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Readers Respond: How Does Your Period Affect Your IBS?

Responses: 109


Updated October 01, 2012

Hormonal changes related to a woman's period often have an effect on her IBS symptoms. Have you seen a relationship between your period and your IBS? Does your IBS get better or worse at different times of the month? What symptoms seem to get worse and which symptoms seem to get better? Share your experience and find out how the menstrual cycle affects IBS symptoms in other women. Share Your Experience!


7 days before my period I swell up like a balloon and have excruciating pain! I can't stand up straight I have to wear baggy clothing as I look pregnant it makes me exhausted! I thought I was the only one. I've tried buscopan (antispasmic drugs) pepto bismol rennies the lot! If anyone has any suggestions how to subside the pain! I hate being at work when I am like this and I am constantly in the toilet! Really embarrassing xx
—Guest Sho


I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 11. It's been a struggle ever since. It's gotten so much worse in recent years. My period would make it worse. I'd get diarrhea and cramping. Now I haven't had my period in over a month. I don't know if it's my anxiety (which has become almost unbearable) or IBS or both. I just wish there was something that could help. I've tried all the IBS meds, and nothing has been effective for me. I've let IBS stop me from functioning, and I hate it. I never leave my house anymore because of IBS and my anxiety and panic attacks about IBS.
—Guest Rae

So I'm NOT alone?!

I've had IBS for at least 10 years but only diagnosed about 6 years ago. My GP didn't think there was a link between IBS and the menstrual cycle when I asked, so initially I doubted myself when I realised that it was worse at different times of the month. Yes, I get constipated at ovulation. Yes, I get the trots around menstruation. I also feel nauseous, I can't sleep...or not for long, so I end up tired and cranky and THEN I have a painful period to go with it all. I have a very physical job and sometimes I have to be very tough just to front up for the day. Going to bed isn't an option. (I wouldn't sleep anyway.) When the symptoms ease again I realise how wonderful it feels to be hungry.
—Guest Louisa

Periods & IBS were a nightmare.!!!!

I am 42 and suffered with IBS from my teens. The IBS has got much worse with age but the worst thing is when I am on my period. For a few days before my stomach is painful, gassy, swollen and I get severe heartburn and nausea. I get agitated legs, cold feet, especially at night and unsteady balance during the day. I recently found that probably because of the IBS and heavy periods I can not absorb iron very well and I asked my doctor if he could check my iron levels. My haemaglobin level turned out fine but my ferritin level which is your iron stores were so low. The symptoms of low ferritin are mainly tiredness, breathlessness, headache, fuzzy head, unsteady balance, agitated legs at night and I find my legs itch a lot. My vision gets blurry too. So, my doctor put me on ferrous sulphate and oh my goodness what a difference. I also take a low dose of fluoxetine (antidepressant) which is helping so much with pain and general mental ability to cope with the IBS and heavy periods.
—Guest Caz G

Why Me?! Here's what I took

Oh my goodness! This pain is ridiculous! I am in bed right now with this curse. I read another comment that said don't lie in bed, but laying on my back eases the pain a bit. I got ibs at the end of last year and went to the doctor for it. I skipped a day off the meds he prescribed (about 2 weeks ago) because I felt worse (this week especially). I've been feeling bad for about 4 days before today. Now I know why I've been sick as a dog. My period has come. I was weak, drowsy and had cramps bloating and diarrhoea. I don't like to take too many pills at once because I don't know how they will react to one another so since i didnt take the 2 (prescribed) pills yesterday, today I took my regular period warrior, panadol, and I'm better now. IBS really get in the way of my school work :( Oh well, i'll make it. Thanks for reading. I am so glad that there are other ppl who can understand this pain and what I'm going through. I have never met anyone else with this. I hope you all feel better!
—Guest Chrissie

living with it

I was diagnosed two years ago with ibs. Fiber was recommended and I had no ibs pain for two years, although I really monitored what I ate and fiqured out what foods upset my stomach (my belly does not like dairy or green onions) although I am able to eat dairy with my fiber. Recently I had a terrible ibs attack that even hurt me to sit up straight...I noticed a few things, I started my period and I had a list of food items that I had not eaten before and finally diarrhea, which seems to be flushing it out. Gonna go back to my routine and see if I regain some normalcy. Glad to read other posts, it helps!
—Guest elizabeth


