intermittent cramping: what could it be?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2009
intermittent cramping: what could it be?
5
Thu, 12-24-2009 - 12:25am

Hi everyone,

I've been having intermittent cramps since the 19th and it is now the 24th. It comes and goes and sometimes feels like menstrual cramps. Sometimes, it is quite painful while other times, it is not as bad. I'm fairly certain I am not pregnant for a number of reasons: my boyfriend and I had sex on the 17th and 18th where we used condoms and he always ejaculated outside me and inside the condom. Not only that, I usually ovulate around the 20th of the month and this month, I'm fairly certain I ovulated on the 21st. I don't know if it's relevant but the cramping started on the 19th. I am 20 years old; I am not on birth control pills. My periods are pretty regular and I would wait until the 4th in other situations except that I feel pain that I usually do not feel in this interval between ovulation and menstruation. I also feel like I went to the bathroom a lot today and yesterday but that might be my over-reactive imagination.

Given the information above, does anyone have any idea what this might be? Should I be concerned? Should I wait a few days and keep observing or should I go to the doctors ASAP? I read things about urinary tract infections and endometriosis but I have no idea how the symptoms compare to mine. If anyone could shed some light on this topic, I would be very grateful.

Thank you,
Kari

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2006
Sat, 12-26-2009 - 4:28am

Hi Kari, and welcome to Women's Health Issues. I'm looking in here while the CL is with her family over Christmas. I'm sorry I didn't get to you sooner, but I was also busy in the past two days.

Anyway, first of all, I think you should keep track of all symptoms you're experiencing, because you should indeed talk to your doctor about them.

Next, having suffered from endometriosis myself, what you are describing isn't unlike what I used to experience between the time I ovulated and when my period would start. However this is not to say that you have endometriosis, just that it is something to consider.

How much have you read about endometriosis and its symptoms? Have you visited the message board here? One of the things about endometriosis is that there are a vast range of symptoms, but not all women axperience all of them. If you read up on the symptoms and discover there are others that you have, keep track of those, too, and talk to your doctor.

Here's the Endometriosis board link:

http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-bhendomet

And for more information:

http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/endometriosis.html

As for having a UTI, frequent urination is only one symptom. Pain in general and painful urination and feeling the urge to go right after having emptied your bladder are some others one. Somehow I think that if you have a UTI, you would be aware of it. The pain I have had with UTI is very different from cramping, so if you're comparing your cramps to your period, it really doesn't sound like it's that. However if urination becomes painful, then get that checked out immeadiately. Don't wait if you suspect it's a UTI.

Another thing to read about and investigate are the symptoms of PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. Here's a link to the relevent board:

http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-bhpcos

And here's a link to more information about it:

http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/pcos-key-qampa.html

How are you feeling now? Is the cramping still as bad as it was, and is it affecting you in any other way? If you can get to see your doctor quickly, and are still feeling bad, then I would suggest you do so. Otherwise, as I mentioned, keep track of your symptoms, read up on the other things mentioned, but get it looked into.

All the best, Nenu.




Fitting Lingerie; a Shopping Fantasy by Nenu.







Prospero:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.


The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158




iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2009
Sat, 12-26-2009 - 9:15pm

Hi Nenu,

Thank you for your reply. I'm doing ok. I don't have any more cramps like I did during the time interval I mentioned in my previous post. I occasionally get some sort of sensation in my lower abdomen but it's not pain, just a discomfort.

I read the information in the links you sent me and I'm somewhat convinced that I don't have a UTI or endometriosis. But for all it's worth, I'll list what I've experienced for your opinion. I apologize if it's really boring but I have gone to my doctors due to an irregular period as of about 3 months ago so I don't really want to go again unless something seems very wrong. They ran the usual tests (hormonal, pregnancy, etc) and I was normal.

