Laxatives: Early Period Trigger?

can laxatives cause early period

It is a commonly experienced phenomenon for women to have irregular bowel movements during their periods. This is caused by the hormonal changes that occur during menstruation, particularly the fluctuation of the hormones progesterone and oestrogen. Laxatives are often used to relieve constipation, but can they also cause an early period?

Characteristics Values
Can laxatives cause early periods? There is no evidence that laxatives can cause early periods. However, constipation is a common issue before and during periods, and laxatives are often used to relieve constipation.
Constipation during periods Constipation during periods is likely caused by hormonal changes, particularly fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels. Underlying conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis can also contribute.
Treatment for constipation Treatment options include increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, exercising, and using over-the-counter laxatives.


Laxatives can be used to treat constipation during periods

Constipation during your period is a common issue, caused by hormonal changes affecting both your uterus and gastrointestinal tract. Fluctuations in the hormones progesterone and estrogen are likely a big factor. Before your period starts, progesterone builds up in your body, which can slow down your digestive system. There is also a theory that rising estrogen, not progesterone, is the cause. Underlying conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis can also increase your risk of constipation during your period.

Laxatives can be used to treat constipation during your period. Over-the-counter laxatives are available at any drugstore, but it is recommended that you check with your healthcare provider before taking one. They may recommend a stool softener or a specific type of laxative for your needs. Laxatives can be habit-forming, so make sure to read the directions on the package to avoid using them too often or for too long.

If you regularly deal with constipation during your period, there are several things you can do to manage and prevent it:

  • Increase your fiber intake: Fiber adds bulk to your stool and stimulates your intestines to move, helping to overcome the effect of period hormones on your body. Try adding one to two servings of fibrous fruits, vegetables, or whole grains to your diet each day.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking more water can make your stool softer and easier to pass.
  • Exercise: Physical movement stimulates your intestines and their contents to move. Even a gentle 20-minute walk can be helpful.
  • Avoid dietary triggers: Cut back on processed foods, as well as foods high in fat, sugar, and starch. Replace these with fresh produce and whole grains.
  • Try probiotics: Include more probiotic-rich foods in your diet, such as plain Greek yogurt with fruit, kimchi, pickled vegetables, or miso.
  • Consider hormonal birth control: Birth control pills can help regulate your hormone levels, preventing constipation and other digestive issues.
Zantac and Laxatives: Safe Together?

You may want to see also


Constipation during periods is caused by hormonal changes

Constipation during periods is fairly common and can be caused by hormonal changes.

Constipation and other changes in bowel movements are common just before and during your period. These changes are generally the result of normal fluctuations in your hormone levels.

During each menstrual cycle, the body goes through many hormonal shifts. These changes affect the whole body, leading to familiar premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as mood swings, cramps, and digestive changes.

Fluctuations in the hormones progesterone and estrogen are likely a big factor in causing constipation during periods. Before your period starts, progesterone builds up in your body. This can slow down your digestive system, possibly resulting in constipation just before and during your period.

There is also a theory that rising estrogen, not progesterone, is the real cause of constipation during periods. A 2013 study on mice found that higher levels of estrogen slowed intestinal movement and caused constipation. However, more research is needed to determine if estrogen is a factor in humans.

Regardless of the specific hormone responsible, most people find that their constipation symptoms improve after their period starts and these hormone levels start to decrease.

Dulcolax and Miralax: Safe Together?

You may want to see also


Progesterone levels affect the digestive system

Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can affect a woman's digestive system. The female digestive tract is longer and more complex than that of males, and hormonal changes can impact the speed at which food moves through the intestines.

Progesterone levels can affect the digestive system in the following ways:

Progesterone Build-Up Before Menstruation

Before a period starts, progesterone levels rise. This can slow down the digestive system, leading to constipation just before and during the period. This is a common occurrence and can be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, and nausea.

High Progesterone Levels During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, high levels of progesterone can disturb gastrointestinal motility, causing digestive issues. This is due to the interaction of progesterone with other hormones, such as oxytocin, which also increases during the later stages of pregnancy.

