Cramps, fatigue, headaches, and bleeding can make any woman feel uncomfortable during their monthly period.
However, there is another symptom that can make menstruation even more inconvenient and unpleasant: diarrhea1.
Learning how to avoid having diarrhea is crucial if you experience gastrointestinal issues during your period. However, you also need to know the exact causes why you get them every month so that you can manage this condition better.
An increase in the number of prostaglandins is the most common cause of menstrual diarrhea.2
Prostaglandins are hormone-like chemicals that aid different functions in the body, such as:3
When there is a change in prostaglandin levels during your period, they cause your rectal muscles to contract more.4 As a result, you will move your bowels more often and experience diarrhea.
Prostaglandins also lower the absorption and increase electrolyte secretions5, both of which can lead to diarrhea.
During your period, your progesterone and estrogen levels also change6.
The receptor cells in your gastrointestinal tract sense and react to this change, which can cause diarrhea during your menstrual cycle.
Here are six tips for managing menstrual diarrhea:
Prostaglandins are produced from omega-3 fatty acids.7 By eating more foods rich in this nutrient, your body can maintain a healthy level, which will help you avoid diarrhea during your period.
Examples of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are8:
At the same time, reduce your consumption of processed foods to lessen the symptoms.9
Before and during your period, eat more:10
Fiber helps stop diarrhea by bulking up the stool.11
Some foods can make your diarrhea worse12. These include:
Stay away from them to lessen the symptoms of your period diarrhea.
Probiotics help reduce diarrhea symptoms13. These microorganisms improve and maintain the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lower your possibility of having recurring diarrhea during your monthly period.
Examples of probiotic-rich foods to include in your diet are:14
Taking a probiotic supplement also ensures you get the benefits these probiotic-rich foods provide.15
During your period, consider taking a probiotic medicine for diarrhea to ease your symptoms.
Diarrhea causes the body to lose potassium16, which can make you feel weak. To avoid experiencing another uncomfortable symptom, eat more foods that contain this nutrient.
Foods rich in potassium include:17
Chicken and salmon are also excellent sources of potassium.
However, avoid eating fried and fatty proteins and vegetables. Opt only for boiled items.
Drink plenty of water to replenish the fluids you lose from frequent bowel movements, which can cause dehydration.18
You will know if you are drinking enough fluids if your urine is pale yellow.19
You can supplement water with these additional fluids:20
Some women also suffer from diarrhea even before they get their period.21 If you also experience this, you can ease the symptoms by following the tips above and these additional ones:
Also, find ways to manage stress. Too much anxiety can make menstrual symptoms, including diarrhea25, cramping, and headaches worse.
If you want to avoid suffering from diarrhea before and during your monthly period or, at the very least, minimize the symptoms, follow these tips.
And if you notice your symptoms getting worse, consult a doctor immediately.
Learn more about probiotics and how they help treat different types of diarrhea on our Probiotics page.