Do you have menstrual cramps, but you’re not expecting your period? Have you had extended periods of abdominal cramping, bloating, and swelling that feels exactly like your period but isn’t?
Many people experience symptoms akin to menstrual cramping even when they are not on their periods. It’s surprisingly common, and various factors can contribute to it, including changes in hormone levels, imbalances in your body's natural chemicals, and fluctuations in your immune system.
These issues can cause inflammation, leading to the pain and discomfort associated with menstrual cramping. Some can be temporary due to switching your birth control. But there are many other reasons, too, from sexually transmitted infections, early pregnancy, and menopause, to urinary tract infections like cystitis and more serious conditions like endometriosis or ovarian cancer.
So while there’s no need to panic every time you get a cramp, it is crucial to track and monitor how often and how severe these cramps are so you can address any health issues sooner rather than later. Here are a few to watch out for:
Pregnancy is one of the most common reasons you may experience cramping during your menstrual cycle (even before you skip your period). Cramping is a typical symptom of early pregnancy, as this is when an embryo begins to implant itself into the uterine lining to grow and develop.
As a result, you may experience cramping or other uncomfortable symptoms as this embryo implants itself into your uterine lining. In some cases, cramps that come on as an early sign of pregnancy will be mild, similar to PMS symptoms.
However, in some cases, these cramps may cause abdominal pain, discomfort, or even nausea, so it is important to be aware of the potential for early pregnancy.
While not all women will experience pre-period cramps throughout their pregnancy journey, it is worth being aware of this possibility so that you can take steps to treat your symptoms if needed.
Occasionally, cramps like this can be warning signs of ectopic pregnancies. So, if you’re sexually active (even if you’re on birth control or use other contraceptives), get an over-the-counter pregnancy test and seek medical attention if necessary.
As you may have read in our article about endometriosis, it occurs when the uterine lining (the endometrium) begins growing outside the uterus. It can happen in various places throughout the body, such as in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or bladder.
In some cases, endometriosis can also spread to the digestive system or lungs. Endometriosis usually develops during a woman’s childbearing years and may affect approximately two to 10 percent of women between 25 and 40 worldwide.
Although the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, there are several theories about how it may develop. One theory suggests that endometriosis may be due to retrograde menstruation when menstrual blood flows backward through the Fallopian tubes and into the pelvis. Another theory suggests that an immune system disorder may cause endometriosis.
Regardless of its cause, endometriosis can cause various symptoms, including pelvic pain, cramps, and infertility. Endometriosis diagnosis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. Treatments for endometriosis may include medication, surgery, or a combination of both. If you think you may have endometriosis, book an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss your symptoms.
Ovulation is when an ovum, or egg, is released from a woman's ovaries into her fallopian tubes. It typically occurs once per month, during your fertile window—the limited period of each menstrual cycle in which conception can occur.
While ovulation is necessary for reproduction and conception, it can also cause several uncomfortable side effects, including cramps and discomfort in the lower abdominal area.
These cramps may be due to a sudden release of prostaglandins, hormone-like chemicals that trigger uterine contractions and inflammation. While not everyone experiences these ovulation-related cramps outside their period, they are the simplest and most common reason for such discomfort.
Commonly called "ovulation cramps," the mild contractions can cause a dull ache on one side of the lower abdomen or lower back. While these cramps occur naturally and often go unnoticed, they can also be a sign of hormonal imbalance or other underlying health conditions.
So if you notice any unusual discomfort in your lower abdomen during ovulation, it's best to consult with your doctor to ensure that you stay healthy and avoid complications.
A miscarriage, which is the loss of a pregnancy before it’s come to term (the NIH describes it as loss of pregnancy less than 20 weeks gestation), is another reason for menstrual cycle-like cramps.
If you’re pregnant, one of the most common signs of a miscarriage is cramping, which feels like menstrual cramps. It can be one of the early signs caused by the uterus contracting to expel the tissue growing inside it. The cramps may be accompanied by light bleeding or spotting, which can often be mistaken for a normal period.
Some spotting during pregnancy is usually no cause for alarm. But if you're bleeding, and it's heavier than a normal period and accompanied by severe cramps, it’s essential to seek medical attention, as this may be a sign of an incomplete miscarriage.
Incomplete miscarriages occur when not all of the pregnancy tissue has been expelled from the uterus and can often lead to infection. As a rule, if you experience any abnormal bleeding or cramping during pregnancy, it’s crucial to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs that can cause severe pain and cramping. The most common symptom of PID is pelvic pain, which can feel like menstrual cramps.
