Exercise! - Intense period cramps during exercise?




julie14401
03-25-2012, 01:05 PM
Whenever I exercise intensely, like running, about a week before and during my period I get these really intense( like an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale) period cramps. The cramps will start about 5 minutes into my run, even earlier if i am sprinting and it gets so bad i have to stop. The pain will last maybe 8 more minutes after stopping and then goes away completely like nothing happened. I have had this problem for about 5 years. Its just the strangest thing. I played field hockey in high school and we had to run a lot. Honestly these period cramps almost made me quit the team.

To be clear, I am not talking about food cramps. What i'm feeling is extremely bad period cramps. Does anyone else have this problem?


Horo
03-25-2012, 01:58 PM
That does sound very strange indeed. Have you gotten this checked out by a doctor?

Though not nearly as severe as what you've described, I've found that exercise while on the first couple days of my period can really intensify the pain of the cramps. :( I always thought this was strange, being so contrary to the common advice that exercise is actually supposed to help soothe cramps, but it's enough for me to want to take it easy on those first few days.

chickadee32
03-25-2012, 07:06 PM
I had this issue when I first began running, almost exactly as you describe it. My pain would start when I stopped running though, be extremely painful for about 10 minutes, and then go away completely. When I mentioned it on this forum someone else said that they'd had the same issue as well. In the case of the other poster, the pain seemed related to a large ovarian cyst she had. In my case, I think the pain was due to my endometriosis. Either way, I would talk to a doctor about it, preferably an OB/GYN, and ask about having a transvaginal ultrasound to see if there's anything unusual going on. Any ovarian cysts should be apparent upon ultrasound; endometriosis won't be unless you have an endometrioma (which would look just like a cyst on ultrasound).

If you haven't previously, I would also strongly suggest reading a list of the more common symptoms associated with endometriosis (for example, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometriosis/DS00289/DSECTION=symptoms or http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/endometriosis.cfm#b), and if any of them apply to you please mention it to your OB/GYN. It is a very common disease, and the earlier it is detected the easier it is to mitigate some of the issues it causes. Please feel free to PM me regarding it if you have any questions or concerns.


julie14401
03-25-2012, 08:33 PM
I had this issue when I first began running, almost exactly as you describe it. My pain would start when I stopped running though, be extremely painful for about 10 minutes, and then go away completely. When I mentioned it on this forum someone else said that they'd had the same issue as well. In the case of the other poster, the pain seemed related to a large ovarian cyst she had. In my case, I think the pain was due to my endometriosis. Either way, I would talk to a doctor about it, preferably an OB/GYN, and ask about having a transvaginal ultrasound to see if there's anything unusual going on. Any ovarian cysts should be apparent upon ultrasound; endometriosis won't be unless you have an endometrioma (which would look just like a cyst on ultrasound).

If you haven't previously, I would also strongly suggest reading a list of the more common symptoms associated with endometriosis (for example, and if any of them apply to you please mention it to your OB/GYN. It is a very common disease, and the earlier it is detected the easier it is to mitigate some of the issues it causes. Please feel free to PM me regarding it if you have any questions or concerns.

I had an ultrasound of my uterus a few years back and they didn't find anything.

threenorns
03-25-2012, 08:38 PM
they don't always find them on just one ultrasound. endometriosis is a tricky thing - during part of your cycle, it can diminish to near-invisibility and then flare up like mad the rest of the time.

also have them check for a prolapse - this is when your uterus has literally "flopped" or twisted. when your uterus is sensitive, it can get crankyk from being bounced around. it cannot be detected by a normal exam (obviously, cause you're lying on your back and everything flops back into position).

chickadee32
03-25-2012, 11:07 PM
they don't always find them on just one ultrasound. endometriosis is a tricky thing - during part of your cycle, it can diminish to near-invisibility and then flare up like mad the rest of the time.

This is correct. Endometriosis can't be diagnosed by ultrasound, although the presence of cyst-like endometriomas in combination with other symptoms can be a good indicator. However, endometriomas large enough to see on ultrasound may or may not be present even if the extent of endometriosis is severe. Endometriosis can ONLY be definitively diagnosed by exploratory laparoscopy or a more extensive pelvic/abdominal surgery. It's also worth noting that the extent of endometriosis is not correlated with the severity of symptoms; some women have mild endometriosis and a lot of pain, and others have severe endometriosis and little/no pain or other symptoms.

The reason this is worth asking your OB/GYN about it you have ANY of the other symptoms is because, beyond the pain, the biggest issue with endometriosis is infertility. Something like 30-40% of women with fertility issues have endometriosis. The saddest thing about that is that while endometriosis is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, appropriate treatment (usually birth control pills, sometimes surgery) can often halt the progression. It's often not diagnosed though until a woman has had it for many years, and by that point it has sometimes progressed to the point where infertility is a serious issue. In fact, it is frequently only diagnosed once a woman has been trying to conceive for a long time without success.

Take it from someone who knows - this is worth asking your doctor about if you have any of the other symptoms.

Strawberry
04-01-2012, 04:42 AM
Hi Julie,

I've had exactly the same thing that you describe. I was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis in February which was located in my pelvic ligaments (hence the pain when running; fortunately, it was only minimal so the surgeon was able to extract it all. You really should speak to a doctor about it as it isn't a normal symptom of exercising/running. The only way they can diagnose endometriosis is via a laparoscopy which they have to do under a general anaesthetic; endometriosis is too small to show up on a scan.

It's also worth looking on a few websites to learn more about the condition.

Good luck :hug: