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Questions on Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps typically occur every month when a woman's uterus is sloughing off old tissue during the menstrual cycle (period). While many women go through life without a problem, others may require special attention during this time as there are conditions that can create unbearable pain and excessive menstrual cramping. Some of these require focused medical treatment. To learn more about menstrual cramps and the treatment for them, take a look at the questions below that have been answered by the Experts.

What does it mean when a woman has cramps but is not having a period?

Case details: Severe nausea, not on birth control, extremely light period for three days after sex.

In most cases, menstrual cramping occurs when a woman's uterus is trying to get rid of something such as old tissue as part of a menstrual cycle. However, if the woman is experiencing these symptoms without a period, there could be other possibilities.

One of the reasons for the bleeding and cramps could be a pregnancy that is turning into a miscarriage. Sometimes, a light period that follows sex indicates signs of implantation. If this happens, it would be advisable to consult an OB/GYN if the bleeding occurs especially after intercourse. Since a blighted ovum or a missed abortion could cause a negative pregnancy test, an ultrasound by an OB/GYN is generally the best way to determine the cause of the bleeding.

Another reason for the bleeding could be a uterine polyp. If a woman has a uterine polyp, she could experience cramping when her uterus is trying to rid itself of the polyp. Usually an ultrasound of the uterus will reveal the presence of a polyp.

Another possibility could be the side effects of ovulation. Ovulation can sometimes cause mild cramping and spotting around 10 days after a woman has had a period. Many times a vaginal discharge will also accompany the pain and spotting. However, if the cramps are accompanied by severe nausea, a trip to the doctor may be required for immediate treatment.

Is it normal to have something similar to menstrual cramps while pregnant?

In most cases, it is normal for a woman to experience light cramps similar to menstrual cramps in the first stages of pregnancy. The usual cause of the cramping is because the woman's uterus is adjusting to the changes that accompany pregnancy. In other words, when a fetus grows, it could cause slight cramping in the lower regions of the abdomen or on one side of the abdomen.

Another reason could be if a small cyst forms on the ovary in the area where the egg comes out before travelling to the uterus. This cyst will usually produce progesterone until the placenta begins to produce it on its own. This type of cyst can also cause similar cramping sensations as that of a menstrual cramp during the early part of the pregnancy. However, in case the symptoms get worse, a visit to the OB to get a pelvic exam and ultrasound done is recommended.

Is it normal to have menstrual cramps and bleeding after a hysterectomy where only the cervix was removed?

When a hysterectomy is done, it typically means that the uterus has been removed. However, when the surgery leaves the cervix intact, the actual term for the procedure is a subtotal hysterectomy. In case, the cervix is removed and the uterus is left intact, the procedure would be called a trachelectomy. In this situation, a woman can not only experience cramping but also have a period.

In case the woman has menstrual cramps after the uterus has been removed, this could be due to issues of the ovaries, bowel, bladder or pelvic ligaments. However, if there is spotting, this could be attributed to the healing of the cervix and absorption of the stitches. In the event that the woman experiences heavy flow, she should contact her surgeon immediately.

What home remedy can help very painful menstrual cramps?

Case details: Advil and paracetamol helps lessen pain but it comes back, vomiting also present

There are a few options to treat menstrual cramps. In times when Advil doesn't work, a stronger form of pain medication can be useful. Some women also find relief in having an orgasm since it reduces the severity of menstrual cramps. Another course of treatment is to use birth control pills that provide great relief for most women.

In certain cases, a woman could also develop endometriosis which causes menstrual cramping. To diagnose this, a gynecologist would have to perform a laparoscopy procedure and treat it appropriately if the test results are positive.

Is it normal to have menstrual cramps all the time?

Case details: Cramps radiate to lower back, cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

In many cases, a condition known as endometriosis can cause continuous pain. A gynecologist can perform a laparoscopy to check for this and discuss treatment for this condition if tested positive. Another possible cause could be cancer which can be explored by getting an ultrasound done. Whatever be the cause, it is advisable to see a gynecologist immediately and get the problem checked and treated as soon as possible. In certain cases, this may even warrant a surgery to confirm endometriosis or cancer.

Menstrual cramps can affect every woman at some point in her lifetime. While many women deal with this uncomfortable issue with over-the-counter medication, other women require more intense medical treatment. If you are suffering from menstrual cramps and would like to know how you can treat your symptoms, direct your queries to an Expert now. They can offer medical insights and information based on the details of your case.
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Recent Menstrual Cramps Questions

  • I am currently a prospective medical student and I am applying

    I am currently a prospective medical student and I am applying to schools this summer. I have received a supplementary application with an essay question that asks about what I would do as a family physician if a 15-year old girl came in for menstrual cramps with her mother (who is in the waiting room) and has told me that she is sexually active yet doesn't want her mother finding out. I personally feel that if I was her physician, I should provide information on how to obtain birth control (or even prescribe it myself) and should maintain patient confidentiality even though she is a minor. However, I wanted to know an expert's opinion on the matter. Should I tell the mother that I want her daughter to go on birth control because of "menstrual cramps"? I feel like this is also a form of lying and I know that this is not the ethical thing to do as a physician. I would like to also receive information on the state laws in Virginia that either allow me or prohibit me from maintaining confidentiality with a minor patient. Can anyone give me advice? Thanks.
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