Other symptoms may include fever, chills, vaginal discharge, pain during sex, and burning urination. If left untreated, PID can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
PID is usually caused by bacteria transmitted during sexual intercourse. Anyone sexually active is at risk for PID, but those with multiple sexual partners or who douche regularly are at increased risk.
Treatment for PID typically involves antibiotics. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Prompt treatment is essential to preventing long-term complications from PID.
Many people experience cramps at some point in their lives, and most of the time, these cramps are nothing to worry about. However, they can be a sign of a more serious condition or complication in some cases, including infections in your cervix, ovarian cysts, or ovarian cancer. Cancer of the ovaries is a relatively rare form of cancer but is challenging to detect in its early stages.
One of the first signs of ovarian cancer is persistent or severe pelvic pain. This pain may feel like cramps, which can occur even when you are not menstruating. Other symptoms include bloating, difficulty eating, and sudden and unexplained weight loss.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to see a doctor for a diagnosis. Early detection is crucial for the successful treatment of ovarian cancer.
Do you find yourself running to the bathroom when you eat certain foods or are experiencing a lot of stress? If this is accompanied by bloating and severe cramping, you may have irritable bowel syndrome.
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a relatively common functional disorder that affects the large intestine. Characterized by such symptoms as abdominal pain and cramping, irregular bowel movements, constipation, and bloating, IBS can be a painful and disruptive syndrome for those who suffer from it.
For many, IBS cramps can feel very much like the cramps you feel during a menstrual cycle. IBS can also make menstrual cramps feel worse. People with IBS describe feeling sharp pains in their abdominal region just before or during their period.
While the exact cause is still being studied, some researchers believe it may be due to changes in hormone levels that occur naturally during menstruation.
Regardless of its underlying cause, numerous effective treatments can help you manage IBS-related cramps. For those dealing with this symptom of IBS, making lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy, IBS-friendly diet and exercise regime may help alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life. Through adequate management strategies and support from healthcare providers and loved ones, it is possible to cope with irritable bowel syndrome and associated stomach cramps.
Sometimes, severe abdominal cramping can also be a symptom of IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. IBD, which includes conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, is similar to IBS but with more serious symptoms, including bleeding and inflammation in the GI tract. It’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional to rule it out, even if you have mild symptoms.
Another possible cause of your cramping can be appendicitis. To understand this, let’s focus on the appendix for a minute.
The appendix is a small pouch of tissue attached to the large intestine, which is responsible for absorbing water and electrolytes from indigestible food products.
Your body eliminates these indigestible food products via fecal waste. The appendix is thought to assist in this process by storing good bacteria.
However, when the appendix becomes irritated and inflamed, it can rupture and cause problems and health conditions like appendicitis. Symptoms of appendicitis include abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. If you’re experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged period, seek medical attention since a ruptured appendix can be serious.
Treatment for appendicitis typically involves surgery to remove the inflamed appendix. In most cases, the surgery is successful, and the patient makes a full recovery. However, complications can occur in some cases, so discussing the risks with your surgeon before opting for the procedure is important.
Whether you have severe or mild cramps, ignoring them just because you don’t have your period is a bad idea. But it can be challenging to diagnose cramps with no period. Is it just a tummy ache? Is it painful bladder syndrome?
To find possible causes, start by tracking your menstrual cycle—and pay particular attention to any missed periods. Look for other symptoms when you get a cramp, like pain or discomfort in the pelvic area or legs, onset of back pain or headaches at about the same time as the missed period, or other symptoms of cramp-like pain.
When you track your menstrual cycle, you can stay aware of any other unusual symptoms that occur at around the same time each month. And remember, if your cramping is accompanied by nausea or bleeding that is not associated with your normal period pain, it's important to see your doctor immediately.
To properly diagnose your cramps, track any other symptoms or health issues. Additionally, share any relevant medical history with your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis. If necessary, testing such as ultrasounds or blood work may also be conducted.
To understand the relationship between your menstrual cycle and your blood sugar levels, you may want to track and monitor how your body feels, both during and not during that time of the month. Everyone has different food responses as well as slightly different cycles. Using a tool like the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can help you determine your body's needs and recognize symptoms throughout the month.
The small, non-invasive device will keep a constant read on your blood glucose levels. With a subscription to NutriSense, you can pair the sensors with an innovative app to track and record your data. You also have access to a credentialed dietitian or nutritionist who will help you interpret the data. They can also help you understand how your blood sugar levels change through your menstrual cycle.
