Diagnosing Cramps With No Period
Always call a doctor if you have cramps that wonât go away, whether or not you have your period.
Your doctor will want to know if your pain is sudden or ongoing. The more details you can give, the faster they may be able to diagnose and treat you. Youâll be asked questions about your symptoms and your periods.
Your doctor may do tests or procedures to learn the cause of your cramps. If your doctor suspects it is related to your uterus, or ovaries, common tests are:
Laparoscopy, a type of exploratory surgery to look at the structures inside your pelvic area, including your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Your doctor may refer you to someone who specialize in stomach or intestinal disorders or a urologist if they suspect that cramps are caused by any of those areas .
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Pelvic Pain.”
Glencoe Regional Health Services: “Possible causes of ovarian pain.”
St. Luke’s Health System: “Ruptured Ovarian Cyst.”
Kruszka, P.S. American Family Physician, July 15, 2010.
KidsHealth: “Pregnancy Calendar: Week 4.”
KidsHealth: “Pregnancy Calendar: Week 5.”
WomensHealth.gov: “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”
Center for Young Women’s Health: “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.”
Christiana Care Health System: “Pelvic-Floor Muscle Dysfunction.”
UpToDate: âPatient information: Chronic pelvic pain in women .
UpToDate: Patient information: Irritable bowel syndrome .â
American Cancer Society: âWhat Is Ovarian Cancer?â
When Should I Be Concerned About Cramping During Pregnancy
While cramping can be common, there are some serious causes of abdominal pain during pregnancy:
- Ectopic pregnancy This type of pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can cause painful cramping and is a serious medical condition that must be treated by your doctor.
- Miscarriage Vaginal spotting accompanied by mild or sharp cramping can be a sign of a miscarriage, although some pregnant women who have spotting and cramping can go on to have healthy pregnancies. If you have severe cramping and/or heavy bleeding, contact your doctor immediately.
- Preeclampsia -This is characterized by high blood pressure along with protein in your urine. Severe preeclampsia can cause intense pain in your upper abdomen.
- Preterm labor Increased pressure, abdominal pain, and cramping can be a sign of preterm labor if your cervix begins to dilate before 37 weeks.
- Urinary tract infections Lower abdominal pain and painful urination may be symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
- Placental abruption This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus before the baby is born. This is a life-threatening condition and can be signaled by a painful cramp that does not go away. If this happens, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
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When Should You See A Doctor
If you experience severe or chronic stomach cramps, see a doctor for further evaluation. As a rule of thumb, any symptom that seems unusual and persists for a long time should be addressed.
Make note of any other symptoms youre experiencing, such as indigestion, bloating, and excessive fatigue. You should seek immediate medical treatment if you experience stomach cramps along with:
- pain that suddenly gets worse
- dark, bloody, or tar-like stools
Urgent Advice: Speak To Your Gp As Soon As Possible If:
- you have severe abdominal pain, especially if it’s concentrated in one area
- the pain starts suddenly or unexpectedly
If your GP is closed, phone 111.
Serious causes of sudden severe abdominal pain include:
- appendicitis the swelling of the appendix means your appendix will need to be removed
- a bleeding or perforated stomach ulcer
- acute cholecystitis inflammation of the gallbladder, which may need to be removed
- kidney stones small stones may be passed out in your urine, but larger stones may block the kidney tubes, and you’ll need to go to hospital to have them broken up
- diverticulitis inflammation of the small pouches in the bowel that sometimes requires treatment with antibiotics in hospital
If your GP suspects you have one of these conditions, they may refer you to hospital immediately.
Sudden and severe pain in your abdomen can also sometimes be caused by an infection of the stomach and bowel . It may also be caused by a pulled muscle in your abdomen or by an injury.
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Types Of Abdominal Pain
There are several types of abdominal pain, which are based on how quickly your pain starts and how long it lasts:
- Acute pain starts over a few hours or days and may come with other symptoms.
- Chronic pain lasts longer — from weeks to months or more — and may come and go.
- Progressive pain gets worse over time and often comes with other symptoms.
What Causes Cramps During Pregnancy
Cramping typically occurs when the uterus expands, causing the ligaments and muscles that support it to stretch. It may be more noticeable when you sneeze, cough, or change positions.
