Many women encounter various symptoms before their period. These include stomach cramps, muscle pain, and mood changes. Constipation before menstruation is also a frequent symptom associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Constipation before a period can be disruptive. It can be even, and periods are difficult. Adding constipation makes it harder. This is something you don’t need.
The following content provides detailed information on the causes of premenstrual constipation. It also covers widely used remedies.
Why Did Your Period Come Early? Possible Causes
The menstrual cycle involves several physiological processes. Two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, primarily regulate these processes. The levels of progesterone rise before menstruation and decline once bleeding starts. The digestive system can also be affected by progesterone. It slows down food movement through the intestines. Before menstruation, it often causes constipation.
Normally, this condition improves when the woman begins menstruation. For some people, this may be somewhat of a one-time thing, while for others, it can occur regularly. Nevertheless, several methods can prevent or decrease this symptom.
Moreover, some health issues raise the likelihood of constipation before and during your period. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis are two such conditions. They can make constipation more likely before and during your period. This is especially true in the first few days. If you usually have painful periods, constipation may occur more often.
Ways To Relieve Premenstrual Constipation
👉 Eat More Fiber
Fibre is essential for making our digestive health much better. It is a natural catalyst. It helps transport food in the digestive tract. Consuming fibrous foods is important for keeping a healthy gut. Good sources of healthy fiber are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Including a variety of these foods in your daily diet plan improves digestion. It also promotes good overall nutrition. Fiber aids in normal bowel movements and can prevent problems such as constipation. For the best digestive health benefits, slowly increase fiber intake. Also, drink enough water.
👉 Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can lead to serious dehydration. It also causes bloating and changes your mood. Alcohol might change how much you want to eat. Eating well is important for good digestion. When you drink less alcohol, your body stays more hydrated. This helps your digestion. Not drinking alcohol can reduce bloating and keep your mood stable. It also helps you control your appetite better. This makes it easier to eat healthy foods. Healthy foods are good for your digestive system. They help everything work smoothly.
👉 Stay Hydrated
Not drinking enough water can cause constipation. To avoid this, make sure to drink plenty of water. This keeps you hydrated.
If you are constipated, try drinking carbonated water. It can help you hydrate and may get your bowels moving. Sparkling water is better than regular water for constipation. This is true for people with indigestion or chronic constipation.
But avoid sugary sodas and similar drinks. They can be bad for your health and might worsen constipation.
Prebiotic foods are composed of indigestible carbohydrate fibers. These include oligosaccharides and inulin. They are crucial for enhancing digestive health. These fibers function differently from typical dietary fibers. They specifically nurture the beneficial gut bacteria. This action promotes probiotics. It also keeps a healthy balance of gut microbiota. Eating prebiotics regularly can make stools softer. It can also make you have more bowel movements.
👉 Limiting Salt Intake And Processed Foods
To manage period-related discomfort, it’s essential to reduce the intake of processed foods like ready meals, burgers, and takeaways, which are high in refined sugar and salt. These ingredients can significantly impact your hormones and digestion. Aim to minimize added salt and sugar in your meals and beverages, as their cumulative effect can be substantial.
Hormonal birth control might be a surprising solution for premenstrual constipation. It serves as contraception. It also stabilizes hormones, potentially easing digestive issues. By regulating estrogen and progesterone, it can ease constipation. However, it’s not suitable for everyone. It’s best to consult with a healthcare provider. You can determine if it’s appropriate and understand its benefits and considerations. This method could offer a way to maintain hormonal balance and improve digestion.
👉 Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties. They can enhance gut health by promoting beneficial bacteria. These properties also help balance prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds in the body. They can cause severe cramping when produced in excess, especially before menstruation. Omega-3s benefit gut health. They are effective in addressing period-related constipation.
Over-the-counter or Prescription Laxatives
If you need a laxative, ask a doctor or pharmacist. They can help you choose the right one. Different laxatives work in different ways, but all can help with constipation.
OTC Laxatives: There are many safe and effective OTC laxatives, but it is equally important to follow the directions carefully and use them according to instructions. Abuse of laxatives can result in dependency and reduction of bowel function.
Oral Osmotics: These include Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia and MiraLAX. They operate by pulling water into the colon to facilitate the expulsion of stool. Possible side effects are bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, gas, and increased thirst.
Bulk-Forming Laxatives: Such as Benefiber, Citrucel, FiberCon, and Metamucil. These help absorb water that forms soft, bulky stool, and thus, normal contraction of intestinal muscles occurs. The possible side effects are bloating, gas, cramping, or constipation if taken without drinking enough water.
Oral Stool Softeners: Like Colace and Surfak, such lubricants add moisture to stool, thus facilitating strain-free defecations. Prolonged use may lead to electrolyte imbalance.
Oral Stimulants: Examples are Dulcolax and Senokot. Its side effects include belching and cramping of intestinal muscle, which trigger rhythmic contractions to eliminate stool when it is taken in large amounts along with its derivatives from senna and cascara Derivative symptoms occur.
Dealing with constipation before or during your period is quite common. It’s one more thing that can make period time tough. This article has shed light on why it happens – mainly due to hormonal shifts like increased progesterone.
We’ve shared some simple yet effective tips: eat more fiber, drink plenty of water, and cut back on alcohol. For some, over-the-counter remedies or even birth control might help. Each body is different, so it’s good to talk to a doctor for the best advice.
- Oh JE, et al. (2013). Estrogen rather than progesterone causes constipation in both female and male mice. DOI:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). (2018).
- Why do you get diarrhea, constipation (or both) during your period? (2018).