Cramping a week before period starts

by Denise
(Chicago)

I'm 48 and have not had any change in the length of my cycle (either how long I bleed or the number of days between periods).

My period has also not changed in quantity. But, in the last 6 months or so, I get frequent cramping on and off for a week before my period starts. Some days the cramping is so significant that I'll swear on my period.

Is this a premenopause sign? What does it possibly indicate as far as progesterone and estrogen levels go?

Thanks!

Comments for Cramping a week before period starts

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Jul 30, 2010
Cramping a week before period starts
by: Wray

Hi Denise Cramping is caused by prostaglandins, these also cause the uterine cramps we get in childbirth. Progesterone suppresses them, which is why they don't occur while pregnant, and shouldn't occur prior to bleeding. But if the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen is out of balance, ie too much oestrogen which is a pro-inflammatory hormone, they can occur. Anovulatory cycles start occurring in our mid 30's, with increasing frequency as we get older, until such time as we stop ovulating. Without ovulation no ovarian progesterone is made, but oestrogen continues to be made, thus skewing the balance. We all react to dropping progesterone levels so differently, I never had any cramping, but a host of other unpleasant symptoms instead! 51 is the average age menopause occurs, so it could be another 3 or more years before you reach it. Or it could be round the corner. The age your mother became menopausal will give you an idea of when you will. Please have a look at our page on Peri-menopause. You might like to look at our Menopause page too. If you do decide to use progesterone, please first read this page on Oestrogen Dominance. It can occur when first using progesterone, but not in every case. If you do use it I recommend between 100-200mg/day, although you might need the higher amount to begin with. The cramps sound bad! Although it's customary to stop the progesterone once bleeding has started, I always advise rubbing it all over the cramping area to help. This won't disrupt the cycle. Take care Wray

Sep 28, 2010
Cramping before my period
by: Anonymous

I have been having the same problem mentioned by Denise. I am also 48 years old. Horrible cramps starting a week before my cycle. It started almost 6 months ago when I stopped to take the prometrium pill. The reason why I stopped the prometrium it's because I was having my period twice a month for all the time I was taking the prescription pill.

I'm also using the estrogen patch (vivelle dot 0.1) for the last two years. My period has been the same, with no changes at all for the last 20 years, but my mood has been changing making me so miserable especially the 10 days before my cycle starts. Is there any suggestion, or other medications I should try? I also like to know if there are any chaces to get pregnant when taking estrogen and progesteron hormons replacement. thank you. Vivienne.

Oct 05, 2010
Cramping before my period
by: Wray

Hi Vivienne The cramping is caused by prostaglandins, progesterone suppresses them, which is why they started when you stopped the prometrium. You don't say when you took the prometrium, but it should have been at ovulation, for the next 14 days. If you were taking it before this, it can disrupt a cycle, for more info please see How to use progesterone cream. I would say the mood changes you are getting are in part due to the extra oestrogen you are getting via the patch, this suppresses progesterone, and partly due to being in peri-menopause. For more info on this please see our page on Peri-menopause. I don't believe any woman needs extra oestrogen, we get far too much as it is, in our food, water, air and the skin care we use. For more info please see the website Our Stolen Future. And please read our page on HRT too. The chances of falling pregnant at 48 are quite slim, as there are many months when ovulation does not take place. Unless there's an egg to fertilise, no conception will take place. There are means of finding out if you are ovulating, taking the temperature is one. This rises once ovulation has taken place, as progesterone increases temps slightly. Oestrogen depresses them. The other is a mini microscope, which shows a change in the pattern of either saliva or vaginal mucus, see here. Take care Wray

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