Types Of Period Cramps That Could Signal A Serious Problem
Cramps suck. But theyre nothing if not consistent. Thats why it can be so alarming when your cramps suddenly feel different. Maybe what was once tolerably painful is now incapacitating. Or the stabby feeling youre used to continues even after your flow is over.
Or youre bleeding more way more. Whatever the shift is, the fact that something has changed is a red flag you shouldnt ignore, says Dr Alyssa Dweck, gynae in Mount Kisco, New York and author of V Is for Vagina. If you notice any kind of change, dont blow it off. Let our guide give you insight into what your cramps are trying to tell you.
Agonising cramps and heavy flow
You could have: uterine fibroids. These benign growths stem from inside or outside the muscular uterine wall. What causes them is unclear, but fibroids are super common, especially in women in their thirties and forties. The actual pain you feel, which Dweck describes as off the charts, can be triggered by inflammation or simply the fibroid itself pressing against your uterus.
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Low-grade constant pain
Read more: Why are some periods worse than others?
Sharp pain on one side
You could have: an ovarian torsion. An ovarian torsion happens when something causes your ovary to twist, choking off its own blood flow, says Dweck. Its a super intense, knock-your-socks-off kind of pain and a real medical emergency, she says, that could result in loss of function in that ovary.
Types Of Ovarian Cyst
The 2 main types of ovarian cyst are:
- functional ovarian cysts cysts that develop as part of the menstrual cycle and are usually harmless and short-lived these are the most common type
- pathological ovarian cysts cysts that form as a result of abnormal cell growth these are much less common
Ovarian cysts can sometimes also be caused by an underlying condition, such as endometriosis.
The vast majority of ovarian cysts are non-cancerous , although a small number are cancerous .
Cancerous cysts are more common if you have been through the menopause.
When To See Your Doctor
If your cramps are severe, life-disrupting, or persistent, see your doctor. You should also make an appointment if:
- You just started getting cramps for the first time in your life, or theyve become more severe.
- Youre experiencing other symptoms, like heavy bleeding, weight loss, or dizziness.
During the exam, your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. Your doctor will also check your reproductive organs. You may get imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to find out if a problem with your ovaries is causing your cramps.
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You Constantly Feel The Urge To Go To The Bathroom
If you constantly feel like you need to use the bathroom, it may be that a large ovarian cyst is pushing on your bladder and applying constant pressure to that organ. An easy way to detect if this is the case for you is to monitor how many times you are using the bathroom throughout the day and note what youre doing on each trip. If you often get to the bathroom and find you dont have the urge to urinate, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Bladder Pain & Urinary Tract Infections
Affecting more than 50% of all women during their lifetime, another common cause of pelvic pain are UTIs. The pain typically experienced with a UTI occurs when passing urine a burning sensation and/or lower abdominal pain.
Although UTIs are common, if left untreated they can develop into more serious kidney infections. If your symptoms persist for more than 24 hours and include fever, chills, back pain, nausea or vomiting, you should see your doctor immediately.
The other common type of bladder pain is called interstitial cystitis . This type of pain is different from a UTI in that there is irritation, but no infection.
Painful bladder syndrome is common in women with endometriosis.
Dr Manwaring advises you to see your GP if you have troublesome bladder symptoms that are persistent or frequent, including:
- needing to empty your bladder more than 8-10 times during the day
- needing to empty your bladder more than once a night
- pain with full bladder, which improves with emptying
- pain with intercourse
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What Causes Ovary Pain During Menopause
Perimenopause is a period of up to about a year when your periods will start to taper off. Youll still have some cramps and bleeding. This signifies that your periods arent quite over with. Complicating the matter is the fluctuations of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This can add to your pain and discomfort. Youll likely experience other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and mood swings or irritability.
There are several conditions that can cause pain in the ovaries during or after menopause. Endometriosis is a condition that causes tissue thats normally only found in the uterus to grow in your ovaries or pelvis. Each time you get a period this tissue will swell and cause pain. While most women stop after menopausal symptoms appear, some women report continuing to have symptoms of endometriosis. If you take hormone therapy, estrogen will make the symptoms worse.
Cancer of the uterus or ovary can cause abdominal pain, but this will also be accompanied by other symptoms like unexplained weight loss, abdominal bloating, vaginal bleeding, and fatigue.
Uterine fibroid can also be a source of abdominal pain. These growths, usually non-cancerous form in the wall of the uterus. Most fibroid begin earlier in life, but it is possible for them to form in women during their 50s. Although fibroid usually stop growing or shrink, many women report problems after their periods have stopped.
What Is An Ovarian Cyst
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can form in the ovaries. Many women experience a cyst on the ovaries at some time during their lives.
Types of Ovarian Cysts:
Functional: Most common that usually doesnt cause symptoms and often go away without treatment.Teratoma/Dermoid Cyst: This cyst contains different types of tissues that make up the body, including hair and skin. It is possible that the cysts have been around since birth and have grown during reproductive years.
Cystadenoma: Formed on the outer surface of the ovary growing very large but typically benign.Endometrioma: Forms because of Endometriosis.
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If You Have Cramping Outside Your Normal Cycle
It might be: an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. According to the American Pregnancy Association, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself somewhere other than the uterus, like the fallopian tube.
Unfortunately, this egg wont be able to develop and the attached tissue may cause severe bleeding. Both an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage may cause cramping with an abnormal amount of bleeding. Masterson says one of the key clues here is whether youre due for your period or not: cramping and bleeding irregularly, outside the usual timing of your cycle, is cause for suspicion.
What to do: First take a pregnancy test, recommends Masterson, if theres any chance you could be pregnant. If its negative, you can rule out a pregnancy-related issue. But if its positive, get to a doctor right awayan ectopic pregnancy cant develop normally and can turn into a life-threatening emergency, she adds.