Hey im 23 and i usually start my period on the 18th or 19th I havent came on and im kinda scared. im having symptoms like im getting ready to start which is diarrhea and gas but still no flow. im really getting a little mad cus I dont want to be pregnant o please jesus dont let me be pregnant!!!!!
—Guest Lu

Ways to help with Gas, IBS, and PMS

Honestly the best thing that has helped me is diet change, and just stopping all the bad habits in my life. Anxiety can cause IBS and make it worse during your period. Don't be afraid to talk to someone if you are stressing. Even if it's over something little. The Paleo diet has helped me in so many ways. The first 30 days are the worst. Your body is cleaning itself out. Think of your body as a car. You have to keep your insides clean for them to work better. Start taking more vitamins, what you don't need you'll pee out. It should help if you bleed too much. (low iron) this is just what I have done for myself. You might not feel like it'll work for you, but it's worth a try. I am also on the mirena, still iffy about it. I don't like anything that's not natural but it could be helping as well for all I know. Hope you ladies are feeling better. I feel your pain. (hugs)
—Guest stormie

I hate this so so much

So, today, I started my period, and I've always had ibs.Well, usually on my period, I'll get sort of nauseous and my stool will be runny, then I'll have a stomachache and frequent urination...its been happening for five hours now...ugh!!! God bless you all that go through this hell! It is truly awful..
—Guest emily

ibs on my period

Im 16 years old and have been suffering with ibs since I was 10 years old. It is hard enough going through life with ibs as it disturbs everything. Since I am still in school it is very embarrassing when I have an episode when im in school. When im on my period it gets so much worse. I have terrible diarrhea and the worst cramps imaginable. I wish my parents would understand that with this pain I dont want to be at school. Glad to hear there are people with me on this .
—Guest julia

I think I may have Ibs.

I've been having horrible cramps. I'm very gassy and I have diarrhea and constipation. I know I should be getting my period some time this week however I have been sexually active so people seem to think that I'm pregnant.
—Guest Celeste

Nausea and diarrhea

Although it sucks that we are all going through this, i'm so happy to know that i'm not the only one that feels this way! About a week before my period I have been starting to feel nauseous at night. Twice during the week I have been woken up with diarrhea and vomiting. It just sucks because I feel like no matter what I eat, I still feel nauseous at night. I am on birth control and an IBS pill but none of that helps. I wish there was a better solution for us IBS girls. We really got the short end of the stick :(
—Guest Theresa


I have been having gas pains and diarrhea for a couple of days now this is the first time it has happened with my period, my period lasts for about 5-6 days on average. I was wondering if anyone knows how to prevent these pains ? Oh and I'm 12 years old.
—Guest Indigo angel

I'm very tired of this

Been living with IBS symptoms for 11 years now. Whenever I get my period it's like 100 times worse like it is today. As I am old enough to know I'm never going to have kids I wish there was a way to stop my period as maybe then the IBS wouldn't get so bad every month. It's seriously the worst pain in the universe. Glad to know I'm not alone on this at least.
—Guest Mo

Living with IBS

For the last 2 years i have been suffering with IBS, and it gets worse 2 - 3 days before my period is due, i have a throbbing pain only on the right side of my abdomen, constipation, feel sick and have a headache for the whole duration. As soon as i got these symptoms i went to my GP and they referred me to a gyno as they were not sure if it was IBS or Endometriosis, the gyno told me to take the contraceptive pill for 3 months back to back to see if this helped symptoms, but when i got to the end of each pill packet i was experiencing the symptoms mentioned above even though i had no period, i am now due to see my gyno again, but i think the end result will be IBS as if you don't have a period you should not (although not the case for everyone) get any symptoms of endo but if the problem is bowel related you still would due to the change in hormones. I will push for a laparoscopy though just to be sure. i thought i would share my experience so far for other people who are in my position.

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How Does Your Period Affect Your IBS?

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