During the second trimester, a common cause of cramping is round ligament pain. The round ligament is a muscle that supports the uterus, and when it stretches, you may feel a sharp, stabbing pain, or a dull ache in your lower abdomen.Cramping that is relatively minor and happens every now and then is probably nothing to be worried about. Some additional causes of normal cramping in pregnancy include:
Can Stomachaches Be Prevented
Not all belly pain can be prevented. But to help avoid common types of stomachaches:
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food, and after using the bathroom.
- Don’t overeat, and try not to eat right before going to sleep.
- Drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to keep food moving through your digestive system.
- Avoid foods that have passed their expiration date or or weren’t stored properly.
- If you have a food allergy or intolerance, avoid eating foods that make you sick. If you have a food allergy, always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors, and know when you should use them.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Your specific symptoms, the location of pain and when it occurs will help your provider detect the cause.
LOCATION OF YOUR PAIN
- Where do you feel the pain?
- Is it all over or in one spot?
- Does the pain move into your back, groin, or down your legs?
TYPE AND INTENSITY OF YOUR PAIN
- Is the pain severe, sharp, or cramping?
- Do you have it all the time, or does it come and go?
- Does the pain wake you up at night?
HISTORY OF YOUR PAIN
- Have you had similar pain in the past? How long has each episode lasted?
- When does the pain occur? For example, after meals or during menstruation?
- What makes the pain worse? For example, eating, stress, or lying down?
- What makes the pain better? For example, drinking milk, having a bowel movement, or taking an antacid?
- What medicines are you taking?
OTHER MEDICAL HISTORY
- Have you had a recent injury?
- Are you pregnant?
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Causes Of Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea
Most people occasionally experience abdominal pain and diarrhea for short periods. Dietary changes, consuming too much alcohol, and indigestion may cause these symptoms.
Frequent, constant, or severe abdominal pain and diarrhea may indicate a disease or a more serious medical issue. Diarrhea that gets progressively worse and is bloody can be also be a sign of a more serious issue. Possible causes of abdominal pain and diarrhea include:
Diarrhea and abdominal pain that last for more than a week or that frequently reoccur may be a sign of an intestinal disease or disorder. You should talk to your doctor if youve experienced these symptoms for more than a week or on a reoccurring basis.
The above conditions and disorders can cause swelling of various parts of the digestive tract, such as the stomach and intestines. Inflammation of the digestive system can cause cramps and disrupt normal digestive processes. This usually results in abdominal pain and diarrhea.ADVERTISING
Menstrual Cramps Or Endometriosis
Menstruation can cause inflammation and pain in the abdomen. Bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation can also occur during menstruation, causing abdominal discomfort.
Women who have endometriosis may experience more severe or chronic inflammation and pain. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally grows in the uterus develops in other parts of the body, usually in the pelvic area but sometimes elsewhere.
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How Is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed
As well as asking where the pain is, your doctor will ask you to describe your pain, so notice whether it’s sharp, stabbing, cramping or a dull ache. Also, notice whether the pain is there all the time or if it comes and goes in waves.
Your doctor will also ask if the pain came on suddenly , or whether you have had it for a while . They will also want to know if you have been sick or had diarrhoea .
Depending on what they think is causing your abdominal pain, they may want to do further tests.
Diagnosis Of Abdominal Pain In Adults
If examinations and tests are needed, these may include:
- a rectal exam to check for hidden blood or other problems
- if you are a man, the doctor may check your penis and scrotum
- if you are a woman, the doctor may do a pelvic exam to check for problems in your womb , fallopian tubes and ovaries, and do a pregnancy test
- a blood test to look for infection or bleeding
- other blood tests may look at enzymes in the liver, pancreas and heart to sort out which organ may be involved
- a urine test to look for a urine infection or blood
- an ECG to rule out a heart attack
- other tests, including x-ray, ultrasound or CT scan
- sometimes you may be referred to another doctor to help find the cause of the problem.
- endoscopy is an examination where a flexible tube with a light and video camera at the tip is used to examine some internal organs without the need for surgery. Different names are used depending on which organ is being looked at.
If you do have tests, the doctor will explain the results to you. Some results may take a number of days to come back and these will be sent to your local doctor.
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Why Do I Have Cramps But No Period
Pelvic pain similar to a menstrual period can happen at times when no period is due or can occur because of conditions other than the monthly cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell the exact reason for cramps that feel like a menstrual period.
The following diseases and conditions are examples of situations that can cause pain or cramps when not on your period.
What Causes Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be caused by many conditions. However, the main causes are infection, abnormal growths, inflammation, obstruction , and intestinal disorders.
