why do we get diarrhea during period
Real talk here, folks: getting your period isnвt exactly the relaxing week of lounging about in white yoga pants that tampon ads would seem to imply. Aunt Flo often brings cramps, headaches, nausea and for some women, even the discomfort diarrhea. Letвs break down why that is, and what you can do to settle your gut during your menstrual period. What causes diarrhea during periods? Many painful period problems like cramps and diarrhea can come back to the same culprit: prostaglandins. These hormone-like chemicals are released by the uterus before and during menstruation. When they trigger contractions in the uterine walls, it helps slough off the womb lining that you shed as a period. If your body produces an excess of these prostaglandins, it can cause period pain. Itвs not just the uterus thatвs vulnerable to these chemicals: they can also irritate the nearby bowel. And when that happens, you get diarrhea. Another factor is the drop in levels of the hormone progesterone right before a period. In the premenstrual phase, progesterone levels are elevated to keep your digestion moving slowly (often resulting in constipation). When progesterone levels drop, your bowel begins to be active again. If you get diarrhea in the early stages of your period, your gut may still be reeling from the drop-off of progesterone levels. Diarrhea caused by your period doesnвt usually last long, so it doesnвt always need special treatment. Still, you can help yourself feel better by instituting a few house rules to support your gut.
Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of liquids each day, hopefully water. Sports drinks and oral rehydration can also help you replace lost salt. Avoid oily foods and dairy products. Avoid vegetables and fruits like cabbage, broccoli, prunes and berries that can cause gas and worsen your diarrhea. Save these for when you feel better! Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can irritate the gut. Caffeine also has the effect of exacerbating menstrual cramps. With the right timing, itвs possible to nip some of your period symptoms in the bud. A type of over-the-counter pain relief called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work by reducing the production of prostaglandins. Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen can help improve not only period pain and cramps, but also the gastrointestinal (GI) upsets caused by prostaglandins. In order to be most effective, you need to take these a few days before your period actually begins. The only catch is that NSAIDs can sometimes cause GI problems as a side effect, so check with your doctor if youвre not sure you can take these. Should I see a doctor for period diarrhea? Diarrhea during a period is often just your bodyвs response to normal hormone fluctuations but not always. For example, women with underlying GI tract conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often find that their symptoms are exacerbated during the menstrual period.
On the other hand, gynecological conditions notably endometriosis can also cause diarrhea during menstruation. If youвve been having troublesome diarrhea with your periods for more than three months, see your doctor to make sure thereвs nothing else going on. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms during the menstrual cycle, or even have the same ones each month. While some folks donвt experience any discomfort at all, others have to put up with diarrhea each month thanks to their period. With the right treatment at home, it is possible to get relief or even prevent this uncomfortable GI upset. But if either the pain or the other physical symptoms around your periods are interfering with your daily life, and home remedies arenвt helping, then thatвs not OK. See a doctor to see what treatments are available to help you with these menstrual symptoms.
Dear Reader, Not only can women experience cramping, bloating, and feeling lousy during their period в sometimes they have the pleasure of other symptoms like loose stools. While many women experience few or no PMS symptoms, for some, PMS symptoms are enough to make a person wonder why human bodies can be so cruel. There may in fact be a physiological link between menstruation and diarrhea. Shortly before a woman's period begins, the cells forming the lining of the uterus begin to produce more prostaglandins. These hormone-like compounds perform a variety of functions including stimulating the smooth muscles in the uterus to contract and expel the accumulated uterine lining.
During menstruation, the cells lining the uterus breakdown and release large amounts of prostaglandins to slough off and expel the uterine lining. If the body makes more prostaglandins than it needs, a woman is likely to experience stronger cramping and perhaps pain during her period (because larger amounts of prostaglandins will cause the uterus to contract more strongly). An additional side effect of producing too many prostaglandins is that some may enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Since the bowels are lined with smooth muscle, excess prostaglandins may also cause diarrhea by stimulating the large intestines and bowels to contract and expel their contents. Excessive prostaglandins could also cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting. What fun! It is helpful to know that there are no dangerous health consequences if the body makes too many prostaglandins, besides the discomfort that may be experienced. The symptoms of excess prostaglandins (abdominal pain, loose stools, etc. ) may be relieved by resting, using a heating pad on the lower abdomen or back, eating a well-balanced diet, getting moderate exercise, and/or taking medications that relieve swelling в like ibuprofen. Hopefully one of these solutions results in a more comfortable period next month! Best Wishes, Alice!
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