Digestive problems during menstruation: is this normal?

Feeling bloated, heavy, tired and tugging in your lower abdomen? You're probably suffering from digestive problems during your period.

Why do digestive disorders occur during menstruation?

An estimated 80% of women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is a set of symptoms that occur a week or even a few days before the first day of menstruation. PMS symptoms vary from woman to woman, but among the most common are sore breasts, acne, and psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, stress and sadness. And among these PMS symptoms are the notorious digestive disorders.

Hormonal fluctuations influence the intestines and create these notorious digestive problems. Before the onset of menstruation, progesterone levels rise, causing bloating and constipation. Hormonal fluctuations also modify intestinal flora, leading to flatulence. At the start of menstruation, prostaglandins take control, enabling the uterine mucosa to be expelled. But these hormones also spread outside the uterus to the intestines, which can lead to those famous episodes of diarrhoea at the start of the period.

What types of digestive problems are associated with menstruation?

Digestive disorders evolve with the cycle and hormonal fluctuations before and during menstruation. Of course, not all women are affected by these genes.

Diarrhea and menstruation

At the very start of menstruation, the production of prostaglandin, the hormone responsible for the muscular contractions needed to expel the endometrium (uterine mucosa), causes diarrhea during menstruation. The hormone prostaglandin also acts on the muscles of the digestive tract, which can cause diarrhoea.

Heartburn before the period

Some women also experience heartburn before their period. This is due to an increase in progesterone before the period, which creates bloating and alters the intestinal flora. You may also experience other symptoms before your period, such as the famous "pre-menstrual rumbling tummy".

Gas and flatulence during your period

During your period, you may also experience gas and flatulence. The latter is also due to the secretion of progesterone, which, as explained above, creates bloating and gas and modifies the intestinal flora. This generally results in a swollen belly during menstruation.

Constipation and stomach upsets

If at the start of your period you can more easily be prone to diarrhoea, a few days before the start of your period, it's common to be prone to constipation with the increase in progesterone blood concentration. With the hormonal change, transit slows down, causing food to stagnate in the digestive tract and ferment, leading to possible bloating and constipation.

What remedies are available for digestive problems during menstruation?

Although digestive problems before the menstrual period are very unpleasant, there are fortunately solutions available to make the symptoms less unpleasant or even disappear.

Medicinal treatments

Certain hormonal contraceptives can help reduce menstrual pain. Certain medications, such as antispasmodics, can help reduce painful spasms.

For constipation, there are laxatives, and conversely, if you suffer from diarrhea, you can use slow-release drugs such as smecta.

If you experience pain during your period, you can use medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. If the pain is too intense, consult your doctor.

Natural treatments

Diet plays a very important role in the overall well-being of your cycle. So, if you're prone to digestive problems before or during your period, adapting your diet is the way to go. Encourage a good intake of fiber by eating more healthily and limiting excessively fatty foods. An anti-inflammatory diet also helps to improve digestive comfort. Remember, too, to chew your food well to facilitate digestion.

Practicing a sport during your period (if you can) also helps stimulate intestinal transit and protect your belly from digestive disorders.

You can also use essential oils to reduce menstrual painYou can also use essential oils to reduce menstrual pain, relax your muscles and ease transit and digestion.

Finally, the dry hot water bottle remains a must-have if you have stomach ache during your period.

When should you consult your doctor about menstrual digestive problems?

As with menstrual pain, if your digestive problems are too severe and prevent you from leading a normal life, consult your doctor. Similarly, if your symptoms worsen over the years, consult your doctor. These health problems shouldn't be a taboo subject: discuss them with a specialist professional so that you can find a solution to these ailments!

FAQs on digestive problems during menstruation

Why does my stomach hurt when I have my period?

The period before and during your period is often a source of pain. The pain is caused by contractions of the uterus as the endometrium is expelled.

What digestive problems are associated with menstruation?

Digestive problems during menstruation are very common. They include bloating, gas and flatulence, constipation, diarrhea and heartburn.

Why do I have gas during my period?

It's the increase in progesterone levels before and during the period that will create bloating and gas.

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