Your period has ended, but the pain still persists. For some women, they can have cramping 2 weeks after period blood has stopped. Menstrual cramps after a period are not fun, but they usually aren’t a reason for concern.
Table of Contents
- Why Am I Cramping after My Period?
- Pregnancy vs Period Cramps
- Cramps During Pregnancy
- Cramping During Your Period
- 4 Ways to Ease Cramps
- When to See a Doctor?
Why Am I Cramping after My Period?
There are several causes for cramps after your period. Many of them are natural, and may be due to increased sensitivity.
Some women may or may not know when they are ovulating, but it’s a normal part of most regular menstrual cycles. Cramps while ovulating will often be a dull pain and will only be noticeable on one side of the abdomen.
This pain may come and go and might feel very sharp at times. Ovulation cramps can last anywhere from just a couple of minutes to a few days. It’s also common to have vaginal discharge or bleeding during this time.
Endometriosis is a very painful condition that can cause constant abdominal discomfort and cramps. It occurs when your uterine tissue is growing on the outside of the uterus. Pain from endometriosis can occur any time before, during and after your period.
Cramping and discomfort may also be present during and/or after intercourse, bowel movements, or urination. People with endometriosis may experience:
- Very heavy menstruation
- Painful ovulation
- Lower back and abdominal pain
This causes the walls of the uterus to become thick and may lead to heavy, clotted bleeding as well as prolonged and increased cramping. A doctor would be able to diagnose Adenomyosis and might prescribe medication, or, in worse cases, hysterectomy.
Ectopic pregnancy happens when an embryo or fertilized egg attaches to an area outside of the uterus. While this type of pregnancy begins like a normal pregnancy, severe pain and cramping may occur.
Along with pain, a woman experiencing an ectopic pregnancy may also have shoulder pain, lightheadedness and heavy bleeding. Not only that, but it’s also possible for a fallopian tube to rupture. An ectopic pregnancy needs to be treated as a medical emergency.
It’s possible for the uterus to develop growths. These fibroids are noncancerous and vary in size and location. The size, location and how many of these fibroids have grown will influence how severe the symptoms may be. Besides painful cramping, symptoms also include:
- Irregular bleeding
- Leg and back pain
- Difficulty urinating
- Prolonged or heavy menstruation
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (or PID) is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that travels from the vagina to other reproductive organs (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes). Along with cramping, PID can cause many symptoms, including:
- Abnormal or heavy discharge
- Flu-like symptoms
- Difficulty urinating
- Irregular bleeding
- Bleeding and discomfort during sex
Birth Control Devices
Aside from hormonal changes caused by birth control, intrauterine birth control devices can also cause cramps and discomfort. These are the small, plastic devices that your doctor might insert. This is common especially within the first few months after the device has been inserted.
Because these types of cramps caused by birth control devices have nothing to do with hormones, they may occur anytime between periods. When it occurs, know that it’s just your uterus adjusting to the foreign object.
Spotting and Cramping After Period
While there are dozens of reasons why cramps are preset, spotting and cramping usually occurs for the following reasons:
- Uterine Incapacity: A woman’s uterus is meant to expel all of the blood from a period by the time a woman’s period ends. When blood is left in the body, it still needed to be expelled, which can cause spotting and cramping in some cases.
- Hormonal Imbalance: When a woman’s hormones are out of balance, her body will change at a rapid pace. One of the signs of a hormonal imbalance is cramping or irregular periods.
- Birth Control: Many women that are taking birth control will notice spotting or bleeding after her period has ended. This is caused, again, by hormonal changes caused by the birth control itself.
- Uterine Cysts: Cysts can form inside of the uterus and will cause post-menstrual bleeding and cramping.
- Disease: Major health issues, such as cancer or thyroid issues, can cause the body’s natural cycle to fluctuate dramatically. Ultimately, this can cause abdominal pain after your period or bad cramps after your period.
- Implantation: Women that are trying to get pregnant may have had implantation occur. When this occurs, the uterine lining may shed and cause some bleeding that is light and lasts 1 – 2 days at most. This may be accompanied by stomach cramps or a sudden sharp pain that goes away quickly.
Pelvic Pain after Period
Pelvic pain is very hard to pinpoint because it can happen for a variety of reasons. When you have pelvic pain, it may be caused by the following:
- Dyspareunia: Occurring in 2 out of 3 women. Pains are felt deep inside of the body and can be mild to severe. Physical and emotional causes are to blame, and pain is often felt most during intercourse.
