The onset of mensturation is usually preceded with some premenstrual symotims (PMS). However, there are times when you may experience severe cramps but no period.
- In some instances, it can be a sign that you are pregnant.
- In other circumstances, the cause may be a serious underlying problem that you will need to discuss with your gynecologist.
When your period is up to 2 weeks late and you are experiencing symptoms such as severe cramps, try to take a pregnancy test at home to eliminate the possible cause – pregnancy.
If the test comes out negative, you may need to start exploring the solutions of the other possible causes as discusse below.
PMS (premenstrual symptoms) are supposed to occur just before your period start. They include various physical and psychological changes to the body and they will differ from one woman to the other. See more period signs here.
There are times when you may experience these signs without having any flow. In such a case, it could be due to many other causes.
Is PMS possible without period?
If you are experiencing lower back pain and cramps but no period, then you need to see your doctor for some tests to be done to ascertain the cause of the symptoms.
For one, you could be pregnant. Depending on your signs, there are many causes of having this abnormality.
Some of the most common premenstrual symptoms include:
- Fatigue and a general lack of energy
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness and swelling
- Cramps; low back pain, aching joints and muscles
- Food cravings
- Low sex drive
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Aggression, irritability, anger
- Depression or sadness
- Mood swings
- Withdrawal from social life
- Low levels of concentration
These symptoms are known to worsen some health conditions such as:
- Mental health
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
If you are experiencing menstrual symptoms but you have no flow, there are several reasons behind this. They include the following;
After a mature egg is successfully fertilized, the implantation process is often accompanied by various symptoms which are very much like those experienced before a period sets in.
Most women will experience changes in their sex drive, mood swings, weight gain and other such symptoms which may be mistaken for PMS.
However, finding out whether it is a pregnancy or other condition requires taking a pregnancy test on the day you would have expected a period.
In some cases, it could be the hydatidiform mole which is a case of ovum development without an embryo. Also, it could be a pregnancy but an ectopic one especially when it is accompanied by period-like bleeding.
2. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
The polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that has specific symptoms such as weight gain or obesity, hirsuties on specific parts of body such as the buttocks and the breasts, amenorrhea which is a period devoid of blood, anovulation (ovaries fail to release oocyte during a menstrual cycle) and oligomenorrhea (scanty and inconsistent periods).
3. Corpus luteum cyst
“A Corpus luteum cyst is a type of ovarian cyst which may rupture about the time of menstruation, and take up to three months to disappear entirely.” [Wikipedia]
Once the follicle has released the egg, it ought to revert back to its normal size in readiness for the next cycle. This, however, is not always the case since the yellow body (remaining follicle) may swell leading to pain in the abdomen similar to cramps.
To treat this condition, one has to get treatment from a doctor with the most common treatment being hormonal intervention. The swelling is often malignant in nature hence easy to deal with if discovered early enough.
Due to the anemic state of the body, processes to preserve the amount of blood in the body will kick in. These processes will work to prevent any loss of blood such as through periods.
This condition can be severe after a loss of blood with the body working desperately to preserve the amount of blood it has.
5. Mechanical processes
Cases of inflammation such as by endometriosis and cervicitis or mechanical manipulation such as an abortion or cesarean operation have been associated with causing problems during the menstrual cycle.
For example, if the walls of the uterus are scarred, a fertilized egg will not be able to attach itself on it as it will fail to prepare itself for the implantation process. You will thus have PMS without period at all.
In another case, the mechanical processes above may lead to obstruction of some of the canals and walls of the female reproductive system. The obstruction can lead to lots of pain given that it can block the menses and other discharges leading to infections. This could lead to further diseases.
The solution to this issue is usually a surgical procedure done to rectify the particular problems found by a doctor during an examination.
Whether it is physical or psychological stress, the effects on the menstrual cycle may be the same. When the body is stressed beyond its natural limits, it often goes into self-preservation mode.
In this mode, the most important parts of the body such as the blood are preserved from loss whether it is through natural processes like menstruation or cuts and bruises. All you need in such a case is enough rest to restore the body to its natural state.
Both physical and medicinal contraceptives can lead to PMS symptoms but no period. The pill has many side effects which include some PMS that may not necessarily be accompanied by the periods themselves. Such a case is often not serious and will be resolved with time.
When using an intrauterine contraceptive method, the chances of missing your period while still having the premenstrual symptoms are quite high.
8. Weight loss
When you lose weight drastically, the body will go into the self-preservation mode described above. Specifically, the fat cells (lipocytes) will be reduced in number.
Given that they serve the natural reserves for some hormones, their acute absence will see you experience cramps but no periods.
When one is adjusting to new conditions, the existence of PMS without period is common. The new conditions can be a new climate or a new drug you have just started using.
Such a case does not necessarily require seeing a doctor as it takes some time to adjust to new conditions after which you will be fine.
10. Onset of menopause
The pre-menopause stage is characterized by premenstrual symptoms but without the actual periods taking place.
Any one or a combination of these reasons can lead to PMS signs and no period depending on the health of the individual.
When the pain or other symptom is more intense compared to the other times you had periods, you can see a doctor as it could be another issue.
PMS a week before period
Are they pregnancy symptoms? Am I pregnant? When you find yourself having PMS or pregnancy symptoms a week before your periods, it could either be a pregnancy or simply normal premenstrual symptoms. To find out which one it is, here are the differences and similarities of the two cases:
When you are exhibiting premenstrual symptoms, the discharge should be normal such that there would be no blood of any kind.
