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Dairy, exercise and pain

I have just started getting period like cramps when I exercise at times other than when I have my period. It seems this often happens the day after I eat dairy (usually ice-cream) in the evening. I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced this? And if it might be a symptom of endometriosis or something else? I have no digestive issues like diarrhoea or constipation, so don't think I am lactose intolerant or anything, just lower abdo pain, just like when I get my period, when I go for a run or do cardio type exercise.

I likely have endometriosis as I have dysmenorhea and infertility, I'd just like to understamd what is happening to cause this pain when I exercise.

I will try cutting out dairy, but I'd still like to understand why it is happening. If anyone could help I'd appreciate it.


  1. These are great questions, and I'm sorry you're having pain and cramps. It's hard to know exactly what's going on, so I'd definitely mention these symptoms to your doctor. But it's not uncommon for exercise to cause pelvic cramping or even spotting. One of our advocates spoke to an expert about this exact topic! The gynecologist explained how the uterus is a muscle and can cramp up like other muscles. Here are some articles you might find useful:

    As far as the ice cream goes, dairy seems to be a trigger for joint or pelvic pain for a lot of people who have endo or another inflammatory conditions. But t

    Food is a big source of pain for me, and a clinical dietitian, along with my gastroenterologist, helped me figure out what was making me feel the worst — along with dairy, wheat/gluten give me period-like cramps. Diet changes really decreased my menstrual-like pain and joint inflammation. I definitely suggest meeting with your general doctor or OB/GYN to see if they can help. They might be able to see you up with a dietitian or physical therapist who works with people who have endo. That's what helped me! Wishing you well 😀 - Keri ( team member)

    1. Thank you so much Keri. I have spent a long time googling and researching this but couldn't find anything that explained what was the reason for the cramping. It's so nice to know what and why something is happening in your body. Really appreciate your response!!!

      1. This is exactly what started for me this year and it has gotten to the point that I can only go for short slow walks and sit for a few hours a day or it will escalate again and hurt even when I am not exercising. Even if dairy is causing some GI issues, that isn't normal. If you have endo then diet may ease symptoms but it doesn't stop it or treat it, it is progressing inside. It seems this is a sign that things are getting worse and I strongly suggest you find an endometriosis expert, not a normal gynecologist, and discuss your symptoms earlier than later because it will reduce the length of time it negatively impacts your quality of life.

        1. Very very well said! Period cramps should not ever be this awful! I hope you are able to get some relief soon. No one should have to live in that much pain. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story!

          Amber ( team moderator)

      2. I started getting cramps with exercise about a year ago and it took a lot of work and 14 doctors to finally decide on excision surgery with hysterectomy. I was spending 80% of my time lying down because even sitting was triggering cramps. I had what turned out to be a pedunculated endometrial polyp inside my uterus but no doctor could ever say for sure what was causing the severe cramping with activity. It is just amazing how little we really know about women's pain. Ultimately, the pain was coming from tight pelvic floor muscles that would spasm when I did too much. Pelvic pt and stretching did help keep it at bay but I decided on excision surgery with hysterectomy because I just wanted to remove any and all possible sources of pain. I had much more endo than anticipated and also fibrosis all around my bladder and ureter and attaching my bladder to my cervix and uterus. Plus my left ovary was attached to my abdominal wall with endo. Both uterosacral ligaments were affected. One with endo and the other with fibrosis. Less than 2 weeks post surgery and things are already improved because pain isn't being transfered between organs. When my bladder spasms, only my bladder spasms instead of my entire pelvic floor. That is giving me a lot of hope that I can finally end this cycle of every increasing pain and less and less activity. Until I finally had a biopsy of the growth in my uterus and surgery that removed the fibrosis every doctor but 1 told me that the growth was a fibroid not even worth talking about and were completely unaware of the presence of the fibrosis tissue. It turns out that both the polyp and fibrosis have a significant likelihood of becoming malignant.

        I don't know if I needed a hysterectomy or if just removing the polyp would have been enough, but at 48 I just wanted whatever was the best option for stopping the pain and bleeding and getting my life back. It is really difficult for me to not know exactly what was causing my symptoms and I still don't know what life will be after full recovery, but I already have evidence that things will be better. At 10 days post-op I am basically back to where I was pre-op because I was so limited prior to surgery. Here's hoping that each day I will daily regain a bit of my life back instead of slowly losing it like before.

        You deserve a rich full quality of life! It may take a lot of grit to find teh right doctors but they do exist.

        Good luck

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