These past few months, I've been very confused by my menstrual cycle. In the past, I've have a very regular period and I've never had tender breasts during or before my period. For the past 3 periods, I've experienced tender breasts after ovulation until after my period. This month, I've ovulated around the 21st and my breasts are not tender. Also, the past 3 periods were almost exactly 1 month apart as opposed to about 28 days. Lastly, I have been getting more severe cramping during the past few periods. Usually, I have cramping the first day of my period and I would take an advil and it would be gone the next day. Nowadays, I need at least 2 advils because I can still feel it after the first one. However, after my period, it's all gone. My bf says it's because I am now sexually active and so my cramps are more severe. My doctor says when women become more mature, they start experiencing tender breasts and other symptoms of PMS.

I was just wondering what your opinion on this is. I already told my doctor about my tender breasts and more painful cramps but she doesn't think anything is wrong. I also can't really explain my cramps this time after ovulation. If you have any insight, please let me know.

Thank you,
Kari

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2009
Sat, 12-26-2009 - 9:32pm
Actually, I think I'm still getting minor cramps. I guess I haven't been thinking about it these couple of days because of the holidays. After I typed my response, I started getting cramps again. They're not very severe but they're there. Now I'm a little worried... But the only symptoms I have are these cramps. What are the chances that it is something serious? What else could it be? I don't have any painful urination or anything else.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2006
Sun, 12-27-2009 - 5:00am

Hi Kari,

First of all, I have to specify that I'm not a doctor or even in the medical profession, but that I have read a lot and have also dealt with the pain of endometriosis myself.

I don't know if you're seeing a GP or a gynecologist, but in spite of having had tests done that came back as normal, you could still have something like endometriosis, because there isn't a test for it.

"Endometriosis can only be diagnosed by seeing the implants, which requires a surgical procedure, usually laparoscopy."

I can tell you that in my case, I didn't have a single cramp with my period until I was 26, when I nearly collapsed one day when the cramping and pain started out of the blue. I would get abdominal pains and cramps after ovulation and have hellish periods, and later on, I would have twinges of pain at any time after the end of my period and until ovulation when the worst of it began again. I also had very sore and tender breasts, to the point that I would have to sleep with a bra on just so my breasts were protected and didn't move. I'm not a big breasted woman, either, so it wasn't because of the weight and volume of the breasts, it was the hormonal fluctuation that caused it. It does not matter if it is considered to be "normal", it was extremely painful and disruptive to my health and life, and my gynecologist took me very seriously.

Not all women experience sore breasts as they get older, either. I never had PMS, thankfully, because what I suffered from the endometriosis was plenty. Not all women get PMS, and shouldn't be brushed off saying that it's "just" a symptom of PMS.

Your BF is adorable but he's just wrong in saying you have cramps because you're sexually active, I'm sorry to say. Being sexually active is not a cause of cramps.

I don't really know what else to suggest, Kari, except that you'll have to wait and see what happens during your next few cycles. If the symptoms continue to increase, as it seems they are doing, then in spite of your doctor telling you that there is nothing or it is "normal", try and have it looked into more seriously. When you have to increase the amount of Advil each month because the cramps are getting worse, there is something that needs to be dealt with, in my opinion.




Fitting Lingerie; a Shopping Fantasy by Nenu.







Prospero:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.


The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158




iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Mon, 12-28-2009 - 3:31pm
Hi Kari, and welcome to the Women's Health Issues board.



Nenu has given you excellent advice, and I don't have much to add except to urge you to follow your instincts and not accept that you have to live with escalating pain just because your doctor says it's "normal." Although it is specifically about autoimmune disorders, this article has some good tips that can be applied generally about how to get your doctor to really listen to you.



Here is the article it was linked to, which may give you another place to look in your research: Women’s Health Problems Doctors Still Miss.



Also, I should mention that the severity of PMS for me directly correlates to the amount of stress I am under in the preceding weeks. The more stress, the worse the symptoms. Have you been under more stress than usual for the past few months? That would be worth mentioning to your doctor as well, and she shouldn't dismiss it as being something you just have to live with.



I wish you the best, and please stop by again to let us know how you're doing or if you have other questions.




Siggy
Community Leader of Women's Health Issues