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Here’s why you might be feeling abdominal or pelvic cramping

Abdominal or pelvic cramping is pain in the stomach or lower stomach that comes and goes.

The cause

One of the most common causes of abdominal or pelvic cramping is period cramps, which occur during menstruation when the uterus contracts to shed its lining. Ovulation is another cause of abdominal or pelvic cramping; this can happen when an egg is released from an ovary. Women with endometriosis or uterine fibroids may also experience cramping related to their condition.

There are a number of other common causes for abdominal cramping not related to fertility, so it may be a good idea to call your healthcare provider about any cramping that lasts more than a few days, or is overly intense.


If the pain goes away in a few days, or if it comes before or around the time of your menstrual period, it’s probably okay to find ways to ease your pain without calling your provider. Cramping around ovulation, when it happens across multiple cycles, is almost certainly ovulation pain.

You’ll want to contact your provider if your pain doesn’t go away after a few days, or if you experience any severe pain, or if you get any other symptoms that are unusual, as these may be signs of a serious problem. It’s also a good idea to contact a healthcare provider about any intense abdominal cramping during early pregnancy.

  • David H. Barad, MD, MS. “Pelvic Pain” MerckManuals. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., 2017. Web.
  • “Pelvic Pain.” MedlinePlus. US National LIbrary of Medicine, Jan 2017. Web.

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