Warning Signs Of Ovarian Cysts You Should Not Ignore
Ovarian cysts are solid or fluid-filled sacs that form within your ovaries. Many women develop ovarian cysts at some point in their lives. These cysts typically form during ovulation, which is the time during your monthly cycle when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
Ovarian cysts sometimes cause pain and other symptoms, but sometimes they dont cause any symptoms at all. Often cysts form and then go away on their own in a few weeks or in one to three months.
Although most ovarian cysts are benign meaning they are not cancerous in rare cases cysts are a sign of ovarian cancer. For this reason, its always wise to tell your doctor about any symptoms that might suggest the presence of ovarian cysts.
Dr. Susan Crockett and her team of health care providers at Virtuosa GYN recommend calling our office for a checkup if you experience any of the following 10 warning signs of ovarian cysts.
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What To Do If You Experience A Painful Period
If you are having period cramps in your abdomen, its not abnormal. In younger women, especially women who are yet to experience childbirth, pain may be severe.
Talking to your doctor is an easy way out. However, you can try medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, and ketoprofen. These drugs help block the secretion of prostaglandins, thereby, reducing pain.
To work effectively, its encouraged that you start taking these medications at least 2 3 days before your period starts.
What Causes This Change
The cramps you feel during perimenopause are related to your hormone levels. Prostaglandins are hormones released by glands lining your uterus. These hormones direct your uterus to contract during your period. The higher your prostaglandin levels, the worse your cramps will be.
You produce more prostaglandins when your estrogen level is high. Estrogen levels often rise during perimenopause.
If your cramps are intense enough to bother you or affect your daily life, there are a number of things you can do to get relief. Here are some suggestions you can try.
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Where Is Ovary Pain Felt
Ovaries are a crucial part of your reproductive system. Their main role is the production of hormones, e.g. the estrogen hormone that is responsible for triggering your periods.
In addition, they are also responsible for releasing at least a single egg each month during ovulation for fertilization purposes.
Their irritation can be caused by varying conditions that may vary from tumors to cysts. You are likely to feel ovarian pain in the lower part of your abdominal region.
This is where the organs are located. It will be in the region that is located below the pelvis and the belly button.
If you experience sore ovaries, you should ensure that it is checked out immediately by your gynecologist or obstetrician. As you will see below, the discomfort can be caused by different conditions.
Can Ovulation Pain On Both Side Mean Twins
If you are ovulating, mostly, your body spontaneously picks an ovary to release an egg. However, if you are experiencing pains on both sides during ovulation, it could be due to both ovaries preparing for ovulation.
After the release of an egg from your ovaries, if there is a waiting sperm , you can get pregnant.
Presence of 2 eggs at your fallopian tube means its possible young have a twin pregnancy. Twins will not be identical, but fraternal because your ovaries release two eggs at the same time.
If only a single egg is released, fertilized and then divides into 2, you can expect an identical twin.
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Warning Signs Of Ovarian Cysts Women Should Not Ignore
Ovarian cysts are extremely common, with most women expected to get one or more during their lifetime, and in the majority of cases, they are not cancerous. As most dont cause symptoms, its quite likely that youve had a cyst on an ovary and not even been aware of it.
There are 10 significant warning signs and symptoms ofovarian cysts that you should never ignore when you experience them. They may indicate that a cyst has ruptured, or its a sign that something isnt right with your womb and menstrual cycle.
Ovulation Pain On Both Sides: Causes Treatment
Question: What causes Ovulation pain on both sides? Is it possible to have twins if both right and left ovary release an egg at the same time?
Ovulation is the release of an egg from either the right or left ovaries, and almost entirely, the process is controlled by the rise and fall of both estrogen and progesterone.
During ovulation, most women will have only one of their ovaries release an egg. So, its not unusual if you are experiencing pain on one side of your abdomen.
However, if you are experiencing ovary pain on both sides of the abdomen, its normal you will be scared something is wrong. Heres an email I received from Theresa
I have a 28 days menstrual cycle, and sometimes I do experience pain while ovulating. In fact, a short-lived and sharp pain in my belly and back is how I know Im ovulating.
Surprisingly, this month, after the end of my period, I get this severe pain on both sides of my abdomen. I feel like vomiting, and Im wondering if its pregnancy.
Three weeks ago, I had sexual intercourse with my husband , and I do not have any other signs of pregnancy.
What causes cramps on both sides during ovulation?
Just like Theresa, you will be wondering whats wrong when you suddenly start having stabbing pain on both sides of your tummy while expecting ovulation.
The truth is, its not abnormal and occurs because of simultaneous release of an egg from both your ovaries.
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Can Ovulation Pain Help Predict The Timing Of Ovulation
Statistically, the timing of ovulation pain tracked in Clue seems to be fairly promising as a predictor of ovulation. This doesnât mean you should incorporate it into your fertility awareness method just yetâbut itâs interesting for researchers.
In alignment with previous research that used ultrasounds to determine the day someone ovulated, people in Clue most often tracked ovulation pain on the day just before an estimated ovulation. This may be an additional finding to support one theory of why ovulation pain happensâfollicular growth pressure . But more research is needed to know for sure.
Others track ovulation pain on the same day as their estimated ovulation in Clue, or outside of that window altogether. The timing of ovulation is estimated by luteinizing hormone tests, or retroactively by the date of the start of the next period. Both these methods can be inexact .
This is the largest dataset of recorded ovulation pain to be included in research, ever.
Seeing what aligns with or differs from small-sample studies is a novel and exciting endeavor that will help pave the way for future findings.Thanks to all Clue users who contribute to this research through tracking.