Diarrhea or Constipation Right before Period!

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The key is in fact the smooth muscles of the uterus are also linked with the smooth muscles of the bowels.

And therefore, when the uterus’s smooth muscles contract too strong, this also can affect the bowel’s smooth muscles. As a result, the foods in the bowel can move faster than usual.

Too strong contraction of bowel’s smooth muscles can make the bowels and large intestines to expel their contents more quickly. And you can experience diarrhea.

Constipation and menstrual period

Like in diarrhea, the role of prostaglandins may also play a key role in causing constipation right before a menstrual period.

But when in diarrhea the trigger factor may come due to the excessive production of prostaglandins – in constipation, it may be triggered by too low prostaglandins.

When the body doesn’t get prostaglandins what it needs (too low), the uterus’s smooth muscles can be poor in contraction. And this may also trigger the smooth muscles of bowel to work slower than usual.

And if this mechanism combined with lifestyle factors such as inadequate water intake and diet with very poor in fiber, constipation will become a quite significant problem [8].

How to cope with the problem?

The good news, so far there are no harmful health consequences if the body make too low or too many prostaglandins – though the symptoms that are generated can be very bothersome.

The lifestyle approaches to help improve diarrhea and constipation in non-menstrual condition are commonly also recommended when these symptoms strike before or during menstrual period.

For diarrhea, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Diarrhea can make you get dehydration. So, make sure to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water a day!
  2. Identify and avoid foods that can a trigger of your diarrhea! Typically, these foods include foods high in sugar, caffeine, spicy foods, gas-producing foods (like broccoli or cabbage), and dairy products. Beware also from fatty foods or fried foods.
  3. Taka a rest and avoid stress – and do moderate and regular exercise!
  4. Consider using a heating pad if necessary. It can help relax your stomach and uterus.
  5. Prioritize safe or bland foods. They are almost free from ingredients that can make your diarrhea get worse. Broth and soup are good choices. And when you think that your body is ready for other options, you can add some vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrate, or lean meat.
  6. See a doctor promptly if the symptom doesn’t improve!

And for constipation [9]:

  1. Re-check your fiber intake! Lack of dietary fiber is common cause of constipation. This is reasonable since fiber can play a key role in increasing the stool’s weight and accelerating its passage through the digestive track.
  2. Keep active by having a moderate and regular exercise. Lack of physical activity (becoming a sedentary individual) can increase your risk of getting constipation.
  3. When you notice an urge to get a bowel movement, follow it! Ignoring the urge of a bowel movement can increase the chance of the stool to stay longer in the body, and this can make it harder.
  4. Limit your diet from foods high in caffeine, sugar, salt, and alcohol.
  5. Eating with frequent smaller meals throughout the day instead of eating 2-3 large meals a day may also help.
  6. If the symptom doesn’t get better, see a doctor for more advice!
Citations /references:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-constipation
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/basics/causes/con-20032773
  3. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/causes-diarrhea
  4. http://www.medicinenet.com/diarrhea/page3.htm
  5. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-10/causes-diarrhea?page=2
  6. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/basics/symptoms/con-20020003
  7. http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/monthly-diarrhea-associated-my-period
  8. http://www.ttuhsc.edu/elpaso/som/obgyn/obgyn101/my%20documents4/Text/Menstrual%20Problems/Menses.htm
  9. http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/menstrual-cycle-and-bowels

All of these sites accessed on Jan 2014


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