Could abdominal cramping after menstruation ends be related to early cancer?

There’s actually a variety of causes for this troubling condition that all women should be aware of.

When a woman who’s completed her monthly cycle then has unexplained abdominal cramps — especially in the lower area of the abdomen — she might start fearing that the cause is ovarian or uterine cancer.

After all, these cancers DO strike fertile women. According to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance and Epidemiology and End Results Program, 28.9 percent of ovarian cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur in women between 20 and 54. For uterine cancer it’s 23.4 percent.

What benign condition can cause abdominal cramping after menstruation ends?

This depends on how long after the period ends, that a woman experiences abdominal cramping, says Wendie Trubow, MD, an OB/GYN with Five Journeys, a membership-based wellness organization that uses functional and integrative medicine for evaluation and treatment.

In a menstrual cycle that lasts seven days, ovulation for the next cycle may begin in just a few days.

“So the cramping can be due to release of a dominant follicle from one of the ovaries,” says Dr. Trubow.  “This typically causes some fluid in the pelvis, and that can cause irritation and cramping.”

Other Causes Including Cancer

“The cramping could also be due to fibroids, or a polyp or an IUD (intrauterine device),” says Dr. Trubow.

Discomfort from any of these conditions “is due to the body trying to get rid of a foreign body, and the uterus only really knows how to do a few things, including grow to accommodate a fetus, and contract, to get rid of whatever doesn’t need to, or shouldn’t be there.”

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Irritable bowel syndrome and microscopic colitis can cause cramping in the stomach or pelvic region.


Ovarian and uterine cancer can cause an abdominal cramp as well.

dr. trubowHaving practiced functional medicine since 2009, Dr. Trubow works with women to identify causes of their symptoms and then works with them to achieve their greatest health and life balance.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Top image: Shutterstock/Dragana Gordic