Reducing Ibs Symptoms During Your Period
Managing your IBS symptoms during your period is the same as treating your IBS symptoms at any other point in the month. Strategies include:
- Avoiding trigger foods for example, chocolate, fried foods, broccoli, garlic, and onions
- Eating food with soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, apples, and barley
- Avoiding gas-producing foods your body may be more sensitive to them during your period
- Staying hydrated
- Practicing good sleep hygiene and prioritizing getting enough quality sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Eating regularly to avoid GI upset or blood sugar crashes
A note about exercise: If your cramps are severe, you may not feel like working out. However, exercise during your period provides many benefits including reduced pain, improved mood, and less fatigue.
Additionally, if you take medications for IBS, continue to take them as directed. Common medications for IBS include laxatives, antidiarrheals, fiber supplements, anticholinergics, and pain relievers.
How To Track Your Periods
If anything about your menstrual cycle has changed, start keeping an up-to-date record of exactly when your period begins and ends, including the amount of flow and whether there were large blood clots.
Its also a good idea to keep track of symptoms like bleeding between periods and pelvic pain. If youre sexually active and havent gone through menopause, consider taking a home pregnancy test. If your cycle is still not normal after 3 months, you may want to call your doctor.
How Can You Tell The Difference
As discussed above, a majority of symptoms between PMS, endometriosis, and IBS are extremely similar. So, how do you know, or how can you tell the difference between the three conditions? To top it off, menstruation can intensify these symptoms which can cause diagnosing these issues to become confused with other conditions.
Better understanding of the main differences between all three conditions can help you determine the right diagnosis, or encourage you to make an appointment with your healthcare provider about treatment.
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Can Pots Syndrome Cause Anxiety
Anxiety is so common that, just by chance, many people with PoTS will also have anxiety. 2. Some of the symptoms of anxiety are similar to the symptoms of PoTS. Palpitations, nausea, light-headedness, gut symptoms, fatigue and headaches are symptoms that can occur both in anxiety and as a result of PoTS.
Can Ibs Stop Your Period
To properly answer this question, we must first identify the hormones that are in charge of the menstrual cycle:
- Luteinizing hormone
Frequent fluctuations of these hormones can cause a change in the gastrointestinal function, especially in the case of women with IBS. These hormonal changes can cause the worsening of IBS symptoms for some women, but they cant stop your period.
One study even showed that periods could help improve IBS symptoms. Many women with IBS make a mistake in thinking that they were experiencing problematic periods when, in fact, they were suffering from IBS. Its absolutely vital to know how to tell the difference between IBS and painful periods so you can act accordingly.
Fluctuating hormones can have a great effect on your period and IBS symptoms. This fluctuation can cause an increase in various IBS symptoms, but it cant stop your period. If you experience an IBS attack during your period, no need to panic its only normal. Its also comforting to know that you can calm IBS attacks in a few steps.
The change in period hormones can make IBS worse after a period, but it can also improve your symptoms. It varies from person to person, which is why its so important to educate yourself on how to deal with both IBS and menstrual symptoms. Can IBS cause heavy periods? Yes, it can.
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Ibs In Pregnant Women
IBS in pregnant women is surprisingly common, although its often not recognized and may be misdiagnosed. Pregnant women frequently experience altered bowel function. Pregnancy tends to lead to more constipation, nausea, and reflux. However, if you previously had diarrhea, you may actually find that being pregnant temporarily helps your symptoms.
Constipation can be just as uncomfortable as diarrhea when constipation is the predominant symptom. And diarrhea and cramping in pregnancy are even more challenging than usual. Its important to recognize IBS in pregnant women so that it can be properly addressed.
Principal Cause Of Irregular Periods
The menstrual cycle is controlled by the body’s hormones. Hormones are produced by the endocrine system, and the part of the endocrine system that produces the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are involved with the menstrual cycle, is the ovaries. This means that irregular periods can be a reflection of a larger change happening in the body, such as menopause, pregnancy, or an underlying medical condition. Irregular periods are any deviation from what a woman normally experiences during her menstrual cycle. Symptoms can include a change in the frequency, duration, and flow of your periods.
Irregular periods commonly happen to women who are approaching menopause. If a woman is between her mid-40s and 50s and is experiencing irregular periods, it’s possible that she may be in perimenopause, the stage before menopause. During this time, a woman’s body is preparing to cease menstruation, and as a result, hormone levels fluctuate and periods become irregular.
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The Gut And The Reproductive System Influence Each Other
According to Olubunmi Oladunjoye, MD, MPH, a general internist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the gut contains receptor cells for the female sex hormonesestrogen and progesterone. So, changes in those hormone levels may impact how well the gut functions.
An article published in Gut Microbes in 2021 noted that the gut microbiota all of the microorganisms in the gut coordinates the activities of the reproductive system by interacting with sex hormones such as insulin, estrogen, and androgens.