Dietitian and author of "Heart Disease Cookbook" Katie Reines discusses using a CGM to help balance blood sugars and hormones to manage and reverse health conditions.
Technical writer, competitive ballroom dancer, and seven-year veteran of the carnivore diet, Linda Salant talks about using the CGM to get clarity on how a unique diet could affect blood sugar levels.
Founder of health and fitness brand Shack Fit, John Shackleton is a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. He talks about using the CGM to "check under the hood” and see how his physiology was responding to certain foods.
Athletic trainer Shaye Reynolds talks about feeling stuck on her health journey, and how NutriSense and the CGM Program helped fine-tune her wellness routine and have a better understanding of her diet and workout practices.
If you're gearing up to travel or spend more time outdoors this summer, here are a few tips to help you stay safe and hydrated in the sun.
When Christine Aochi was diagnosed with prediabetes, she knew she had to start focusing more on her health. She tells us how the CGM and dietitian support with NutriSense helped her to lower her blood glucose levels, lose weight, and enjoy her food.
Charlotte LaGuardia, MS, CNS, CDN, is the owner of virtual nutrition practice, Thrive East. She talks to us about using data points and experiments with a CGM to make informed decisions about health and wellness.
Elite athlete and founder of Pure Massage Boulder, Tracey Jacobs is committed to her health. She discusses using the CGM with dietitian support to help maximize performance and elevate her workouts.
Jennifer Brumit loves the CGM because it helps her add to what she already does to stay healthy. She talks about why she thinks everyone should be using one to educate themselves and boost overall wellness.
Donating blood can save a life, and these donations are needed more often than you may think. Read on to learn how autoimmune conditions affect your eligibility to donate.
As a new mom, you may be eager to regain your pre-pregnancy body, but it's essential to take things slow and follow postpartum diet guidelines. Read on to discover dietitian recommended postpartum guidelines to losing weight.
Alongside a healthy diet, adding certain nutrients can help with achieving optimal blood glucose levels. Here are nine supplements that help your body do just that!
We asked our Nutrition Team to help us debunk 14 popular nutrition and lifestyle myths. Here's what our dietitians—and the research—say about these age-old myths.
You may have always considered oatmeal to be a healthy breakfast option, but is it really that good for you? Let’s break down the different components of oatmeal and find out.
To help you make the most of the warmer weather, we asked Carlee Hayes, RDN, CD, and Nutrition Manager here at NutriSense, to share a few of her favorite summer soup recipes.
Insulin resistance can create a variety of health issues and lead to type 2 diabetes. Here are nine effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity for improved metabolic health.
Did you know your gut influences how well your brain functions? Here are our top dietitian approved tips to boost gut health for improved cognitive functioning.
Catherine Staffieri discusses the impact of glucose on hormones, perimenopause and menopause, weight loss and the incredible benefits of using a CGM as a tool to help you feel your best.
To discuss how a health coach can incorporate this in their practice, Health Coach Academy invited Carlee Hayes to the show.
This week, we’ve compiled some of our favorite podcasts that go beyond nutrition. Here are 20 wellness-focused podcasts to add to your queue.
Are BCAAs worth it? This post digs into 30+ years of research to answer this question. The answer may surprise you.
Menopause can be a difficult journey, so we've compiled some of the most effective, science backed tips to help you with menopause-related weight gain.
Father’s Day is around the corner, and whether you’re celebrating your dad, a father figure, or another cherished loved one, helping them take care of their health can be the ultimate gift.
Here's a helpful list of some of our favorite low-carb snacks that can help you keep your diet varied and full of healthy nutrients.
Whether you're looking for low GI summer snacks or healthy sweet treats, this post has got you covered. Here are tasty low glycemic index recipes everyone will enjoy!
Wondering if grapes are safe for people with diabetes to include in their diet? Read on to find out.
Cholesterol plays a very important role in the human body, contributing to the structure of the cells, helping with vitamin D synthesis, and also promoting the production of steroid and sex hormones, like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. But how exactly is cholesterol connected to blood glucose levels?
We sat down with Kara Collier, our co-founder and VP of Health here at NutriSense, to take a closer look at how CGMs work and what you need to know about these devices before using one.
Are carbs and sugar the same? In this post, we break down the key differences between the two and share the benefits of complex carbohydrates.
