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.
For this article I consulted with Dr. Wendie Trubow, OBGYN at Visions Healthcare, Wellesley, MA.
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 Dr. Trubow.
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.