Constipation and other gastrointestinal problems are quite common right before and during your periods. This mostly happens due to normal changes in your hormone levels. Most women experience mild and manageable digestive issues related to the menstrual cycle, but it can be severe as well. With both mild and severe symptoms, there are certain steps you can take to tackle them. It is a common occurence, but you can surely discuss it with your doctor, especially if the digestive issue has severe symptoms. Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. Hemangi Negi, Senior Consultant Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Max Hospital, Vaishali, about digestion problems during periods.
Why do women suffer from digestion problems during periods?
Common abdominal symptoms a woman might suffer during periods is not connected to the digestive at all. Your body releases hormones during menses, which can lead to issues like bloating, water retention and abdominal cramps. Prostaglandins, or fatty acids, cause inflammation. This bloating and cramping may feel like it’s in your stomach, but it’s actually in the uterus. Some people may experience diarrhea during or before their period. This is likely due to an increase in the production of prostaglandins in the body.
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Prostaglandins are chemicals that play a major role in certain functions in the body such as muscle contractions and blood clotting. Before your menstrual cycle starts, cells in the lining of the uterus increase the production of the hormone like chemical prostaglandins. This increase can cause uterus muscles contraction, thus releasing the lining of the uterus. So, this is why a woman suffers from digestion problems during periods. Changes in prostaglandin levels are responsible for gastrointestinal symptoms during menses. Women who have symptoms like depression or anxiety are at a higher risk of having digestive issues.
Tips to manage digestion problems during periods
According to Dr. Hemangi, it is important to make small lifestyle changes in order to manage digestion problems while menstruating. Women can take certain steps to treat diarrhea and other menstrual symptoms at home. Here are some tips to manage digestion issues during periods:
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Dehydration is one of the main symptoms of diarrhea. Hence, it is important to replace the electrolytes by taking ORS, coconut water and plenty of water. The loss of fluids and salts in the body can easily be compensated by a good amount of fluids. ORS sachets are easily available in the stores. Pomegranate juice and coconut water can also be consumed during periods to hydrate your body. It will not only improve digestion, but also rehydrate the body.
2. Regular exercise
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As per Dr. Hemangi, not exercising during menstruation is a myth. Regular exercise is important to maintain overall health and tackle digestion problems during periods. There are certain exercises that should be avoided during periods but skipping workout is not the right solution. At times, yoga can help in treating diarrhea, constipation and even abdominal cramps.
3. Reduce stress
Stress is also another triggering factor for digestion problems during periods. Practicing yoga can help in reducing stress, thus a natural treatment for digestion problems. Stress management can help in treating gastrointestinal problems during periods.
4. Avoid salt intake
General lifestyle changes that treat diarrhea should be made during periods as well. Too much salt and sugar intake can make your diarrhea even worse. It is best to add less salt in your meals to sim down the symptoms of gastrointestinal issues. Excessive levels of sodium can have an impact on yoru digestive system.
A lot of women suffer from diarrhea, constipation and many other gastrointestinal issues during their periods, which can be treated using the above listed simple tips. Severe symptoms can also be the indication of an underlying medical condition, therefore it is suggested to discuss the issues with your doctor.
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