infect the female reproductive organs. These bacteria can spread from your vagina to your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.
Since PID is often caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), any sexual partners will need to be examined and treated for any STIs to prevent reinfection.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that form on the uterus. Women with fibroids often don’t have any symptoms.
Cysts that form inside the ovaries can cause post-period bleeding and cramping, too. Most ovarian cysts disappear naturally without any treatment. However, larger cysts may cause pelvic pain in the lower abdomen.
Your stomach may also feel full, heavy, or bloated. See a doctor immediately if you have any sudden and severe abdominal or pelvic pain, fever, or vomiting.
Cervical stenosis occurs when the cervix has a small or narrow opening. This may hinder menstrual flow and can cause painful pressure in the uterus.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself somewhere outside the uterus.
If you become pregnant, your uterine lining may shed and cause light spotting. This is known as implantation bleeding. It usually occurs 7 to 14 days after conception.
Uterine cramping may also occur, especially in the first part of your pregnancy.
Take a home pregnancy test to confirm that you’re pregnant.
Ovulation Cramps (Mittelschmerz)
Mittelschmerz is lower abdominal pain on one side that’s caused by ovulation. It may be short-lived or last up to two days. You may feel a dull, cramp-like sensation on one side. The pain may come on suddenly and feel very sharp.
You may also experience vaginal discharge or light bleeding.