It’s common that guts go haywire right before or during a period, and it usually clears up when Aunt Flo takes her leave – but sometimes you may find you’re still dealing with diarrhea after your period. Let’s look at the reasons why you may be experiencing diarrhea after periods, and what you can do about it.
Digestive problems and menstrual period: What’s the link?
Digestive troubles – by which we mean symptoms like diarrhea and constipation – can be caused by any number of factors: illness, your dietary fiber, nutrient and fluid intake, stress and activity levels.
Changes in your reproductive hormones can also throw another monkey wrench in the digestive works. For many women, that means becoming constipated in the lead-up to a period, and then diarrhea when the period begins.
This occurs due to the release of the hormone progesterone in the second half of your menstrual cycle, after you release this month’s egg. Just in case you happen to get that egg fertilized, progesterone gets your body ready to support a possible pregnancy. One of the ways is to slow your digestion.
This allows your body to extract more nutrients and fluid from the food you eat – with that downside that you may feel constipated during the premenstrual phase.
When your period begins, progesterone levels drop. At the same time, your uterus is releasing hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins to contract your uterus and help slough off the endometrial lining.
However, if you’re producing too many prostaglandins, or your body happens to be particularly sensitive to them, it can irritate and cause contractions in your gut, too. Whatever’s hanging around in your intestines is forced to make a quick exit. Put all this together, and it’s no wonder diarrhea during the early stages of your period is so common.
What causes diarrhea after period?
In most cases, diarrhea clears up after menstrual flow – but digestive upsets can sometimes last longer. If you happen to produce a high level of prostaglandins during your period, it may take a while to settle back to their normal levels. So you may still experience diarrhea after a period.
Remedies for diarrhea after period
It’s not always possible to prevent menstrual digestive upsets, but there are steps you can take to get your symptoms under control through diet. There’s no need to limit yourself to the Bananas-Rice-Applesauce-and-Toast diet, but it’s a good idea to stick to easily digestible foods like eggs, white bread and cottage cheese.
Probiotic foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and miso are thought to support healthy gut function, so incorporating them into your daily diet also could relieve your diarrhea. Drinks containing caffeine and alcohol can trigger diarrhea, so try to avoid these.
Diarrhea after periods shouldn’t ruin your day
Stomach troubles like diarrhea are common over the menstrual period – but if you’re stuck dealing with it after your period, you’re definitely not alone. Hormone and prostaglandin levels can shift and play havoc on your guts. The good news is you may be able to get some relief with the right lifestyle changes.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that menstrual diarrhea can be a sign of underlying conditions such as endometriosis. Severe diarrhea can also cause you to become dehydrated, putting you at risk of health problems. Menstrual symptoms shouldn’t be interfering with your daily life, so don’t hesitate to speak to a doctor if you need help getting your digestion troubles under control.