This is because the premenstrual symptoms are simply signs of an incoming period and not the period itself. Once the period sets in, the bleeding will be heavy and consistent.
For pregnancy, you may experience some light brown or pink discharge between the 10th and the 14th day after you have conceived. The bleeding is never heavy unless there is another underlying problem. It should also last for a shorter period than what you experience during the premenstrual symptoms.
2. Breast pain
During the premenstrual symptoms stage, breast pain, tenderness and swelling may occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle. The level of pain and tenderness will rise to a peak just right before the period starts.
The intensity of the pain has also been known to be higher during the childbearing years. Once the period sets in, the levels of progesterone will start going down leading to reduction in the amount of pain felt in the breasts.
On the other hand, if you are pregnant, the breast pain, swelling and tenderness will start off between one and two weeks after conceiving.
Breast pain due to pregnancy lingers for a longer period compared to what you would feel in normal PMS symptoms as the level of the progesterone hormone keeps on rising when you are pregnant.
3. General fatigue
It is common to feel tired and fatigued just before the onset of your periods. This may be accompanied by poor appetite and trouble falling asleep (or too much sleep).
Before your period starts and takes away these premenstrual symptoms, you can carry out some exercises and drink lots of water to stay free from them.
Increased levels of the progesterone hormone make you tired when you are pregnant. While the severity of the fatigue and tiredness is high during the first trimester, this level of tiredness can be felt all through the pregnancy. Some gentle yoga, healthy food and enough sleep should restore your energy reserves.
4. Mood swings
The typical mood swings associated with incoming periods are experienced during the PMS stage. They can include crying spells, isolation, changes in appetite and many others.
The moment the period is due, they will automatically go away. Even better, you can do some exercises and other fun activities to stay healthy.
In the case of a pregnancy, mood swings are to be experienced from the moment you conceive to the day you give birth.
At times, you may be all excited with the baby you are about to bring to the world. In other times, you may be all moody and sad with crying spells a common occurrence.
5. Food aversions and cravings
The most common food-related changes during PMS include an increased appetite for sugary foods and drinks. Salty foods such as crisps, carbohydrates and chocolate will be highly craved for when you have premenstrual symptoms.
There are barely any food aversions during this stage. In fact, there is a generally higher appetite when you are having premenstrual symptoms.
The case is quite different when you are pregnant. You will have cravings and aversions to specific types of food.
Your cravings and aversions will also manifest in the way you like or dislike certain smells and odors. Away from the food, you could also like and dislike certain people (without reason).
Some women may also have a condition called pica. Pica is a condition in which pregnant women have a compulsive like of items that have no nutritional value such as metal filings, flakes of paint, dirt, ice, soil and many others.
Assuming this is a normal urge is a problem most women make since the items you could be consuming may have germs and other pathogens that may harm your health. Simply speak to your doctor and they will have a solution for you.
Whether your period is late or still on time, premenstrual symptoms rarely have a nauseating feeling as one of the symptoms. While some women may have nausea during their periods, it rarely occurs during the days before the period is due.
On the other hand, nausea is one of the major signs of pregnancy. In fact, besides the missed periods, morning sickness is often used as a sure sign of a pregnancy.
A month after you are pregnant, you will likely be having morning sickness which is the general name given to bouts of nausea and vomiting even when they come at other times of the day (besides the mornings). You could also be pregnant when you are not experiencing morning sickness.
Generally, you are not supposed to have cramps before your periods are due. However, you may have them a day or two before the period sets in in what is called dysmenorrhea. This is no case to worry about as the pain will starting going away once your period starts.
While you may have no pains as early as the second day of the period, the pain might longer until your period is over. These cramps often reduce in severity as one gives birth and ages. Towards menopause, the cramps might increase in severity only to go away once the menopause sets in.
Cramps in early pregnancy are common and they are nothing to worry about. However, they should only be mild and, if any form of bleeding is to occur, it should be light. The cramps and the bleeding are referred to as implantation cramps and implantation bleeding respectively.
After the implantation is through and the pregnancy is in full swing, you are likely to experience occasional cramps but of a mild nature. This form of cramps should not be accompanied with any form of bleeding. In general, bleeding during your pregnancy should warrant a visit to the doctor as soon as possible.
Cramps 2 weeks before
How long before your period do PMS symptoms start?
While most women will have their premenstrual symptoms a week or a few days before their period starts, it is not unusual for the same symptoms to appear as early as two weeks to the period. It is not an anomaly, therefore, to have the PMS symptoms earlier than a week before your period is due.
The medically known period in which the premenstrual symptoms are expected to appear is a maximum of two weeks (14 days) to the exact date your period should start. You may make an allowance of a day before and after the exact date. That places the day between the 13th and 15th day before your period.
Negative pregnancy test
Chances are that you have a problem either with your reproductive system or your whole body in general. Some of the causes of PMS symptoms but no period include the following;
- The polycystic ovary syndrome
- The onset of menopause
- Adjustment to a drug or climatic condition
- The drastic loss of weight
- The use of some medicinal and physical contraceptives
- Mechanical processes in the body such as abortion or surgery
- Corpus luteum cyst
Any one or several of these conditions can lead to premenstrual signs but no period and a pregnancy test will be negative.
If you have these symptoms and still have a negative pregnancy test, you need to pay your doctor a visit since all of the conditions explained above have dire medical consequences especially if left untreated for a while.