Abdominal cramps are common with menstruation, but they can also happen during and after menopause. They can be a symptom of many different conditions, from uterine fibroids to endometriosis. They can also be a symptom of a stomach virus or food poisoning.

Perimenopause occurs when your body begins to transition into menopause. It takes 7 years, on average, but may last up to 14.

Your hormones fluctuate up and down during perimenopause, impacting your menstrual cycle and triggering other symptoms, like cramping.

Your periods will taper off in the months leading up to menopause. You enter menopause when you haven’t had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.

The symptoms you usually experience with your menstrual cycle may intensify during perimenopause. Along with cramping, you may experience:

  • breast soreness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headaches
  • hot flashes
  • shifts in mood
  • vaginal dryness

If your periods have stopped and a healthcare professional has confirmed that you’re in menopause, your cramps are likely a sign of another condition.

Most of the time, cramps are nothing serious. You should pay attention to them, though, especially if they don’t go away.

Consult a healthcare professional if you have ongoing, severe, or unexplained cramps or if there are other symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, bloody urine, or bloody stool.

Gastrointestinal distress

A stomach virus, food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, or another gastrointestinal ailment can cause cramps in your lower abdomen. These cramps usually occur with additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are growths that form in the wall of the uterus. They aren’t usually cancerous. Although fibroids typically develop earlier in life, it’s still possible to experience fibroids after menopause.

You may also experience more frequent or difficult urination, constipation, or lower back pain.


Endometriosis occurs when uterine-like tissue grows in other parts of your body, such as your ovaries or pelvis.

Symptoms often subside during menopause. However, many people who’ve gone through menopause still report having endometriosis symptoms.

Some research suggests that people who use hormone therapy during menopause may experience increased endometriosis symptoms.

Ovarian and uterine (endometrial) cancers

Although certain cancers can cause abdominal cramps, cramps alone aren’t a reason to assume you have cancer. It’s important to consider whether you’re experiencing other symptoms.

Ovarian cancer can also cause:

  • bloating
  • difficulty eating or feeling full faster than usual
  • persistent urge to urinate or frequent urination
  • vaginal bleeding

Uterine cancer can also cause:

  • feeling a lump or mass in your abdomen
  • pelvic pain
  • unintentional weight loss
  • vaginal bleeding

Your healthcare professional will likely do a physical exam, which could include an internal pelvic exam.

They may recommend additional tests, including:

If your healthcare professional suspects cancer, you may need a procedure to remove a piece of tissue from your uterus or ovaries (biopsy). A pathologist will look at the tissue under a microscope to determine if it’s cancerous.

Your healthcare professional might recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Warmth can also help soothe your discomfort. Try putting a heating pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen.

You can also try exercise if you are not in too much pain. Walking and other physical activities help relieve discomfort as well as ease stress, which tends to make cramps worse.

If you have cramps, it could mean that you’re still getting your period. This can occur even if you previously thought that you’d entered menopause.

Seek medical care if you have cramps accompanied by other symptoms, like heavy vaginal bleeding, severe bloating, or unintentional weight loss.

Your healthcare professional can conduct tests to find out what’s going on. Then, they can prescribe a treatment that relieves your cramps and addresses the underlying cause.