Do periods mess with your digestion? Rely on these expert tips
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 23, 2023
Increased bowel movements and a gassy stomach may be common during periods. You may even find yourself dealing with a rise in flatulence. The connection between periods and digestion is real, suggests an expert.
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Do you know why periods give you digestion problems?
Well, blame it on your hormones! How does this work? Well, it’s closely related to a decreased level of progesterone, and an increase in hormones called prostaglandins, which are released before your period. Prostaglandins cause contractions that help your uterus shed its lining. Sometimes, they also cause contractions in your intestines, which can cause a range of gastrointestinal tract (GI) symptoms, including diarrhea.
As a result:
- Your pooping patterns may change on your periods
- It may give you diarrhea
- It can even make you gassy
- Your period poop may smell bad
- You may even feel constipated.
All in all, your gastrointestinal system or your stomach and intestines get influenced by your menstrual cycle.
Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital Kharghar also tells HealthShots that one’s digestive system goes for a toss during menstruation. Periods tend to wreak havoc on your digestive system.
Here are some ways how your periods can attack your digestive system:
1. Bloating and constipation
This is commonly seen during the menstrual cycle, as progesterone slows down contractions of the bowel. This leads to the movement of food and gas also slowing down. Post that, everything gets backed up and one may end up feeling bloated and constipated.
2. Change in bowel movements
Dr Siddhartha says, “During menstruation, the body goes through various hormonal fluctuations. These changes impact the entire body, causing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms like digestive changes. Prostaglandins can contribute to diarrhoea during your period.”
Also, read: Is having periods without cramps normal? Here’s what a gynaecologist says
3. Period cramping
Did you know? Prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances, are released by the uterus and tend to trigger uncomfortable cramps. Not only this, you will also be shocked to know that it can even cause diarrhoea.
4. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Those women who already suffer from IBS will go through digestive disturbances during menses.
Here are some ways to calm the stomach during your periods, according to Dr Siddhartha
1. Eat high-fibre foods
It is imperative for you to eat foods packed with fibre like beans, broccoli, avocado, popcorn, whole grains, apples, berries, and even nuts. Eating these foods can ease the digestion process and bulk up your stool. This will help you regulate your bowel movements. Do not eat junk, spicy, processed, and canned food, since they can disrupt the digestion process.
Also, read: Change your period products THIS often to maintain hygiene
2. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine
Excess consumption of alcohol and caffeine can take a toll on your digestive system and lead to problems like dehydration. It is imperative for you to avoid these things at any cost.
3. Exercise daily
If you haven’t started exercising, it is the right time to do it!. Staying physically fit can help to relieve PMS-related bloating and discomfort, and regulate bowel movements.
While periods-related digestive issues are annoying, simply understanding that there’s a reason why your body is acting out of the ordinary is surely going to help!