Decreased Progesterone Levels After Menopause

Post-menopausal women often experience constipation as their progesterone levels decrease. This is a result of the reduced influence of progesterone on digestive processes, which can lead to slower movement of food through the intestines.

It is important to note that while hormonal changes can impact digestion, other factors such as diet, exercise, and underlying health conditions also play a significant role in digestive health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and consulting a healthcare provider for persistent issues are recommended.


Oestrogen levels affect the gastrointestinal system

Oestrogen is a sex hormone that plays a role in regulating a number of biological functions, including the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Oestrogen levels can affect the GI tract in several ways, and these effects are often dependent on an individual's sex.

Oestrogen and the Menstrual Cycle

Both oestrogen and progesterone are hormones associated with menstruation. Receptor cells for these hormones are present throughout the GI tract, which is why many women experience digestive symptoms related to their menstrual cycle. During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (days one to 14 from the start of the period), oestrogen levels increase, and GI symptoms tend to be reduced. However, after ovulation, during the luteal phase, oestrogen levels drop significantly, which may be accompanied by an increase in GI symptoms. These symptoms may include nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

Oestrogen and Pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also impact digestion and other functions of the GI system. These changes may cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and constipation.

Oestrogen and Menopause

The time before menopause, called perimenopause, can trigger hormonal fluctuations that differ from a standard menstrual cycle. Fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone during perimenopause may trigger an increase in gastrointestinal symptoms, such as those associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). During menopause, oestrogen levels decrease, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase, which may also lead to changes in GI function and an increase in IBS symptoms.

Oestrogen and IBS

Fluctuations in oestrogen levels can contribute to symptom severity in IBS, which affects two to three times more women than men. Oestrogen influences gastrointestinal symptoms, and this may explain why IBS rates are higher among women. Oestrogen can influence the level of pain sensitivity and inflammation in the intestine, and its fluctuations may have a more significant impact on GI symptoms than male hormones.

Oestrogen and GI Secretion

Oestrogen has been shown to modulate gastrointestinal epithelial secretion, particularly HCO3- and Cl- secretion. Oestrogen stimulates duodenal mucosal HCO3- secretion, which may protect the duodenal mucosa from acid-induced injury and reduce the risk of duodenal ulcer formation. In contrast, oestrogen inhibits epithelial Cl- secretion in the distal colon, which may prevent diarrhoea.

Oestrogen and GI Disease

Oestrogen has been found to have protective effects against certain GI diseases. For example, oestrogen prevents peptic ulcer in animals and reduces the risk of esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma, as well as oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Additionally, oestrogen has been found to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in premenopausal women.

Aleve and Laxatives: Safe Together?

You may want to see also


Underlying conditions can cause constipation during periods

Constipation during menstruation is a common occurrence, with 73% of females experiencing period-related gastrointestinal symptoms. While this is usually due to normal hormonal changes, underlying conditions can also be a factor.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one such condition that can cause constipation during periods. People with IBS have an over-sensitive bowel that is more reactive to upsetting triggers. For instance, something that might cause a couple of days of tummy upset for a person without IBS could cause issues for a couple of weeks in a person with IBS.

Endometriosis is another condition that can increase the risk of constipation during menstruation. This is also true for people with conditions such as uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts.

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease may also experience worse constipation during their period due to the impact of progesterone-associated changes.

If you are experiencing constipation during your period, it is recommended that you increase your water and fibre intake, and incorporate more physical movement into your routine. If the issue persists, consult your healthcare provider.

Frequently asked questions

While laxatives can be used to provide fast relief from constipation, there is no evidence to suggest that they can cause an early period.

Constipation during your period is likely caused by hormonal changes, specifically fluctuations in the hormones progesterone and oestrogen.

Underlying conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis can also make you more prone to constipation during your period.

There are several ways to treat constipation during your period, including increasing your fibre intake, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise.

Constipation is usually nothing to worry about, but if it lasts longer than three days or is accompanied by extreme pain, heavy bleeding, or persistent digestive issues, it is best to consult a doctor.

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?

Leave a comment