If when you are “in those days” and you feel constipation and you don't know why this condition happens, in this article we will explore the causes of this relationship and how it affects us.

Before explaining why they are related, we want to make some concepts clear to you. Constipation is a condition in which a person has difficulty having a bowel movement.

While the menstrual cycle refers to the hormonal changes that a woman's body experiences over approximately 28 days, and which results in menstruation.

Although they may seem like two completely different things, there is a connection between constipation and the menstrual cycle and here we will tell you. It is also essential that you know precisely how the digestive system works.

The food we eat is broken down in the stomach and moves through the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed. The waste then passes into the colon, where water is removed and stool is formed. Finally, feces are expelled from the body. Take a look at what you should never do when you have your period .

However, when constipation occurs, stool can accumulate in the colon for longer than necessary, causing it to become drier and more difficult to pass. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a low-fiber diet, dehydration, lack of exercise, and medications.

What do we understand by constipation?

Constipation and the menstrual cycle

Constipation is characterized by difficulty or infrequent passage of stool due to lack of regular bowel movement or intestinal peristalsis. The stools are usually hard or cause the sensation of incomplete evacuation.

The frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person, and not having a daily bowel movement does not necessarily indicate constipation.

Bowel habits are influenced by various factors, such as diet, physical activity, age and individual physiology. It is important to note that it is considered normal to have between one and three bowel movements a day, as well as even three bowel movements a week.

Constipation occurs when:

  • Bowel evacuation episodes occur less than three times a week.
  • The stool has a lumpy or hard consistency. Difficulty defecating is experienced, often accompanied by the need to apply pressure to the abdomen with the hands.
  • After evacuation, you may feel that not enough material has been removed.

On some occasions, constipation can be pointed out as the cause of other symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, a feeling of bloating or discomfort.

However, the absence of regular bowel movements is just one of the symptoms that may indicate an underlying problem, which can include everything from eating disorders to neurological conditions or pelvic muscle problems, among a variety of possible causes.

Why does constipation mainly affect us?

Faced with this question, the initial question arises: To what extent do women experience a greater degree of constipation compared to men? Is it scientifically supported or is it more a matter of perception, where women discuss the issue more and express greater concern about it?

Actually, variations in the functioning of intestinal transit impact differently on male and female individuals, and this discrepancy varies depending on age.

With the exception of childhood (where it is more common in children), during adulthood the frequency of constipation is more pronounced in women than in men.

Specifically, in adulthood, the proportion leans towards a ratio of 3 women experiencing difficulties in regulating intestinal transit for every man facing similar symptoms.

After age 65, episodes of constipation increase in both sexes: around 34% of women and 26% of men report suffering from this condition.

These disparities are associated with the rhythm of intestinal transit. In normal situations, the average passage time through the small intestine is approximately 3 hours, while in the colon it is around 30 hours.

However, as we age, this process tends to slow down and, generally, in women, the rate of intestinal transit is slower. But what is the cause behind this difference? Before knowing this cause, take a look at this link so you can know if the cold can affect your days .

Hormones influence

Constipation and the menstrual cycle

Indeed, female hormones have an impact on bowel movement. The variations that occur in women's bodies during certain times, such as menstruation or pregnancy, can interfere with the proper activity of the digestive system.

According to experts, hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle can affect the digestive system.

The constipation that some women tend to experience could appear during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which is after the release of the egg and lasts about two weeks. In this phase of our period, the levels of the hormone progesterone increase.

Progesterone has a relaxing effect on the muscles, which leads to reduced intestinal activity, causing constipation, abdominal bloating, heartburn or nausea.

Additionally, progesterone can also decrease the amount of water that is absorbed in the intestines, which can make stool harder and more difficult to pass.

Another factor that may contribute to the relationship between constipation and the menstrual cycle is menstrual pain. Many women experience abdominal and pelvic pain during menstruation, and this may cause them to avoid defecation as they fear that bowel movement will make the pain worse. However, this lack of bowel movements can increase the risk of constipation.

Additionally, some medications used to treat menstrual cycle symptoms, such as pain relievers and hormonal contraceptives, can also contribute to this condition.

Pain relievers can cause constipation as a side effect, while hormonal contraceptives can affect hormone levels in the body and therefore the digestive system.

Another cause related to constipation and the menstrual cycle is endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that is normally found inside the uterus grows outside of it, usually in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the tissues that line the pelvis, intestine or rectum.

How can I prevent or treat constipation during the menstrual cycle?

Constipation and the menstrual cycle

The figures indicate that 80 percent of women suffer from constipation and the symptoms can be moderate or severe.

Although experts point out that these symptoms appear after ovulation, they can also appear during the first days of the period.

✔️ Drink enough water : It is important to drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated and soften stools.

✔️ Eat foods high in fiber : A diet rich in fiber helps keep stools soft and regular. Experts recommend eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

✔️ Do exercises : Regular exercise helps stimulate bowel movement.

✔️ Reduce your intake of processed foods : Processed foods are usually low in fiber and high in fats and sugars, which can contribute to constipation.

✔️ Take magnesium supplements : Magnesium can help soften stools and promote intestinal regularity. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

✔️ Don't drink alcohol and caffeine : Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate the body and worsen constipation. If you still have doubts, take a look here: Is it bad to drink alcohol when I have my period? Could I do it without problem?

✔️ You can practice relaxation techniques : Stress can affect digestion and worsen constipation. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can help reduce stress and improve bowel regularity.

✔️ Get enough sleep: Make sure you get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule to help regularize the digestive system.

It is important to remember that constipation during the menstrual cycle is common and generally not a cause for concern. If symptoms persist or are severe, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

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Frequent questions

Are there specific treatment options for constipation that occurs during menstruation?

If self-care measures do not work, your doctor may prescribe a drug to address constipation. If you are using an over-the-counter medication or supplement that could be contributing to constipation, your doctor may suggest adjusting the dose, changing the medication, or stopping its use. It is essential to seek medical advice before making any modification or interruption in taking medications. That is why it is essential that you know what you should and should not eat when you are on your days to minimize these changes in your digestion .

How can I differentiate between constipation related to the menstrual cycle and other gastrointestinal problems?

If you experience constipation during your menstrual period, it is essential to watch for certain signs that could indicate the need to seek medical attention. If you experience severe and persistent pelvic pain along with constipation, it could be indicative of a more serious problem, so it would be advisable to consult a health professional. Additionally, if you notice blood in your stool or when wiping after defecating, this could be a sign of a problem, so it is important to seek guidance from a doctor. Another scenario to consider is if you alternate between episodes of severe constipation and diarrhea during your menstrual period. To avoid these symptoms, see here what you should never do when you have your period .

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