Q:

Why do women have abdominal cramps after periods?

A:

Abdominal cramps after a period has ended can be a sign of endometriosis, according to WebMD. Caused by uterine tissue growing outside of the uterus, endometriosis can cause cramping before and after periods as well as after urination, sexual intercourse or after bowel movements. Other causes for cramping after a period include fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease and certain sexually transmitted infections, according to MedlinePlus.

Some types of intrauterine devices, such as those made with copper, can also cause abnormal cramping after the period has ended, according to MedlinePlus. If this is the cause, a doctor may recommend removing the IUD or switching to a hormonal IUD that minimizes the chance of side effects.

It is important to contact a doctor for any pain that continues after a period has ended for evaluation, according to MedlinePlus. During an appointment a doctor may perform a pelvic evaluation, vaginal culture, laparoscopy, CBC blood count and an ultrasound to determine the cause of the pain. In some cases, such as endometriosis and fibroids, surgery may be required to remove the tissue that is causing the pain. If the cause for cramping is a sexually transmitted infection, the doctor prescribes medication to treat the infection.

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