“Cramp” is a word that no person who menstruates likes to hear. Let alone to feel. But cramps are, unfortunately, a part of life for many, both before and during the period. Normally, some days before your period starts, you can feel some cramping, sometimes only when your period starts. And for many, the end of the period means end of cramps. What about cramps after period?
What conditions can cause cramps after period?
Getting cramps after periods is known as secondary dysmenorrhea. These are not necessarily a bad sign, but unfortunately can be indication of something more serious. These are some potential causes:
Endometriosis is a painful condition where cells that mimic that of the endometrium grow in the organs around your uterus. Learn all about endometriosis and how to live with it.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PIV is a serious complication of untreated STD’s and can develop into further problems like infertility. It is characterised by cramp-like pain, fever, vaginal bleeding, and painful urination.
Cysts in the ovaries can cause bleeding and cramps after periods, too. Good news is ovarian cysts often go away by themselves and, if not, can be treated with medication or surgery. You might also feel some bloating, but if you get sudden fever, vomiting and severe pain, contact your doctor.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths on the walls of the uterus. It is quite common after 50 but can happen in other ages. It is also common for people with uterine fibroids to not experience any symptoms or pain, but it can cause heavy bleeding, strong pain, and lengthy periods. Cramps after periods is a common symptom of uterine fibroids.
Sometimes, during implantation, a light bleeding can occur, and many women mistake this for a period. And during the first months of pregnancy, some uterine cramping may also occur, meaning it might seem that you are experiencing cramps after your period, but in reality, it can be due to implantation. Other cause of cramping can be an ectopic pregnancy, which is what happens when implantation occurs outside the uterus. It can cause bleeding and pelvic pain, which in turn can be mistaken by cramps after a period.
Adenomyosis can be mistaken for endometriosis. It happens when endometrial tissue grows in the muscles of the uterus, instead of in the uterine lining. The walls of the uterus get thicker and there might be some heavy bleeding and cramps after your period. Adenomyosis is treated with medication or, in some extreme cases, with surgery.
Stenosis of the cervix means that the opening in the cervix is narrower than is typical. Although not quite common, some women suffer from this condition, which can lead to some pelvic pain due to the build-up of period blood.
These conditions, above, all require medical attention and possibly treatment, so if you suspect something is wrong, you should seek help now. On the other hand, there are two other situations that can cause cramps after your period and are not immediately dangerous:
Uterine incapacity happens when your uterus has difficulty expelling all the blood during your periods. So, the uterus contracts to remove this blood and it can cause some cramps after periods.
Ovulation can cause cramps in some women. Since ovulation occurs 14 days (on average) after your period starts, some of the aches you might feel during this phase can be perceived as cramps after the period itself. Ovulation should not be overly painful, but some people are more sensitive than others.
How can you be more comfortable?
If you experience cramps after your period caused by a condition like endometriosis or PIV, you should seek medical attention and ask there for specific advice. However, if your cramps are due to ovulation or secondary dysmenorrhea that does not have a serious complication, there are ways to make yourself more comfortable.
Exercise. Physical activity is always good for your health and exercising during your period can also help with cramps and with other symptoms associated with PMS, including the psychological and emotional ones.
Have an orgasm. By yourself or with a partner, orgasms can help reduce aches and cramps. The perfect mix of oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin that are released during an orgasm will make you feel better, physically, and mentally.
Hot pads. Apply hot pads on your tummy or lower back – where it hurts – and the heat will help the muscles in your uterus and around it to relax, and also help increase blood flow.
Hot bath. A hot bath, like the pads, can do wonders for cramps after your period. With the added benefit that it will help your whole body relax, not just your uterus.
Hormonal birth-control. You should talk to your doctor about this one, but many hormonal birth control methods ease cramps and make periods lighter and shorter; sometimes it even stops completely. Take a look at what happens in your body while on birth control.
Eat right. Eating well can never harm and making sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals can really help reduce cramps after period. For instance, magnesium. Learn what to eat during your periods.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a terrific way to ensure that your whole body works well, and will contribute to reduce bloating, which normally adds to the pain of the cramps.
- Over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen or paracetamol. However, consult with your GP or pharmacist before to make sure you do not overdo it.
- Home remedies. If you prefer to keep it the more natural possible, take a look at some home remedies to help reduce period cramps.
Take good care. Of your vagina. Of yourself. Of our planet.