An unwanted complication
Many women suffer from symptoms of diarrhoea during their period. But it doesn’t
have to be accepted as just a normal part of the monthly cycle. There are different
things you can do to alleviate the discomfort so you can feel confident and in control.
Remember to stay well hydrated and a healthy diet and regular exercise can keep
your tummy and your bowels happy all the time — especially during your period.
Why does it happen?
Scientists are still unsure about the cause of bowel complaints around menstruation, but it has been suggested that the hormone Progesterone, which is produced during periods, might be responsible. Progesterone causes changes in the way the muscles around the wall of the gut contract, so it can make the digestive system more sensitive, causing an increase in diarrhoea.
Should I be concerned about it?
There’s no reason to worry about getting diarrhoea at the same time as your period. About a third of women experience gastrointestinal symptoms around the time of menstruation, including diarrhoea and constipation. The most common of these is diarrhoea – experienced by 19% of women1. For women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome the problem can be exacerbated. Between 32% and 45% of women who suffer from IBS complain of diarrhoea around the time of their period2
1 Whitehead W.E. et al (1990), Evidence for exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome during menses, Gastroenterology Vol 98, p. 1485-1489
2 Kane S.V. et al(1998), The menstrual cycle and its effect on inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome: a prevalence study, American Journal of Gastroenterology Vol 93, p.1867-1872