When most people think of women having cramps, they associate it with a menstrual period. However, it is possible to have a menopause cramp. There are a variety of reasons why this might occur. For instance, taking estrogen while in menopause is a common reason. It can also happen if you have used IUDs in the past to prevent pregnancy. Let’s delve deeper into this topic to better understand cramps associated with perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
What Happens During Menopause?
Menopause occurs at about the age of 51 when a woman no longer has a monthly period. This happens because her body has stopped producing estrogen, which is a female hormone. However, it takes approximately twelve months of not having a menstrual period before a woman is technically considered menopausal.
When you are in perimenopause, there are several things that will happen. For starters, your menstrual period will decrease a little bit at a time until you are fully in menopause. Some of the symptoms of menopause include night sweats, insomnia, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and thinning skin. The intensity and frequency of these symptoms will vary because every woman is unique.
What is Menopause Cramp?
If you notice during perimenopause that you are having cramps, a common reason is because your period hasn't fully ceased and is in the process of tapering off. As a result, you will likely notice that bleeding accompanies cramping in you abdomen. It won’t likely be the level of bleeding that you've had in the past.
During the perimenopause phase, there are several symptoms that you might experience in addition to cramps. This includes back pain, abdomen bloating, fatigue, constipation and weight gain. Another potential issue that you might experience because of the cramping is nausea and vomiting. When you’re in perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause, the root cause of these issues can vary significantly.
Other Conditions That Cause Cramps
Gastrointestinal issues can cause cramps that are seemingly related to menopause. This might include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach flu or Crohn’s disease. Sometimes the root cause is food related and might occur after eating dairy or something else that simply doesn’t agree with your digestive system.
Another culprit is uterine cancer. This is likely to cause cramps along with other symptoms, such as bloating, weight loss, fatigue and vaginal bleeding. This is clearly a serious issue that will hopefully be diagnosed by your doctor so that the proper treatment can commence. Any type of cancer requires a prompt diagnosis to obtain the best possible outcome.
A growing number of women are experiencing endometriosis, which is a painful condition that causes cramps because tissue grows on the pelvis and ovaries that should not be there. Swelling from this tissue is often what causes the cramping. Although a good number of young women are diagnosed with endometriosis, there are also a lot of women in menopause that have symptoms of the condition. It’s often treated with estrogen therapy.
Another common issue that causes cramping is uterine fibroids. This is also a condition that often affects younger women but can impact women that are in menopause. Despite the prevalence of the conditions listed, it’s worth noting that a menopause cramp usually isn't the result of a serious issue.