Diarrhea during period
Menstruation (or period) is directed by the hormonal changes in the female reproductive system. Some women experience short and lighter periods, while others have long and heavier cycles. The flow may also change over a period of time. Bloating, cramps, mood swings, fatigue, etc. are some of the symptoms you may experience before and during your period. The cycle may also affect your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) resulting in diarrhea and abdominal pain. Though painful and unpleasant, these changes during your monthly cycle are completely normal.
Some women have moderate digestive discomfort due to their menstrual cycle, while others face serious problems. Unfortunately, you do not have control over your hormones. When the hormone levels settle down after your period, your bowel movement also returns to normal. Irrespective of the symptoms, you can take measures to treat them or probably prevent them entirely.
What causes diarrhea before period?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms that many women experience a few days before their period. It affects your emotions, behavior, and physical health. Changes in some hormones can cause irritability, back pain, mood swings, and anxiety. Most PMS symptoms develop one to two weeks before your cycle.
The lining of your uterus starts to break down a few days before your period and releases the hormones called prostaglandin. These hormones when released in excess affect your digestive system. Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, bloating, and diarrhea may also occur a few days before your period.
What causes diarrhea during period?
During the period, as the uterus sheds its lining, it contracts. Prostaglandin hormones trigger the phenomenon of uterus contraction. These hormones also regulate the contraction and relaxation of the digestive tract muscles. This often results in diarrhea.
Irregular bowel movements can happen when these hormones relax smooth muscle tissues as your period begins. It also decreases the rate of food absorption, which might be another reason for frequent bathroom visits. In a nutshell, the imbalance in prostaglandin causes you to poop often and experience diarrhea.
Can diarrhea continue after period ends?
If you experience symptoms after your period, it’s not uncommon. You may feel cramps in your lower abdomen and back. Your thighs and hips may ache as well. Nausea and light-headedness can be followed by cramping and aching. You may also experience stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea even after your period ends.
Post-period symptoms aren’t typically serious. However, it is imperative to monitor them, especially if they last longer.
Can menstrual cramps cause diarrhea?
Menstrual cramps are pains that you experience in your lower abdomen. They can arise before your cycle starts and can last for 2 to 3 days. Your cramps may be aching or throbbing, or it can be sharp or dull. Symptoms may vary from mild discomfort to extreme pain.
All the symptoms of menstrual discomfort are related to hormonal changes. Diarrhea during period is often linked to menstrual cramps. The chemicals released during this time cause uterus and intestine to contract, thus affecting your digestive system.
Why is there blood in my stool during period?
During menstruation, the production of prostaglandin increases. This results in uterus contraction. The excess release of these hormones leads to pain and menstrual cramps.
When prostaglandin levels are high, they can reach your bloodstream and then travel to other parts of your body, including the bowels. This is why you see blood in your stool during period.
PMS, eating habits and changes in hormone levels are the reason for your smelly poop during your cycle. Your period poop differs from your regular poop. Usually, it is more frequent and loose. Menstrual blood has a smell too, and it may contribute to foul poop smell.
What are other digestive issues during period?
Period can cause havoc on your digestive system. You may experience other digestive issues too, both before and during your menstrual cycle. Some common ones are bloating, gas, constipation, and frequent bowel movements. With every cycle, these symptoms can vary. You may have diarrhea for a few cycles, while you may feel constipated over the next few. In most cases, the cause is the same hormone – prostaglandin. However, alteration in your diet may also play a role in these changes.
Some women experience diarrhea, while others face constipation. At times, the high levels of progesterone cause the muscle of your digestive tract to relax. This results in gas, bloating, and constipation. When this happens, your digestive tract is so comfortable that it does not contract and flush out the waste as it would usually, leaving stuff to stagnate.
Women who are more sensitive and experience depression or anxiety, are more likely to experience several GI symptoms. Being in good mental health can help during periods.
Is it normal to vomit during period?
Experiencing nausea during your period is fairly normal. Usually, it’s triggered by hormonal and chemical changes that take place during the menstrual cycle. Such symptoms are common and are not a cause for concern.
Excess prostaglandin during periods can cause nausea and vomiting. Apart from triggering pain and uneasiness, increased levels of prostaglandin do not pose any health risks.
If your nausea is accompanied by severe pain or fever, there might be an underlying condition. It is advisable to visit your doctor in that case.
How to prevent vomiting during period?
If you’re feeling nauseous during your cycle, there are things you can do that may help.
- Ginger has properties that can relieve stomach uneasiness and offer immediate relief. A perfect way to consume ginger is to make fresh ginger tea.
- Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration.
- Put a few pieces of cloves in your mouth and hold them for long. The scent and taste of cloves can bring immediate relief from vomiting. It also decreases mouth sensitivity. Drink clove tea to prevent vomiting.
- Vomiting brings an imbalance in the levels of numerous salts in your body. Drink a solution of sugar and salt to bring these levels back to normal. This can also avoid dehydration.
- Drink lemon water. You can add honey for taste if required. The minerals and vitamins in lemon serve as an obstacle to vomiting and thus stop it instantly.
- Chew fresh mint leaves. Mint relaxes the stomach muscles and also possesses antimicrobial properties.
How to stop diarrhea during period?
Menstrual diarrhea is not uncommon. As soon as your hormone levels get back to normal, your digestive system also functions normally. Even though this does not pose any health risk, you can take certain steps to offset the menstrual symptoms and treat diarrhea at home.
Some general tips are:
- Diarrhea may be caused by certain foods like dairy, spicy foods, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners. As the time for your cycle arrives, avoid consuming these foods.
- Consuming probiotic adds healthy bacteria into your intestine and may help eliminate diarrhea. The good bacteria reside in your intestinal tract and are vital for the regular functioning of your GI system.
- Keep yourself hydrated to counterbalance the loss of fluids due to diarrhea.
- Increase the intake of fiber-rich foods. Some examples are sweet potatoes, oats, berries, plums, kiwi, etc.
- Eating lighter meals more often may make it easier for your body to digest.
- Birth control pills prevent ovulation and also help in reducing certain painful symptoms during periods.
- Relieve yourself of stress as it can worsen your period symptoms, including indigestion. Practice meditation or yoga.
- Mild exercise can help relieve cramps by increasing the blood flow. It may help in your bowel movement too.
- Try some over the counter anti-diarrheal medicines depending on your symptoms. You can also take ibuprofen to ease your cramps and aches. However, if you have any other complications, consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
When to see a doctor?
Occasional diarrhea is totally common just before or after your cycle. But, if it is affecting your daily activities, it might be something else. There may be signs of some other gastrointestinal disorder, which can worsen during your period. Your doctor can help you find the cause and suggest appropriate treatment.
Consult a doctor if you have a tough time managing your symptoms or if you experience:
- Symptoms persist even after two or more days
- Mucus in your stool
- Severe abdominal pain or cramps
- Heavy periods
- Pain does not recede with over-the-counter medicines
Women may experience irregular bowel movements and other gastrointestinal problems during periods. Sometimes, symptoms may occur before the period also. Normally, this is due to higher levels of prostaglandin, which can induce cramps, diarrhea, and other GI problems. You can follow certain standard guidelines to reduce the symptoms and treat diarrhea.
In most cases, medical treatment is not required. However, if your symptoms are severe, you must visit a doctor or gynecologist. The health professionals can diagnose the underlying cause and provide you the suitable treatment.