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3 Common Causes for Cramping in Women

Updated on May 3, 2020
Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia is a homesteader who grows and harvests food for her family. Cynthia prefers using home remedies when she can.

As women most of us has have experienced some type of abdominal cramping in our lives. Though cramping is usually a symptom of menstruation there are times that you could experience persistent pelvic cramping outside of your monthly cycle. Pelvic cramping can be extremely painful and uncomfortable to deal with. Pelvic pain can either be acute and last a short amount of time, like associated with menstruation. Or it can be a chronic issue lasting for some time. There are many issues that can cause pelvic cramps and uterine pain.

Depending on the type and severity of the cramping they can range from absolutely normal, to being a sign of a bigger issues. Some persistent pelvic cramping can be a sign of a major health issue. You should always discuss any lasting pelvic or uterine pain with your healthcare provider. On the off chance that there is something serious going on with your health and the cramping is a symptom.

Most causes of persistent pelvic cramping are directly related to the reproductive system. As such, you should never put off seeing your doctor if you have uterine pain, persistent cramps or anything that seems out of the ordinary. Getting an early diagnosis and starting treatments right away can help you avoid irreversible damages, including infertility. This is in no way meant to diagnose any persistent cramping you may have been experiencing. It is merely an informative article on 3 common causes of persistent pelvic cramping and their symptoms.

Though it may not be something that you enjoy discussing openly, you should always bring up any health concerns you have with a health care provider. Odds are what you tell them about cramping will not be a shock and they are prepared to help you figure out the cause and a solution. Taking your reproductive health seriously and discussing any concerns with your doctor is key to remaining healthy and seeking appropriate treatment if it is warranted.

Persistent cramping and uterine pain can be an intrusion on daily life. Leaving us wanting to do nothing more than stay in bed.
Persistent cramping and uterine pain can be an intrusion on daily life. Leaving us wanting to do nothing more than stay in bed.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a very serious infection of the reproductive organs, that can potentially cause infertility and ectopic pregnancies. There are many things that can be attributed to women contracting Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. A few of them are:

  • Childbirth
  • Abortion
  • Pelvic Exams
  • STD's
  • Douching

PID can be caused when chlamydia or gonorrhea are introduced into the cervix. Childbirth, abortion and a routine pelvic exam can also cause an infection that can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Douching once thought to cleanse the vaginal opening up to the cervix is now believed to possibly push bacteria into the cervix. The infection travels through the cervix to the rest of the reproductive organs. In addition to persistent pelvic cramps the symptoms of PID are:

  • Chills
  • High Fever
  • Painful Urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Nausea and Vomiting

Not everyone will have the same syptoms, and some will only have a few of them. Though it is most common for those with untreated STD's and sexually active teenagers. Women of all ages can contract PID.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids are another culprit that may be responsible persistent pelvic cramping. Essentially a muscular tumor that grows and attaches itself to the uterine wall. Uterine Fibroids can grow as a singular tumor, or even grow in multiples attaching in multiple locations. Most commonly affecting women age 30 and up. Those going through menopause are more likely to have fibroids as well. In addition to pelvic cramping here are the other syptoms of uterine fibroids:

  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
  • Swelling of Lower Abdominal Area
  • Frequent Urination
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Anemia
  • Painful Intercourse

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common occurrence with Uterine Fibroids, and can cause anemia. In addition to the swelling of the lower abdomen, you may also have a constant full feeling even when you have not eaten. Having to run to the bathroom to urinate more than normal can be a sign that you need to discuss Uterine Fibroids with your doctor.

Uterine Fibroids are caused by hormonal issues, and also be shared genetically.


Endometriosis is another common cause for persistent pelvic cramping in women. A very painful disorder in which the lining of the uterus begins to grow outside of its common place, and outward through the reproductive system. Pelvic cramping associated with Endometriosis can often be debilitating. Even though the tissue has started growing in abnormal areas, it will still act as it would inside the uterus. This includes:

  • Thickening
  • Breaking Down
  • Menstrual Cycle

As you can imagine continuing the reproductive purposes of the uterus outside can be very concerning, and painful. The main syptoms of Endometriosis are:

  • Pelvic Cramping
  • Painful Periods
  • Painful Bowel Movement
  • Painful Urination
  • Excessive Bleeding

The most common symptom for Endometriosis is painful often severe pelvic cramping. With increased painful cramping during menstrual cycles. Those that suffer from Endometriosis also commonly suffer from dysmenorrhea as well. While it can be extremely painful to endure there are many effective treatments for Endometriosis.


Sometimes for no real reason at all you may experience pelvic cramping outside of your normal menstrual cycle. If you experience persistent pelvic cramping that does not seem to go away, you should consult with a physician, or OBGYN. Many causes can potentially cause infertility if not diagnosed and treated properly. You should never put off health concerns for any reason. Doctors are there to help you just need to be open when discussing health issues with them.

There are many treatment options for dealing with pelvic cramps that do not seem to be a symptom of any health related issues. Taking over the counter pain relievers can ease the pelvic cramping. There are also many natural supplements and treatments for pelvic cramps as well. But determining the cause of any persistent cramping will go a long way into figuring out the best course of action to provide some relief.

Using basil essential oils has effectively treated my issues in the past with painful pelvic cramping. It really reduced the uterine pain that went along with the cramping as well. It takes only a few drops, so it is an easy, cheap alternative to over the counter medicines available for cramping. In my experience more effective than some medications I have tried in the past.

If essential oils are not your thing you can even try sipping some basil tea, though I found it to be an acquired taste and not something I wanted to drink long term. Whatever the cause, be sure to discuss them with a medical professional. If you have reservations bringing them up with the doctor, try opening up to a close friend about the cramping. Opening up to a friend will often give us a feeling of relief and allow us the courage to talk to a doctor.

On a personal note, I had a close friend with endometriosis who discussed the pain and cramping with me. Feeling uncomfortable going to the doctor I went with her. Friends can be your champion with health issues, if you have reservations about meeting with a doctor reach out to a friend to go with you. It helps to not feel alone when we are discussing health issues we find scary.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Cynthia Hoover


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