Last updated on July 27th, 2018 at 12:55 am
Question: What causes lower back pain and stomach cramps at the same time?
Lower back pain and cramps together in the abdomen can occur for many reasons.
If you’ve already passed 13 – 16 years, when most girls see their first period, a lower back pain and tummy cramps will occur around ovulation, before and during menstrual period. Also, after menstrual period has ended, some women may still experience belly cramps.
Belly cramps and back pain that occurs during your menstrual cycle is because of the rise and fall of hormones.
Hormones like estrogen and progesterone have a vital role to play during your menstrual cycle. One important function is to prepare your uterus for your next menstrual period or pregnancy.
Both hormones will build up the endometrium that gets washed out from your vagina during menses.
The truth is, before your period will commence, a lot of girls will have already noticed PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, abdominal cramps, back pain, mood change and a dry vagina.
While back pain and cramps will mean your menstrual period is a few days away, these symptoms could mean a serious problem.
Endometriosis, pregnancy, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, urinary tract infection and an ovarian cyst may cause severe back pain with stomach cramps.
This article explains the reasons why you have low back pain and cramps at the same time, when to worry, danger signs you should know.
What causes lower back pain and stomach cramps at the same time?
If you have pain in your back and abdomen, these are the possible causes
1. Your period is coming
In women and young girls, abdominal pain is common days before period will starts. Though severity may vary from woman to woman, you may also feel pain in your back.
If you just started having menstruation for the first time, don’t be too concerned about this kind of pain. In most women, it’s normal and will become less severe as your period ends.
Here’s an email I received from one of my readers
Hi Dr. Dunn,
I have been getting pain in my abdomen for about a week now and my period will start in few days time. Does this mean I’m pregnant because I’ve never had sex before?
If you are already a week close to your period and experience back pain and cramps, it’s normal.
During your menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone level begin to fall days before your next period. Because of this drop in hormones, you may start to feel different few days before your next period.
Some of the symptoms you will experience (a few days to a week before your period will start) are breast pain, mood changes with anxiety or depression, headache, body weakness, and belly cramps.
What to do?
If you are feeling pain in your abdomen before and during your period, you should know that many other girls feel this way. It mostly occurs because of hormones changes and effect of prostaglandins on your uterus.
Pain will not be the same for all ladies, and you may have mild cramps or very bad menstrual cramps.
In most cases, you should now prepare for your next period and use pain relief medications. It’s advisable that you take pain drugs some days before your period will start. These drugs (NSAIDs) act by inhibiting prostaglandins that contract the uterus and make you feel pain.
2. You are pregnant
It’s possible your back pain and stomach cramps may be a sign of pregnancy. If you’ve not had sexual intercourse, surely, there is no reason to think about pregnancy.
However, unprotected sexual intercourse with back pain and mild abdominal cramps weeks later is a sign you could be pregnant.
If you are yet to miss your period, signs of pregnancy are not easy to perceive. However, you may begin to feel different due to elevated estrogen and progesterone in early pregnancy.
Symptoms of pregnancy are
- Mild spotting before your next period
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling unwell few days before menstrual period starts
- Food aversion
- Increased vaginal clear watery discharge
If you have back and stomach pain with these symptoms it could be pregnancy.
What to do?
One easy way to tell if you’re pregnant is missing your period for 1, 2 or 3 days. Though your period may be delayed for some other reason, if you are having pregnancy symptoms you should confirm with a pregnancy test.
Before missing your period, it will be harder to tell if you are pregnant. Sometimes, you may feel no symptoms at all and test negative for pregnancy. Be sure to recheck days later (after missing period), because you may be pregnant.
A common cause of pain in the back, waist region, and the abdomen is endometriosis. It is very common and affects about 10 percent of women in the United Kingdom.
During your menstrual period, blood usually flows through your cervix towards your vagina. However, in endometriosis, blood may flow in the opposite direction, towards your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and abdomen.
If this occurs, you may get pain anytime in your menstrual cycle, especially during your period, sexual intercourse and while urinating.
Other symptoms are back pain that may worsen close to your period, and difficulty in getting pregnant.
What do do?
See an Obs/Gyn consultant for evaluation and treatment options. If you have severe cramps, pain relief medications (ibuprofen and naproxen) may help.
4. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease is common in a lot of girls, with about 1 million women having PID yearly in the United States.
PID means vaginal infections (commonly chlamydia and gonorrhea) that affects your womb (uterus), fallopian tube (oviduct), cervix and your ovaries.
This usually occurs if you’ve failed to treat your vaginal infections or avoid the recommended yearly check for sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections are the most common causes of PID, though occasionally, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis may cause pelvic infections.
In fact, if you already had sexual intercourse without a condom, it’s advisable you inform your doctor if you feel pain in your back and stomach all the time.
Other PID symptoms are
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Green or yellowing vaginal discharge
What to do?
Quickly, you should let your doctor know. Treatment is by use of antibiotics for at least a week, though could be longer in women with complications or severe infections.
PID may result in damage to your fallopian tubes if not quickly treated. Other complications are infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and pus in your abdomen
5. Ovarian cyst
An ovarian cyst may cause you to have back pain or stomach cramps. This commonly occurs if your cyst gets bigger and burst open into your abdomen.
Symptoms of ovarian cyst are
- Abdominal bloating
- Painful urination
- Pain while having intercourse
- Irregular periods
- Back pain
Still worried you have back pain and stomach cramps together? Ask Us!!!