Why does my stomach hurt so much when I have my period? It hurts really badly after I eat whenever I have my period. I also seem to have to go to the bathroom a lot.. like pooping. Is that weird?
When it comes to PMS, the symptoms that get discussed the most are usually cramps, bloating, headaches, mood swings, and exhaustion. But another super common symptom that isn’t talked about quite as often is actually stomach pain and digestive issues. It’s not weird to experience more stomach discomfort and more pooping when you have your period. Unfortunately, it comes with the territory.
Stomach pain during your period is caused by the fact that your hormones are a little out of whack. After ovulation (which happens before getting your period), a hormone called progesterone increases. This increase can cause things like bloating, gas, and constipation. None of those things feel good! All of them can cause some uncomfortable pain in your stomach area.
The constipation obviously doesn’t cover the fact that you’re pooping a lot. Well, once you start menstruating (or you’re, like, a day or two before getting your period), chemicals called prostaglandins are released in your body. These are the little guys responsible for sloughing the uterine lining out of your uterus. They’re necessary! But when there’s too many prostaglandins, they find other places to go besides your uterus… and those other places can include your bowels. They kind of do to your bowels what they would do in your uterus – and that can lead to pain and diarrhea.
And if you already suffer from digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, these side effects will be even worse. Women with things like IBS often experience really, really bad pain during or right before their period.
So, is there anything you can do? Yes! Doctors have found that ibuprofen can lessen the release of prostaglandins, so take them once or twice a day a few days before your period starts and up until it stops hurting. You should also be avoiding foods that would make you poop more on a normal day – anything with a lot of fiber, spicy foods, vegetables like broccoli, lots of coffee, etc. Otherwise, you just have to wait it out – like so many other PMS symptoms.
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org