Read on to learn more about DOMS, how long it can last, and then pick from our list of the best breakfasts to help beat that post-workout soreness, support muscle building, and encourage fat loss.
When it comes to lowering blood sugar levels, not all supplements are created equal. From ginseng to aloe vera, here are some of the best supplements to help avoid high blood sugar and encourage blood sugar control.
Bloating that results from a surgery can sometimes be an unexpected part of the recovery process. Is there anything you can do to reduce bloating or prevent it from happening? And what causes this bloating anyway? Read on to find the answer to these questions and much more to help you combat your post-surgery swelling.
Learn why fiber is classified as a carb and how to increase your intake of this health promoting nutrient.
Did you know Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease? Read on to learn what it's like living with PD plus discover treatment options.
From rosemary water to dry scooping, should you be trying every new trend that hits TikTok? How can you tell which ones may help and which ones to steer clear of?
As great as sugar tastes, including too much of it in your diet can lead to certain health problems. Read on to learn more about the role sugar plays in keeping your skin healthy.
Read on to see which podcasts our dietitians recommend if you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and health.
Nicotine is a chemical in tobacco that can affect your health in various ways. Read our article to learn how it impacts blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
CGMs are now an excellent tool for anyone who wants to optimize their metabolic health. Read on to find out more about the benefits CGMs can have for healthy people!
Although bariatric surgery can be an effective way to lose weight and improve health for people who are obese, it’s a major decision. Find out what lifestyle changes you need to make before going under the knife.
Excited to fire up the grill this summer? Read on to learn if grilling is healthy for you plus check out the NutriSense Nutrition Team's favorite grilling recipes for the season.
Did you know that your gut health can impact your blood glucose levels? Explore ways to improve your gut health for optimal glucose levels.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that can cause swelling and joint pain. Learn more about how it develops and how other health conditions affect its onset.
We’ve hand-picked the best weight loss apps available. Here are the thirteen best weight loss apps.
An emerging treatment, red light therapy promises to prevent and treat the signs of aging and other skin issues. Read on to find out more.
Struggling to stick with a health-promoting diet? Here’s how to make it enjoyable so you can reap the benefits.
VP of Health and co-founder of NutriSense Kara Collier discusses reaching optimal health through blood sugar regulation, what a continuous glucose monitor is, and who might benefit from using it.
In this episode of Zero to CEO, Jason Sherman talks to Dan Zavorotny about how to turn your idea into a 120 person team in 2.5 years.
Body mass index is a term you may have seen tossed around quite a bit in the health world. You may know that it’s a way to measure body fat, but with so many new tests for measuring overall fitness and health, is BMI still reliable?
If you're watching your glucose levels, traditional BBQ staples may not be the best choice. Here are some recipes that will help you enjoy a Memorial Day meal without a blood sugar spike.
Mental health has a significant impact on your overall health; here are tips, tools, and apps to improve your mental wellbeing.
Living with diabetes can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping your blood sugar levels regulated. Learn if you can check your blood sugar at home without a meter.
With summer right around the corner, it’s time to make sure you have the tools you need to protect yourself from sunburn and sun damage. But how do you choose the right one for adequate sun protection?
Learn how Japanese water therapy can help with weight loss, energy levels, and detoxification.
Do you often feel anxious or upset but can’t pinpoint the cause of your low mood? Here's how to reconsider a few common routines and then work on small changes around them to build good habits.
Do you spend all your free time scrolling through social media? If you can’t remember the last time you went offline, you may need a digital detox.
When it comes to bone health, good nutrition is absolutely critical. Read on to learn what osteoporosis is and why some foods may increase your risk of or worsen the condition.
Fitness tracking apps give you valuable insights into your exercise routines. Here are the top fitness apps for Android and Apple for this year.
One of the best ways to get all the mental and physical benefits of nature is by flexing your green thumb. Read on to learn more about how gardening can benefit your health.
From soft drinks to candies and cereal to salad dressings, many food products contain food additives. Read on to find out more about eight common additives, and how they affect your health.
Many people experience symptoms akin to menstrual cramping even when they are not on their periods. It’s surprisingly common, and various factors can contribute to it. Read on to find out what some of these are.
Read on to learn more about vitamin D-rich foods and what you should include in your diet to make the most of this vitamin’s health benefits.
It’s important to protect your skin from the harsh effects of the sun’s rays, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to wear sunscreen. But what is sunscreen, and how does it work?
