Why IBS symptoms Might Worsen On Your Period

29 April 2022

If you are an IBS sufferer, then you could dread your monthly cycle. During our periods, our Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms can flare-up. This is due to all of our hormone levels changing, making us feel truly not like ourselves. In this article, we will be touching on the link between our hormones and digestive system, what the common symptoms of both are and how you can naturally manage them. 

The Link Between Your Hormones And Your Digestive System

IBS symptoms can be bad enough, but throw in our monthly cycles and sometimes, our symptoms can become more intense. When it comes to your period, your body goes through some hormonal changes which can, in turn, affect your gut and cause a flare-up in certain IBS-related symptoms. 

During your cycle, there are two main hormones that come into play – estrogen and progesterone. Throughout our gastrointestinal tracts, there are receptor cells, which is why so many people, particularly individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other, gut-related issues, can experience digestive problems during their menstrual cycle. 

IBS Symptoms & Period Symptoms

One of the most common symptoms that come with periods is bloating. This is due to our levels of progesterone and estrogen levels changing, which causes our bodies to retain more water and salt. In short, our body’s cells become more swollen than normal as it wants to hold in this water which in turn, can cause us feelings of heaviness and general bloating. One of the most common effects of IBS is also bloating, so during your cycle, if you do suffer from gut-health issues, then you may find that you are bloated a lot more often. Other common symptoms that have links between your cycle and IBS symptoms could be general gut pain, fatigue, insomnia, backache, and greater sensitivity to certain foods, such as those that cause gas.

How To Manage These Symptoms

Learning how to manage these symptoms can be the key to a happier and healthier period. Firstly, always be prepared. Women that suffer from IBS and have frequent monthly periods may experience intense pelvic floor pain and cramping. Ensuring you have everything you need to keep yourself comfortable during this time is the key to not being caught out. For example, make sure you have some sort of pain relief (paracetamol or ibuprofen) handy, being stocked up on your preferred period products, and also, have travel-friendly, eco-friendly, and sustainable sanitary disposal bags that are kind to the environment, for when you are on the move such as FabLittleBags

Avoiding all trigger foods is a must when you are experiencing both IBS and your menstrual cycle, as you will most likely be feeling more bloated than normal, and eating something that typically doesn’t agree with your stomach can make it worse. On top of avoiding those nasty high FODMAP foods, you also need to keep drinking your fluids. During your cycle, your hormones can affect your hydration levels, which can of course cause your IBS symptoms to flare further. Ensuring that you are drinking enough water throughout the day will put both your period and IBS symptoms at ease.

Finally, get your recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night. It’s always important to get enough shut-eye, but particularly when you are on your period, you may find that your energy levels are lower and you feel overly sluggish. With both IBS and your period happening at the same and fatigue being one of the most common symptoms, feeling tired is almost a definite. You can combat this feeling by going to bed early and also unwinding a good few hours before switching off your light. 



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