Periods can already be a painful experience for most of us with raging hormones to cramps to messy leaks but with all of that also bowel problems are also a major concern! Constipation, Bloating and Diarrhea can be common issues that arise before or during the menstrual cycle. Luckily most of these issues can be taken care of before or during periods with few lifestyle changes.
Why Does This Happen?
Well, first we need to understand that constipation, diarrhea and bloating during periods are not digestive issues. These problems are largely or solely due to certain kinds of hormones. Changes in the level of these hormones during periods cause problems like thickening of uterine walls, contraction of intestines and water retention in the body resulting in above-mentioned issues.
Let’s start with bloating.
Bloating is one of the most common problems women face before or during periods. This also results in lower self-esteem and mixed with hormonal changes contribute to our extreme mood swings. But what causes Bloating?
Right before the start of your menstrual cycle, levels of sex hormones namely – progesterone and estrogens, both important for pregnancy and maintenance of your health, declines. Progesterone’s function is to prepare the body for fertilization of the egg, like the growth of blood vessels forming the lining of the womb and ensuring secretion of the concerned gland to provide nutrients that nourish the embryo. Before the menstruation cycle when one is not pregnant, ovaries start to secrete progesterone and when the levels significantly drop, the growth of uterine wall or the lining of the womb stops to grow causing it to break down resulting in periods. The decrease in progesterone results in the body to retain water as well as salt. The cells swell up due to the retention of water which results in bloating.
Regular exercise, avoiding salty food and eating potassium-rich diet can help prevent water retention and hence reduce period bloating.
Why Constipation or Diarrhea?
Constipation is a result of changes in levels of progesterone. If the body builds up the amount of progesterone which is usually around the time of ovulation and start of the menstrual cycle, it can cause the food to move slowly resulting in constipation.
However, if the body loses high amounts of progesterone, the factor that slows down the movement of food, it can result in rapid movement causing diarrhea. Another cause might be the overproduction of prostaglandins, that is a chemical produced during periods which contacts the uterus and hence the intestines causing the process of movement of food faster resulting in diarrhea.
It must be noted that prostaglandins are also responsible for period cramps when produced in high numbers. As it contracts the blood vessels in the uterus, the muscle layer contracts which can also cause headaches, nausea and vomiting apart from diarrhea.
Every individual has different experiences due to different changes in the body which that can be affected by the weather, food they consume or overall functioning of the body. Some might have lesser effects on their body because of the rise and decline of progesterone and prostaglandins and feel lesser discomfort while for others it might be more problematic.
In certain cases, constipation might end just before the start of the period as the ovaries are shedding progesterone and hence the build-up is slowly secreted from the body.
How To Cure Constipation Before Periods?
- Avoid drinks that dehydrate your body like caffeine and alcohol and increasing water intake.
- Maintaining a mindful diet year long can help save you from many problems that are associated especially with periods. As long as you intake right amounts of fiber, protein, carbs, fats, and minerals your body becomes stronger to fight against diseases and maintains the appropriate flow of hormones or at least the increase and decrease is not harmful enough to cause bodily stress.
- Few oral contraceptive pills or hormonal medicines can be advised by the doctor if you face extreme hormonal changes. There are specific medicines that can be prescribed by your gynecologist depending n your specific needs.
How To Cure Constipation During Periods?
Changing your diet can be the best weapon to fight against constipation before periods.
- Increase in fiber diet that helps build stool and decrease in consumption of fats and sugar can be very effective. Including fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, and raspberries with whole grains can be really helpful.
- Healthy water intake can help to soften stool which is easier to pass through even when the movement of food is slow.
- Breathing Exercises are also important to reduce high amounts of progesterone.
- It is advised to avoid caffeine, alcohol, white bread and dairy products if the cause you constipation.
It is very important to understand how your body reacts to different kinds of intakes. It is only possible by trail, test and observes method to really understand your body process. Also as we age, the body keeps on changing. There might be a few things that your body is unable to digest or take in as you grow older. Consultation with a dietician might also help to mindfully decide your diet.
Diarrhea can, however, start as well as last with your periods and you can cure it with home remedies like increasing water intake, reducing intake of lactose, sugar, and caffeine. If it still prevails medication can be taken with the consultation of a doctor.
It is always advised to keep track of your periods and corresponding body changes. There are a lot of conditions that important to be detected and cured. There might be common symptoms of these conditions that might match with other diseases and remain undiscovered and cause discomfort in the body. Heavy periods, irregular cycles, longer cycles, extreme pain, unexpected spotting, migraines or irregular bowel moments might be signals from your body indicating something to be alert of. There are ample of mobile applications that can help you to figure out if there is any pattern of these symptoms corresponding to your periods. Ample data to back up can help your gynecologist to detect any problems.