What Are the Reasons for Having Cramps After a Period?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
According to popular legend, Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned.   more...

April 18 ,  1775 :  Paul Revere went on his famous nighttime ride.  more...

Menstrual cramps that occur after a period ends or in women who have already gone through menopause can be caused by a number of medical conditions related to the reproductive organs, including endometriosis, mittelschmerz, and recent insertion of an intrauterine device. Usually, menstrual cramps present with pain in the abdomen and pelvis. This pain can also radiate down the lower back and even into the thighs. Menstrual cramps are a common side effect of menstruation and generally show up on the day a woman starts her period and can last for just a few days or until her menstrual cycle ends. In spite of this, however, even women who normally have consistent cycles may experience an atypical period on occasion, resulting in unexpected or unexplained cramps after a period.

The key to understanding the reasons for having cramps after a period is paying attention to the specific location where the pain is occurring and looking at when the cramps occur. Abdominal cramps, for instance, showing up after a period may be the result of endometriosis, a condition involving the abnormal growth of uterine tissue into areas outside of the uterus such as the ovaries. Although this tissue is not able to exit the body like typical uterine tissue, it continues to behave in a similar fashion by breaking down and bleeding during the menstrual cycle. The tissue then heals over and in time can lead to adhesions that irritate or damage nearby organs.


One of the more likely causes of cramps after a period, however, is mittelschmerz, a condition where women experience pelvic pain and cramps related to ovulation or the release of an egg from the ovaries. This pain caused by the mittelschmerz is distinctive from typical menstrual cramps by the fact that the pain occurs about two weeks from the time that the last period has ended, the time when ovulation normally begins. Symptoms of the condition can range from sharp pulsing like pain to dull achy sensations, generally occurring only on one side of the body. During some months, however, this pain may switch sides.

Cramping menstrual-like pain could also be the result of a recent intrauterine device (IUD) insertion. These small flexible plastic devices are a form of birth control inserted directly into the uterus that prevents sperm from being able to reach an egg. Once the procedure is done, some women may experience mild cramps for a few months until the uterus fully adjusts to the foreign presence.

In some cases, pain between periods is not serious, and home care can bring about relief. Common home treatments include rest, use of a heating pad, and over-the-counter pain remedies. As there are so many possible causes of cramps after a period, however, unexplained and reoccurring pain will generally require an accurate diagnosis by visiting a health care provider. The symptoms of endometriosis, for example, can include constant pelvic cramps. For many women with the condition, however, the pain is more noticeable during their periods and may occur with disabling cramps and severe bloating.

Some additional possible causes of cramps after a period has ended include ovarian cysts and fibroids. If these cramps occur with high fevers, blood in the stool, or dizziness, women will usually need to seek emergency medical attention. A pelvic exam, imaging tests, and a review of the patient’s symptoms may be needed by the doctor to figure out the cause of the pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


Discuss this Article

Post 4

@Anon332329: I have the same issue and ovarian cysts were found when they did a CAT scan. They said normally you don't notice when they rupture but if you had a large one, that's when you'll feel it. I recommend going to the hospital to get checked out thoroughly. I have to go often because you never know.

Post 3

My wife is 42 and she is having her period every two months. Is this normal?

Post 2

You should have your hormone levels tested ASAP. I had the same problem as you and they always just did ultrasounds and said nothing was wrong and sent me on my way. Then one doctors tested my hormone levels and they are extremely high and they are now finding many new problems. Never take a first answer from a doctor. We all know our bodies better than any doctor.

Post 1

This is the best article I have read relating to my problem.(I could not understand the reason for my problem).

I have been facing the same problem for my last seven or eight cycles. On the eighth or ninth day of the cycle, these cramps start hurting in my lower abdomen, the lower back, my rectum. My whole system hurts like something is shedding inside. This is accompanied by constipation. The pain does not decrease, even with heat pads and meftal spas. The ultrasound doesn't show anything. Even two gynaecologists could not understand the reason for all this.

Can you help me? I am worried and do not know what to do.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?