Research also shows that excess harmful gut bacteria may increase estrogen levels by preventing the liver from breaking down excess estrogen. According to the Cleveland Clinic, high estrogen causes tumor-like cell overgrowth along the uterine lining, resulting in pain and conditions such as endometriosis.
And thats not all. Disrupting the gut microbiome balance can also play a role in cancers, pregnancy complications, and disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome, among other reproductive-related conditions. But, as the authors of the Gut Microbes article state, research is lacking on exactly how the gut and the reproductive system interact in that way.
Bedford believes that the excess circulating estrogen and progesterone caused by dysbiosis may also result in heavy periods, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, and painful periods alongside altered bowel habits.
Symptom Patterns Add Up To Ibs
Certain signs and symptoms occur with IBS. Symptom-based criteria for IBS emphasize a positive diagnosis rather than extensive tests to rule out all other diseases. No tests confirm the diagnosis of IBS.
A detailed history, physical examination, and limited diagnostic tests help confirm the IBS diagnosis. More extensive testing is reserved for specific situations.
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The Difference Between Ibs Endometriosis And Painful Periods
Determining pain in your pelvic area can be very difficult to determine whats causing a total discomfort. These pains can vary maybe you deal with constipation, diarrhea, nauseousness, mild to severe cramping or maybe, pain during intercourse or during a bowel movement. These can be mildly annoying to entirely interruptive and incapacitating.
Whats The Link Between Ibs And Your Period
Again, hormones appear to play a role in aggravating IBS symptoms. Estrogen and progesterone inhibit the smooth muscle contractions in the intestines, which adversely affects gut motility and may be the cause of heightened IBS symptoms during periods, says Oladunjoye.
In a study published in Cureus in 2021, more than half of the participants with IBS had bloating during all phases of their menstrual cycle. The study also found that premenopausal IBS patients had more symptoms during their period that affected daily activities and lowered their quality of life than they did during other cycle stages.
In a study published in Neurogastroenterology Motility in 2021, postmenopausal IBS patients had more severe symptoms than premenopausal patients did. The study also compared men of similar ages and found no age-related changes in symptom severity. The results suggest that lower levels of female sex hormones especially estrogen and progesterone may affect the brain-gut interaction and heighten IBS symptoms.
Theres evidence, too, that low sex hormone levels could also be behind the increased severity of pain and GI symptoms in IBS patients during their monthly cycle. Estrogen affects how the body uses the feel-good hormone serotonin, which raises your pain threshold to help you manage pain such as period cramps. If you experience terrible cramps at the beginning of your cycle, a dip in estrogen levels may be the culprit.
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What Are The Causes Of Ibs
Researchers dont exactly know what causes IBS. They think a combination of factors can lead to IBS, including:
- Dysmotility: Problems with how your GI muscles contract and move food through the GI tract.
- Visceral hypersensitivity: Extra-sensitive nerves in the GI tract.
- Brain-gut dysfunction: Miscommunication between nerves in the brain and gut.
What Health Problems Can Irregular Periods Indicate
Two of the health problems mentioned above, thyroid disease and polycystic ovary syndrome , can cause irregular periods.
Another health problem that can cause irregular periods is uterine fibroids, which are benign lumps that grow on the uterus. Some of the symptoms of this illness are heavy periods, cramping, painful sex, and an urge to urinate.
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Symptoms Through The Menstrual Cycle
Whether or not you have IBS, researchers have found that the different phases of the menstrual cycle put people at risk for unwanted digestive symptoms. In the days of the month immediately following ovulation, all people are more likely to experience bloating and constipation.
Things change as you get closer to and start menstruation. In the days just prior to menstruation and for the first day or two when bleeding starts, people are more likely to experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea.
How Does Ibs Affect Periods
On the opposite side of the table, studies show that having IBS can also increase your risk or severity of period symptoms, including painful cramps, backache, fatigue, insomnia, food sensitivity, and water retention.
Mood-related changes during menstruation is not shown to increase for those with IBS. However, anxiety related to the increase in digestive symptoms during this time may increase, which can then impact mood.
Why in the world is all of this connected? We dont fully understand the cause. Theres a lot of research to be done, so hopefully we have more answers in the coming years.
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How Do Menstrual Cycles Impact Gut Health
It all comes down to hormones. During your period, hormones affect more than just your mood and energy levels they can also boss your digestive system around.
Sex hormones fluctuate during different phases of the menstrual cycle, explains Dr. Oladunjoye. Estrogen is usually at its peak just before ovulation, while progesterone is at its peak during the luteal phase the phase between ovulation and the onset of menstruation. But these hormones drop to the lowest levels just before the period begins.