The world loves rice. It’s a staple food in many cultures and can have various health benefits for some. But does it cause your glucose to spike?
Kara Collier and Dan Zavorotny talk continuous glucose monitors on the Mind Pump podcast.
Dry needling is a therapeutic technique used by physical therapists and healthcare practitioners in an effort to alleviate pain and help restore movement in the body. Read on to find out more.
Wondering what the healthiest fast food options are? Here are some of the healthiest choices at fast food restaurants, according to dietitians.
Many people try crash diets to lose weight fast, which may provide some short term results but don't work for the long haul. Here is a realistic timeline for healthy weight loss.
Tracking nutrition has never been easier due to instant access to nutrition tracking apps. Here are the best ones.
Learn more about irritable bowel syndrome, and see what popular IBS-friendly diets people follow to ease their symptoms.
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can cause pain, discomfort, and interfere with daily tasks. Explore effective ways to prevent and manage it.
Fermented foods have a range of health benefits. Read on to learn more about what they are and why you should be adding them to your diet.
Stress can negatively affect your entire body. Here are thirteen different ways to reduce stress in your life.
Here are the eleven best physical and mental health apps available in the app store.
On this episode of Passionate Pioneers with Mike Biselli, Carlee Hayes, Nutrition Manager at NutriSense, discusses the company’s digital platform that aims to help others discover and reach their health potential.
In this episode of Rejuvenaging with Dr. Ron Kaiser, Carlee explains how to cut through the online nutrition industry's noise, why we shouldn't look for a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition, and how CGMs work.
Should you be drinking your fruits? Read on to find out more about juicing, whole fruits, and why one may be better for you than the other.
Do you know what a rambutan is? Learn more about this blood-glucose-friendly tropical fruit and why you should add it to your diet.
Learn about the health benefits and risk factors of adding organ meats to your meals, and try our favorite recipes using these nutritional treasure troves.
Read on to learn more about five of the most promising developments in cancer research.
Learn more about meditation, how it positively impacts blood sugar, and how you can start incorporating it into your routine.
Salads don't have to be boring! Our Nutrition Team recommends nine delicious, nutritious salads to help you find your favorite.
Can't decide on the perfect gift for Mother's Day? Pick from a list of ideas to find a healthy, but still exciting gift this year.
Some research suggests that eating soy may reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Read on to learn whether that's true and find out more about the other health benefits of soy.
Did you know that 23.5 million Americans live with autoimmune conditions? Learn more about the symptoms and causes of celiac disease and what you can do about it.
It's no secret that positive thinking can improve your mood and help you cope with difficult situations. Review our article to see how a positive outlook may also benefit your physical health.
When it comes to your menstrual cycle, what you eat can significantly impact how you feel. Read on to learn more about the best foods to add to your diet to help during that time of the month.
Though most of us may never encounter these, these health conditions are still fascinating to learn more about. Read our article to find out more about nine of the most fascinating, unusual health conditions.
Here is everything you need to know about the relationship between weight lifting and blood sugar.
In this 20-minute conversation, Dan shares how he’s putting a Rockstar in every seat. And mistakes to avoid along the way.
Kara, registered dietitian, and co-founder of NutriSense, discusses how blood glucose levels are a core marker of metabolic health. She dives into the health consequences of fluctuating blood glucose levels, and what levels to look fasted compared to post-meal.
Today on the podcast, Kara Collier, RDN, LDN, CNSC, discusses revolutionizing preventative healthcare. It’s her mission to empower people with the knowledge to effectively monitor, optimize, and sustain their own metabolic health.
Losing weight is typically easier for men than women, biologically speaking, but it's still challenging! Here are 11 simple yet effective tips for losing weight for men.
Review our helpful article where we discuss the best times to eat if you are trying to lose weight.
Whether you're looking for weight loss tips or to learn more about metabolism, a little reading material can go a long way. To help you get started, here’s some books on metabolic health, recommended by our Nutrition Team.
NEAT can’t replace the benefits of intense cardio or strength-training workouts but like any physical activity, it has many overall health and fitness benefits. Read on to find out everything you need to know about NEAT.
On this week's episode, Shannon describes the comfort, cost, usability, and education she experienced using the continuous glucose monitor program from NutriSense.
On this episode of the Making Bank podcast, Dan Zavorotny discusses how he started the company “NutriSense” and how it reached a 150 million dollar valuation in 26 months.
Carlee Hayes talks to This Podcast Burns Fat! about the important role blood sugar plays in weight management.