12:42 pm - 07/27/2009

Frequent bowel movements and menstruation

I should have known better than to google this.

I have seen people mentioning frequent bowel movements in conjunction with menstruation, and indicating that it could be some sort of disorder. I know that the same hormone which causes menstruation can also stimulate bowel movements.

Irritable Bowel Disorder is one, but are there others?
gunshotbeauty 27th-Jul-2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
most women experience bowel problems during menstruation because of the prostigladins , it's different from IBS. having said that though women with IBS can have worse flares during their period.
astraevirgo 27th-Jul-2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, true. But what about frequent bowel movements -- like, 3 in a day where it's clear that it's going from well-formed bowels to diarrhea over the course of an overdose of prostigladins?

It's only the first two days of my period.
gunshotbeauty 27th-Jul-2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
if it's just around your period it's a symptom of your period not IBS as IBS happens all the time not just around your period.
paraxeni 27th-Jul-2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Frequent, well formed movements with menstruation wouldn't indicate anything other than the prostaglandins affecting the smooth muscles in your gut.

If your motions are incredibly painful or bloody during your period that could indicate something like endometriosis. If you motions are fluffy and mucusy, painful, and with bloating and urgency then IBS could be a likelihood.

Other than that frequent urination and defecation during your period are entirely normal. Like I've said before, just because it isn't talked about at the dinner table, doesn't mean it doesn't happen!
astraevirgo 27th-Jul-2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
I thought that IBS is supposed to be more consistent than 2 days out of 30? (Some diagnostic information I found says you need to have this type of pain for 12 weeks out of the past 12 months...)

Oh, and I am perfectly comfortable talking about this with many people, which is why I came here. I know it is "normal," but it may be interfering with normal functioning and is ENTIRELY related to my period -- i.e. not IBS.
theatreant 27th-Jul-2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
If it's only 2 days of the month and directly related to your period, I wouldn't call it IBS. As a person with IBS, I'd call it lucky, actually!

You could try some imodium on those days to help you out.
astraevirgo 27th-Jul-2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I have used imodium in the past and it's worked pretty well. I'm just trying to decide if it's worth bringing this up to a doctor, and if so, where to start with my concerns.
theatreant 27th-Jul-2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Ehhhh, unless there's blood or it's black and tar-like looking I wouldn't say your doctor could really do anything. A lot of women have bowel issues when they're on their period. Imodium and avoiding things like caffeine etc would probably go a long way to helping though.

Even with my IBS, the doctor can't really do much!
paraxeni 27th-Jul-2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
We both have IBS here, and the best advice we were ever given by a doctor was "Grin, bear it, and carry extra underwear at all times!" If you're like us your triggers might well change from week to week, you might spend a week doing nothing then two weeks on the loo! Thank God for mobile internet and the Nintendo DS ;)
loonylupinlover 27th-Jul-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I have IBS and I have a Gameboy in the bathroom too! XD Along with plenty of books! It's so horrible being stuck in the bathroom for 1/2 an hour with nothing to do... thank god for my cell phone and its Tetris game, or public-bathroom visits would be a lot worse.
paraxeni 27th-Jul-2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
I used to dread it happening in public, no handy stack of books or DS, but mobile internet is perfect for it. I once got stuck for an hour in the (luckily very clean and pleasant) toilets at a local shopping centre. I simply settled in, did some online shopping on my phone and caught up on LJ! My girlfriend wasn't to pleased at having to be on her own in the shops, she hates shopping with a passion. I was having a blast heheh.
archangelbeth 27th-Jul-2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
I'm all for asking doctors for input. I'd probably say something like, "I know that the hormones that are running around during menstruation can cause more frequent bowel movements, but going from normal-to-diarrhea in a single day seems excessive to me, and it's inconvenient. Does this sound like something that needs tests or prescription treatment, or can you recommend an over-the-counter solution?"
astraevirgo 27th-Jul-2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you for helping me figure out how to phrase the question! I always have a hard time asking direct questions. I tend to ramble and then eventually the important information comes out... as probably evidenced by this post and the subsequent comments.

Thank you again, I appreciate it.
archangelbeth 27th-Jul-2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Glad to be of help in phrasing! O:D
dressdncheckers 27th-Jul-2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
haha i have the sameeee problem! both in reference to this comment AND your post.
jazzycat0818 29th-Jul-2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Agreed. I have IBS, but the constipation kind. I can not poop without outside help and it is absolutely horrible. If you have diarrhea for 2 days out of the month, feel LUCKY that it isn't anything worse. And just be happy you can poop. :(
paraxeni 27th-Jul-2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Yep, IBS is way more consistent than 2 days a month unfortunately. It does sound from your description above that you are just particularly sensitive to your prostaglandins. Doing something like taking drugs that limit the effects of prostaglandins like Mefenamic Acid can make a big difference. Or you can take something like loperamide to slow it down, or simply follow the BRAT regime of eating things like bananas, applesauce, rice and toast that have a binding effect.

It is still within the realms of normal for periods to affect other functions, and even your routine. It's when these symptoms are intractable that they are a part of a larger disorder. One or two days of looser motions would not be generally indicative of some menstrual disorder, it's just that some of us either react badly to our prostaglandins and some of us produce too many which affects us badly.
nakedfaery 27th-Jul-2009 05:26 pm (UTC)

More frequent and smoother bowel movements are common during menstruation, it's not necessarily an indicator of a problem. I have IBS and get flare ups when I am menstruating.
loonylupinlover 27th-Jul-2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Seconding everyone else that this is pretty normal to just happen around your period, and that it's unlikely to indicate any larger problem. I have IBS and it's certainly more frequent than just around my period. Even the diarrhea I get during my period is different from the diarrhea I get at other times of the month -- hard to explain, but there's a different type of abdominal pain that goes with it, and it often follows a different pattern in consistency and progression (i.e. on my period stools can start out almost normal but soft and then progress to diarrhea; with regular IBS attacks, it's just stomach cramps and then diarrhea without any lead-in). Being on my period usually causes a flare up, but then so does stress, coffee, alcohol, and goat cheese, and sometimes I get one for no particular reason at all. If you were to have IBS it would definitely be more frequent than just on your period. Since it is just around your period, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you; I'd just keep some Immodium or chamomile or peppermint tea around for those times. But if you were worried, I would mention it to your doctor.
trademybike 27th-Jul-2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
Thirding what people are saying.

In my case, I notice that it's definitely more frequent for me, however, when I start getting cramps, I get diarrhea to the max until they go away. Once they're gone, I go back to my regularly scheduled program.
dressdncheckers 27th-Jul-2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
ditto
mewsicfreak IBS and menstruation2nd-Apr-2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
I am right this very minute going through a menstruation-induced IBS attack and I am so incredibly uncomfortable.
I was doing research online on studies and tests they've done on regular menstruating females and those with IBS and the studies showed people with IBS have more anal and intestinal pain, bloating, and general discomfort during their periods. Oh joy *facepalm facepalm facepalm*
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