Why You May Have Constipation or Diarrhea During Menstruation
Being a woman is difficult. When you add a monthly menstrual cycle to the mix, it can complicate things.
While a monthly period is a reminder of fertility, it’s also a pain in the abdomen.
Most women don’t enjoy having a period because of the symptoms associated with it. We’ve all heard of the cramping, bloating, cravings, and headaches.
But did you know women could suffer from diarrhea or constipation during that time of the month?
Diarrhea during a period can put a damper on your day. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to help relieve the discomfort.
Read along to learn more.
What Is the Menstrual Cycle?
A women’s menstrual cycle is the shedding of blood and tissue from the uterus lining through the vagina, according to Planned Parenthood. It typically occurs every month, but some birth control methods could stop it or reduce the frequency.
The menstrual cycle or period prepares a women’s body for pregnancy. But it’s a sign that you are not pregnant too.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone help control your cycle. If the matured egg remains unfertilized, the body sheds it during the period.
What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual syndrome is the emotional and physical symptoms experienced before and during a period, according to Planned Parenthood. The shift in hormone levels causes PMS symptoms.
Every women’s body is different. Some women get painful cramps, heavy bleeding, upset stomach, and acne. Other women barely notice any changes except for bleeding.
Physical PMS symptoms include:
- Aches or pains
- Cramping in the stomach area
- Sore or swollen breasts
PMS impacts emotions, as well. Sometimes irritability, crying, wanting to be alone, depression, or trouble concentrating takes place too.
Unfortunately, this list of symptoms is not exhaustive. How you feel during your period will differ from other women.
To relieve the symptoms of PMS, take an over the counter pain reliever, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, eat healthy foods, drink water, stay away from caffeine, sugar, salt, alcohol, take a multivitamin, and get rest.
What Is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is loose and runny bowel movements that occur three or more times in a day, according to MedlinePlus. It is sometimes accompanied by cramps or the urgent need to release your bowels.
Causes of diarrhea include bacteria from tainted water or food, an illness like the flu, parasites, or certain medications.
Hydrating with water and replacing lost electrolytes during diarrhea is essential.
If it persists for more than 48 hours, is accompanied by a fever, contains blood or black tar look, or severe pain, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation occurs if a person has three or fewer bowel movements in a week, according to MedlinePlus. Sometimes it causes pain and abdominal cramps.
To prevent constipation, drink water, eat more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, exercise, don’t hold your bowels, use laxatives only when told by your doctor, and find out if your medications cause constipation.
Why Do You Get Diarrhea During a Period?
A women’s menstrual cycle or period creates monthly symptoms that result in discomfort or severe pain. One of the lesser-known PMS symptoms is diarrhea.
Diarrhea happens during a period because of the changes in hormones, according to Health Essentials.
Prostaglandins cause smooth muscle tissue to relax at the start of the cycle. The relaxation of the muscles could lead to diarrhea if other factors like poor diet or bacteria contribute.
Why Do You Get Constipation During a Period?
For women with higher progesterone levels, the possibility of developing constipation during your menstrual cycle is there. The hormone promotes the growth and thickening of the uterus. The levels peak right before ovulation takes place.
You might notice constipation happens around your ovulation time.
But other health issues could contribute to period constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome and endometriosis might slow down your digestive system, according to Healthline.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes multiple symptoms and lasts for at least three months for a minimum of three days per month. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation.
Menstruating women might see the symptoms flare up during their period. Luckily the signs could lessen during menopause.
To prevent constipation, eat more fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Stay hydrated by drinking water or herbal teas. Cut back on caffeine, processed foods, sugar, salt, and alcoholic beverages.
If you suffer from IBS or Endometriosis, speak with your physician for treatment options.
All of these symptoms could be caused by endometriosis
If you have painful periods, heavy bleeding, diarrhea and constipation that tend to cycle with your period, and /or PMS- consider using a birth control pill. If you still have the symptoms on the pill this is very suggestive of endometriosis.
If you are considering pregnancy in the future you should be a valuated because endometriosis can negatively affect Fertility.
Possible Diarrhea and Constipation Treatment
Constipation and diarrhea are never enjoyable. To treat constipation, watch what you eat, stay hydrated, and try to relax. Stress can cause constipation or diarrhea. So taking care of yourself internally and externally might help your body remain balanced.
But treating constipation and diarrhea depend on what’s causing the problem. Although eating healthy, avoiding alcohol, processed or tainted food and water, helps it might not work for everyone.
If you have IBS, Endometriosis, or take medications, speak to your doctor.
Help Is Available
Women menstruate for three or four decades of their lives. The monthly loss of blood can take its toll on you. If you experience diarrhea during a period, talk to your OB/GYN to learn about treatment options.