- Dysmenorrhea: Pain that is felt when your menstrual cycle begins and lasts longer than cramping. This occurs for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Uterine fibroids
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Adenomyosis: Occurs due to the uterus lining extending into the wall of the uterus itself. Menstrual cramps, bloating and blood, in rare cases, can be caused. Medication and surgery are two treatment options for adenonmyosis.
- Ovulation Pain: Mild pain to a severe pain, ovulation pain normally occurs every month. The severity of the pain varies from one woman to the next.
Cramping 1 Week (2 Weeks) after Period
Many women are concerned they’re pregnant if they have cramps at the end of a period or cramping a week afterward. This is a very, very rare occurrence. First and foremost, immediately after a period, a woman will not be ovulating under normal conditions, meaning that her body is not physically able to get pregnant just yet.
Even if pregnancy is in the process of occurring, the process of implantation would not have occurred this quickly.
Ultimately, sperm may be in the body a nd making its way to the female’s egg, but there is no way that pregnancy could have occurred yet. If it has, the fertilized egg would not have made its way to the uterine wall just yet, so it’s not going to be associated with pregnancy.
Stomach cramps after your period could be your body simply readjusting out of your cycle.
Following your period, there is a good chance that irregularity is occurring where the body is ovulating too quickly. This would allow pregnancy to occur immediately after a period. A common misconception is that women cannot become pregnant on their period, but they can – it’s just very rare.
In most cases, it’s recommended that a woman allow a day or two to pass to see if the pain still exists.
In the event that the pain persists or worsens, it is recommended that you consult with an OBGYN to have a thorough checkup.
Pregnancy vs Period Cramps
Cramps can occur during both pregnancy and menstruation. However, the feeling, location and timing of the cramps will be quite different. It’s important for you to be able to identify which might be happening and whether they’re indicating something serious.
There are a few distinctions between pregnancy cramps and period cramps.
It’s common to experience cramps during the early stages of pregnancy. Not only just because of implantation, but the anatomy of your body is changing and preparing for the baby to start forming and growing.
These types of cramps are typically a bit different than period cramps because they are:
- Can be felt lower in the abdomen than usual
- Can be felt on both sides
Some women might even feel random sharp pains in the lower abdomen further into the pregnancy. You shouldn’t be too alarmed if this happens though, because this is just another instance of the muscles in the pelvis stretching and getting ready for the baby.
However, there are instances of cramping during pregnancy that should be cause for concern. Pain and cramps could be an indication of something more serious if:
- Cramps become severely painful
- Cramps are recurring and consistent
- Cramps are accompanied by bleeding
Regular cramping during your period typically occurs during 24 to 48 hours before the bleeding begins. However, this cramping should decrease as your period goes on. Cramps related to regular periods are often described as:
- Dull, aching pains
- Radiating pain in the thighs and lower back
- Throbbing, sharp, tightening pains in the lower abdominal area ranging from mild to intense
It’s also common to experience diarrhea and an upset stomach. Having said that, different people won’t experience cramps and period symptoms the same way. Some women may experience them more frequently at different times, or even in different areas of their body.
The severity, timing and location of cramps can depend on a number of factors:
- Amount of emotional stress
- Hitting puberty at a young age
- Irregular periods and bleeding
- Giving/never giving birth
4 Ways to Ease Cramps
- Many doctors recommend an over-the-counter NSAID or aspirin to help dull a woman’s cramps. This is the first course of action and will work in most post-menstrual cramping situations.
- Placing a heating pad on the cramping area is another option.
- Heat will allow the muscles to relax and will speed up the healing process if an injury has occurred. Icing is not recommended in most cases.
- Stretches of the pelvic region may alleviate pain, or trying to sleep in a different position, such as on your stomach, may provide temporary relief.
When to See a Doctor?
While cramps are common during the menstrual cycle, it’s important to seek the care of a doctor if cramps persist or are severe. There are many conditions like the ones stated above that can be helped and some may even be dangerous if gone untreated.
You should seek medical help if the cramps are accompanied by other symptoms such as fevers, dizziness or lightheadedness, or blood in the stool. A doctor might want to perform an ultrasound or pelvic exam to see what the issue is.
Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe medication, lifestyle changes, an in-office procedure, or even surgery. It’s important to have an open communication with your doctor during regular visits as well. Tell them about what you typically experience during your menstrual cycle if you think things might be irregular.
It’s important to be mindful and aware of what’s normal for your body before, during and after your period. That way, you’ll notice immediately when something is irregular. However, cramps and pains here and there are typically normal.
If the pain is severe and consistent, it may be a symptom of something more. If you’re experiencing severe pain and cramping as well as fevers and heavy bleeding, seek emergency medical help right away.
Comment below if you have any other concerns. A group of experts right here are ready to help you out!