15 Causes for Menstrual Cramps But No Period

15 Causes for Menstrual Cramps But No Period

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Cramps and pelvic pain are usually considered a sign of the onset of the menstrual period. Prostaglandin, a lipid hormone-like compound, causes the uterus muscles to contract to expel the unfertilised egg and the uterus lining, resulting in cramps during menstruation. However, sometimes, a woman may experience cramps, yet no period. Such an occurrence can be worrisome for many, as they rush to pinpoint the cause. Period-like cramps can be exasperating and severe. Sometimes, abdominal pain could also hint at some other internal chronic condition. There may be several underlying medical causes of cramps without a period. Let’s understand about them in detail.

Also Read: How Periods Affect Fertility

15 Reasons You Get Cramps, But No Period

While most women may be able to differentiate between cramping related to the menstrual cycle and other cramping situations, at times, the symptoms can be confusing, and situations like cramping but no period may need further examination. Some of the likely reasons for getting cramps without period can be:

1. Pregnancy

Period pains, but no period – could I be pregnant? – maybe the most likely conclusion. Cramps which are not followed by menstruation can be an early indication of pregnancy. Cramping may occur when the fertilised egg implants itself into the uterine lining. In such an occurrence, you may experience minor cramping or implantation pain, usually around the time the periods are due, about 3 to 4 weeks into the pregnancy.

Also Read: What Does Your Period Says About You

2. Delayed Period

Menstrual cramps but no period may be due to a late period. Cramping may be the result of ovulation (release of eggs from the ovaries) taking place. Ovulation normally takes place around 10 to 15 days before the start of the period. Though, ovulation may get extended, at times, causing a delayed menstrual cycle. Some women may miscalculate their period date or suffer from irregular periods. In such instances, period pains without menstruation may cause anxiety.

Also Read: Irregular Periods after Marriage

3. Menopause

Menopause indicates the end of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and fertility. It usually occurs around the time a woman turns 50. In some cases, a menopausal woman may experience cramps during the pre-menopause phase, when the menstrual cycle starts changing and ovulation does not occur regularly.

4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis can be responsible for causing cramps, yet no period. Ulcerative colitis is related to the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease adversely affects the digestive tract’s lining. IBD typically produces symptoms like swelling, redness, irritation, and pain, collectively affecting the gastrointestinal parts, including the mouth, stomach, oesophagus, and small and large intestines. In the case of Crohn’s disease, cramps can be experienced on the lower right side of the stomach, and with Ulcerative colitis, cramps may be felt on the lower left side of the belly.

Also Read: First Period after Miscarriage

5. Ovarian Cyst

Ovarian cysts or fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries can be another cause of cramps, but no period. In most cases, the development of ovarian cysts may not cause worry and do not normally produce any symptoms. Occasionally, some women may experience lower abdominal pain or cramps, especially if the cysts grow in size and rupture. In these cases, appropriate treatment can relieve pain and discomfort.

6. Eating Disorder

Cramps, with the absence of a period, may stem from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Bulimia is a serious eating disorder characterised by binge eating and then purging to avoid weight gain, while those with anorexia may resort to food limitations to remain thin. Women who suffer from bulimia and anorexia may experience cramps and irregular periods, or no periods at all.

7. Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy

In the case of ectopic pregnancy, the fertilised embryo implants itself outside the uterus, more often than not, in one of the Fallopian tubes. A woman with an ectopic pregnancy can experience mild cramps or one-sided, sudden, sharp, piercing pain, which may reach the lower back or shoulders.

8. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disorder which causes the tissues and cells that usually line the uterus to flourish outside the uterus. Endometriosis can lead to cramps in the lower abdomen, pelvic area, and lower back. The cramps may feel similar to those experienced during a period.

9. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the upper part of the female reproductive organs, namely the cervix, uterus lining, Fallopian tube, ovaries, and vagina. The infection is usually transmitted through sex and can result in painful cramps. The cramps can occur anytime during the month. Intense cramping may happen around the pelvic area or lower abdomen.

10. Appendicitis

Mild or painful cramping is a normal symptom of appendicitis. In some cases, the cramps may become so intense that activities like sneezing, coughing, and moving can cause considerable pain.

11. Uterine Fibroids

These noncancerous uterine growths can cause cramping, heavy periods, and pain.

12. Adenomyosis

 It’s a condition where the tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, leading to cramps and pelvic pain.

13. Interstitial Cystitis

This chronic bladder condition can cause pelvic pain and cramping, often mistaken for menstrual cramps.

14. Gastrointestinal Issues

 Some gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can lead to abdominal cramping that might be confused with menstrual cramps.

15. Rare Underlying Medical Condition

There are various uncommon and lesser-known reasons for cramping without period. These reasons could be without a clear explanation at times.  One such reason could be a rare condition or syndrome that hasn’t been widely recognized or studied in medical literature. These cases often require specialized medical evaluation and diagnosis by experts in the field to uncover the underlying cause.

When to Consult a Doctor

Cramps, but no period can be a stressful time as you try and determine the cause of trouble and whether it warrants a consultation with your doctor. If this is the first time you’ve encountered stomach pain but no period, take a deep breath and read below to know when you should consider getting a medical consultation.

  • If your cramps persist or return in intervals, it could be indicative of a deeper issue that must be treated.
  • Look for any abnormal changes in your body or symptoms other than cramps, to narrow down where the problem lies. This can also help your doctor accurately diagnose the cause of cramps without period.
  • If you have PCOD or a thyroid disorder, cramps could be an indication of hormone fluctuation. Consult your gynaecologist or endocrinologist for further examination.
  • Cramps could also point at ovarian cysts or fibroids. If the pain persists or you have a history of cysts or fibroids, consult a doctor for treatment.

Tips to Reduce Discomfort

Some of the tips to help reduce discomfort are listed below:

  • Taking adequate rest or simply lying down for a while may relieve the pain.
  • Applying a heating pad or a hot bottle wrapped in a towel on the area regularly can help reduce e pain.
  • Drinking a warm beverage like hot herbal tea or warm milk may prove to be
  • Soaking yourself in a tub filled with warm water relaxes aching muscles.
  • A stroll or walk keeps your body active and has proven to help women suffering from cramps.
  • Gently rubbing the affected area may also prove helpful in relieving pain.

It may be difficult to ascertain the cause of cramps, but no period. The probable causes for having cramps, but no periods, can range from simple reasons like pregnancy, constipation, and appendicitis to more serious ones like ovarian cysts and cancer. In case of any persistent doubts, it is advisable to seek medical consultation.


1. Period Pain; Medline Plus; https://medlineplus.gov/periodpain.html

2. Menstrual cramps; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/symptoms-causes/syc-20374938

3. Grandi. G, Ferrari. S, Xholli. A, et al.; Prevalence of menstrual pain in young women: what is dysmenorrhea?; Journal of Pain Research; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3392715/; June 2012

4. Kural. M, Noor. N. N, Pandit. D, et al.; Menstrual characteristics and prevalence of dysmenorrhea in college going girls; PubMed Central; Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4535108/; June 2012

5. Severe Menstrual Pain is NOT Normal; Oregon Health & Science University;  https://www.ohsu.edu/womens-health/severe-menstrual-pain-not-normal

Also Read:

Pregnant without Periods
Pregnancy before Missed Period
Missed Period with a Negative Pregnancy Test

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