Both estrogen and progesterone control smooth muscle contractions in the intestines, affecting how quickly food travels in the gastrointestinal tract. “During menstruation, some women tend to have abdominal pain, and some have diarrhea, she says. Many of these GI-related disturbances are linked to the actions of female sex hormones.
Oladunjoye also notes that when progesterone is at its peak during the luteal phase, it usually causes constipation.
Also, every month before your period, your body releases natural chemicals known as prostaglandins, which play an essential role during your cycle. They trigger the muscles in your uterus to contract, making it easier to shed the uterine lining. The bad news is that these prostaglandins can have the same effect on your bowels. The result? More frequent poops and even diarrhea.
Pms And Painful Periods
Its not uncommon to have the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, around the time of your period. More than 50 percent of women who menstruate say they have some kind of pain one to two days each month. During your period, hormone-like substances cause your uterus to contract so it can shed its lining. This contraction is what causes cramping.
Pain and other symptoms, such as nausea, constipation and diarrhea, can occur before your period starts. Additionally, you may have emotional discomfort before your period, including anxiety, depressed mood, irritability and moodiness. These symptoms usually dissipate after your period begins.
This cyclical timing helps distinguish PMS from other conditions. But while some pain during periods is common, if over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen is ineffective and your symptoms prevent you from doing regular daily activities, its time to talk with your doctor.
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Does Your Period Make Ibs Worse
At Everyday Nutrition, we work with a lot of women, many of whom have Irritable Bowel Syndrome . In our experience, it is common for women to report that their gut symptoms and tolerance to problem foods can fluctuate significantly throughout the month. Many are perplexed by this why should they tolerate a food one week, but find it turns them into bloated, crampy mess the next?
The answer can be hormones. If youve suspected it youre spot on. And if you thought you were just imagining it rest assured youre not. Lets take a look at the female menstrual cycle and how it can affect our gut.
How To Banish Irritable Bowel Syndrome And Stop It Ruining Your Life With These Easy Tips
Thousands suffer from irritable bowel syndrome but there are things that can be done to tackle the symptoms
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is whats known as a functional disorder, so an X-ray of the gut would show no obvious problem and there is no single cause.
Its thought that in people with IBS, the gut is simply more sensitive, but experts still dont know why.
Its been suggested it could be triggered by an infection, such as gastroenteritis, or overuse of antibiotics or other drugs, typically anti-inflammatories.
Symptoms may come and go at different times in your life so its a question of learning to manage the condition.
Whatâs in our guide:
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How To Cure Ibs In Women
Highly effective treatment requires not just ruling out other things but going beyond the normal standard of care for IBS. This is the only way to determine exactly what the cause is, and only then can an effective treatment plan be developed for your IBS. The good news is that IBS is very treatable, and you should expect excellent results. If you arent getting them, then you havent seen the right kind of doctor yet.
Curing IBS in women requires careful detective work by an IBS specialist and customized treatments for each patient. The kind of treatment that results in the long-term resolution of your symptoms will vary from person to person and will also depend on the cause of your IBS. There are a few medications and stock treatments for IBS, but they rarely work well or for very long, generally dont cure IBS, and are not worth going into detail about here. The same goes for generic IBS diets, such as the low fodmap diet.
The Life Impact Of Ibs In Women
Women are at higher risk of suffering from mental health issues related to their IBS, in particular depression and anxiety. This is not to imply that depression and anxiety are causing your IBS, which is a commonly held belief. Although stress and anxiety can contribute to IBS, in many cases it is the IBS that is leading to depression and anxiety.
One of the common themes in IBS in women that dont get discussed enough is that when you have poor digestion you also have poor absorption of nutrients. This leads to nutrient deficiencies that impact your entire health everything from your energy to your mental health to the health of your hair, skin, and nails. It is no wonder that women with IBS often suffer from fatigue, menstrual disorders, anxiety, and depression, as well as dry skin, brittle nails, and hair loss.
And of course, the digestive symptoms of IBS are by themselves enough to create a major impact on your quality of life, preventing you from social activities, work requirements, seeing friends, traveling, performing daily activities, or even just driving in the car for very long. This profound change to your lifestyle is not often discussed but is no less important than the immediate suffering of IBS in women. How is IBS affecting your life?
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How To Ease Ibs Symptoms During Your Period
When its that time of the month, Oladunjoye recommends treating your IBS symptoms the same way you would treat them at any other time. She suggests you:
- Avoid trigger foods, such as fried foods, that could set off your symptoms, especially during your period.
- Eat more foods containing soluble fiber.
- Steer clear of gas-inducing foods like beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, as they increase bloating, particularly during your period.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get quality sleep.
- Keep up with your IBS medications as prescribed by your physician.
- Seek medical care to ensure a proper diagnosis and adequate treatment if your symptoms prevent you from performing your daily activities.