Infections in the throat, intestines, and blood can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections may also cause changes in digestion, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Cramps associated with menstruation are also a potential source of lower abdominal pain, but these are more commonly known to cause pelvic pain.
Other common causes of abdominal pain include:
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An Inflammatory Bowel Disease
What it is: You get long-term swelling and irritation in different parts of your digestive tract. It happens when something goes haywire in your immune system. It isnât the same as irritable bowel syndrome . Crohn’s can affect any part of your digestive tract . Ulcerative colitis involves only the large intestine .
What the cramps feel like: It depends on the type of IBD you have. With Crohn’s, youâll feel cramps and pain in the right lower or middle parts of your belly. They can be mild to severe. If you have ulcerative colitis, the cramps will be on the lower left side of your stomach.
Other symptoms: Which ones you have depend on the specific type of IBD. They include:
You Might Have A Food Intolerance
If you find that your cramps keep happening after you eat certain things, you might have an intolerance to a specific food substance. Common culprits of intolerances are foods that are designated as fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols , which is a fancy designation for poorly-digested carbohydrates, Dr. Ahuja says. Examples include fruits like apples and pears, veggies like cauliflower and lentils, and dairy products. In fact, trouble processing lactose is the most common type of food intolerance, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
In addition to getting abdominal pain when you eat that particular food, you might also deal with symptoms like nausea, bloating, gas, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and more, the Cleveland Clinic says. And keep in mind that different people can be intolerant to the same food to different extents. For example, Dr. Krishnareddy explains, someone who is mildly lactose intolerant may be able to digest cheese and yogurt but not a milky latte, whereas someone with a severe intolerance may not be able to digest any form of dairy very well.
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Why Does Your Stomach Hurt
Stomach cramps can range from mild achiness to severe, stabbing pain.
Common causes of stomach cramps include eating foods that can irritate your stomach, constipation, food poisoning, or a stomach infection. People who have anxiety may also develop stomach cramps.
Pregnant people may experience stomach cramps as the fetus grows. Menstrual cramps are also very common, though they actually take place in the uterus.
Sometimes stomach cramps are constant. In this case, a chronic digestive illness, such as irritable bowel disease, may be the cause.
Most stomach cramps go away on their own within a few hours or a couple of days. Changing what you eat and taking over-the-counter medication can help with symptoms while you recover.
Some stomach cramps may require medical attention. You should be concerned about stomach cramps if they last for a week or longer or are so severe that you cant function, or you also have symptoms like fever or blood in your vomit or stool.
Meaning Of Nausea And Stomach Cramps
Both nausea and stomach cramps are symptoms. It occurs with several different diseases. Nausea is a sensation of wanting to vomit although a person may not always vomit even with intense nausea. Sometimes vague digestive symptoms are also described as nausea. Stomach cramps is a muscular type of pain that is felt in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen, including under pain under the left ribcage. However, many people refer to the entire abdomen as the stomach so stomach cramps could therefore refer to abdominal cramps.
A problem in the upper digestive tract usually gives rise to nausea and stomach cramps. However, it is not uncommon for disorders or diseases in other organs within the area of the stomach to also cause similar symptoms. Apart from diseases of the digestive or abdominal organs, both nausea and stomach cramps may also occur with anxiety and therefore be seen with related mental health disorders. Sometimes severe hunger can also cause nausea and stomach cramps, that are usually referred to as hunger pangs.
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Why Do Runners Poop Themselves
For endurance athletes, youre shunting blood away from the intestines and toward the muscles. The lack of blood flow to the intestinal system can cause a lot of disruptions to normal function. The bottom line is it causes irritation to the intestinal system. That can result in evacuation of bowel movements.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number if you:
- Are currently being treated for cancer
- Are unable to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Have chest, neck, or shoulder pain
- Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Have pain in, or between, your shoulder blades with nausea
- Have tenderness in your belly, or your belly is rigid and hard to the touch
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Had a recent injury to your abdomen
- Have difficulty breathing
- Abdominal discomfort that lasts 1 week or longer
- Abdominal pain that does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, or becomes more severe and frequent and occurs with nausea and vomiting
- Bloating that persists for more than 2 days
- Burning sensation when you urinate or frequent urination
- Diarrhea for more than 5 days
- Fever, over 100°F for adults or 100.4°F for children, with pain
- Prolonged poor appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
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