Why your periods might upset your tummy
Periods can mess with your digestive system. And yes; as much as periods come with uncomfortable symptoms, period diarrhoea is totally a thing.
There are more common symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas and constipation during that time of the month.
- The why
In every menstrual cycle, the uterine wall sheds, causing your period. This shedding releases hormone-like compounds known as prostaglandins. Excess prostaglandins trigger squeezing of uterine muscles causing – sometimes painful – cramps.
This squeezing could spread to your bowels, causing movement of what the intestines contain; faecal matter. Additionally, not much time is given to allow the hardening of faecal matter. This is what causes loose stool.
As your period ends, the uterine lining begins to thicken once again. Progesterone hormone levels go up and are responsible for maintaining the thickness of the uterine wall.
As the progesterone levels escalate, the uterine muscle contractions come to a stop, slowing down your bowel movement. This ends your period diarrhoea and could even induce a feeling of fullness, bloating and constipation.
- Retroverted uterus
Normally, the uterus is positioned tipping directly above the bladder. For a small fraction of women, the uterus is tipped at an angle facing the end side of the bowels – a retroverted uterus.
A retroverted uterus is not a medical condition and one can live with without requiring any medical intervention. However, having a retroverted uterus could exacerbate period diarrhoea.
This is due to the fact that the uterus sits on the large intestines; uterine muscle contractions can subsequently cause stronger movement of the much nearer intestines
- How to cope
Upgrade fluid intake. Getting a hot water bottle could give relief to the cramps. You may obtain over the counter drugs to ease gas discomfort and restore ordinary stool only if there will be no interference with your health status.
Opting to switch up your diet, and mild exercise during that time of the month helps make tummy issues a little more bearable. This includes avoiding foods that trigger bloating such as beans and including more fibre rich food options.
- When to see a doctor
Life-disrupting diarrhoea always needs medical attention. Bloody diarrhoea, and serious abdominal pain could be a sign of endometriosis, an infectious disease and possibly a tumour.
Visit a gynaecologist for a clear diagnosis and effective management. Otherwise, period diarrhoea is nothing to worry about. You only have to cope with changed bathroom habits for those few days.
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